Thursday, May 03, 2007

2009 Football Schedule: Hokies & 3 Sun-Belt Turkeys

Last week, I lamented the 2008 Husker football non-conference schedule that featured 4 home games with Virginia Tech, San Jose State, New Mexico State, and Western Michigan. Today, Steve Pederson proudly announced the 2009 schedule: a return trip to Virginia Tech and home games against Florida Atlantic (featuring head coach Helicopter Howie Schnellenberger), Louisiana-Lafayette (formerly Southwestern Louisiana), and Arkansas State (haven't we dealt enough with this state?).


Three home games against the Sun Belt conference? Will we see the refs from the 2005 Alamo Bowl again?

Nevertheless, 'ol Smiley Jones was mighty proud of himself as he e-mailed fans the big news today:
“The additional games we have added complement the Virginia Tech series very well. With the permanent 12-game schedule, we have talked regularly about trying to play eight home games on occasion and we are excited the 2008 season will present us that opportunity.”
Uh, no they don't. If I'm a television network, I'm looking at this schedule and shaking my head in disgust. Virginia Tech-Nebraska will get snapped up by ABC, likely in prime time. But the rest of the games are headed straight to pay-per-view. 6 home games against Schmuckhead State is not attractive to anybody.

Wait, that's not entirely fair. Western Michigan did go to a bowl game last year. And San Jose State isn't exactly dreadful. But the Sun Belt Conference is the worst 1-A conference in football, and last season, #115 Arkansas State, #124 Louisiana Lafayette, and #130 Florida Atlantic were worse in the 2006 Sagarin rankings than many 1-AA teams, such as #109 Maine.

In other words, the 2009 schedule is simply horrible.

Some will justify this schedule by pointing out teams like Ohio State, who play Youngstown State, Akron, Washington, and Kent State in 2007. But other's misbehavior doesn't justify your own misbehavior. The Weasels of Michigoon have Oregon and Notre Dame on their 2007 schedule. Last season, Oklahoma played Washington and Oregon.

Bottom line is that Nebraska should strive to play 2 home and home series each season, one with a matchup that will attract a national television audience and ESPN GameDay, and another against a BCS conference opponent. Steve Pederson has done an excellent job on the first point, with series scheduled against Virginia Tech, UCLA, and Washington. So far, he's generally failed on the second point except with the scheduling of Wake Forest. (Raise your hands if you thought 2 years ago that Wake Forest would win the ACC championship in football when this series was scheduled.)

In fairness to Pederson, he told the Journal-Star he's tried to schedule home-and-homes with BCS schools and hasn't found any takers:
"A lot of teams say their conference schedule is tough enough. That’s what it comes down to most of the time."
Which is a shame...because schedules like 2009 hurt college football. This might have been the only option, but that doesn't make it right. These schedules are nothing to be proud of.


Anonymous said...

All the more reason to re-implement some "Strength of Schedule" component in the BCS. And, actually give it some weight. Until the major schools are given some sort of "penalty" for scheduling creampuffs, it'll never change.

You may not be able to do anything about weaker conference opponents, but certainly the non-conf.

What are the chances that the Conference has anything to do with it? Would the Big XII say "Hey Nebraska, we've got Texas v ? on this weekend, and Oklahoma v ? the following week, so schedule a couple creampuffs because we're going to suggest that ABC/ESPN cover them." Not that the conference prefers other teams, but if Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, etc all have big games the same week, there's only so much TV time.

Otherwise, even though tough opponents increase the chances of losing, bigger games bring more exposure and TV money, so why would Steve schedule teams that don't generate interest (besides a guaranteed home game).


bhg said...


Wait a minute, some guy on another blog who claimed to be the smartest man on the planet and accomoplished jock said that lower division schools could "hand it" to division one schools. So according to that line of thought, isn't any opponent a worthy opponent?

So who is right?

What differnce does it make what the "common person" believes. So long as Pederson has the support (a.k.a. $) of the boosters then this type of nonsense will continue.

Think the problem through, what generates more $'s to the program, a full stadium with a 9-4 record with Maryland school of the blind on your schedule, or a 80% full stadium with a 7-6 record playing the Wake FOrest/UCLA/Wisconsins of the world.

(Don't forget that First National Bank Omaha, and Conagra and probably others helped keep the sold out streak alive when they were buying blocks of tickets, when Tom was going 9-3, and 10-2.)

hackermav said...

Might as well schedule UNO and throw them some cash. Might be what UNO needs to help push the Div 1 thing to a reality.