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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 10, 2009 at 10:45 AM

On scheduling — UW and Oregon on Thanksgiving?

As I’ve mentioned here previously, the Washington Huskies are in discussions about a number of different ways to open up some byes in the 2009 schedule, which currently has UW playing 12 games in 12 weeks.
One of those possibilities came to light today in a story in the Oregonian — UW and Oregon potentially playing this year on Thanksgiving Day at Husky Stadium.
It’s an intriguing idea.
However, a UW spokesman also says that it’s “very much of a long shot” and that “there’s a long way to go before something like that would happen. It’s just one of a number of things we are discussing.”
As stated at the top, the whole purpose of this for UW is to open up some byes so the team doesn’t have to run that gauntlet of 12 games in 12 weeks — something Steve Sarkisian has already said he doesn’t want to do with a young, rebuilding team.
UW did the same thing with the 2008 schedule for the same reason, which is why the Huskies ended up playing Cal on Dec. 6.
But it’s trickier to pull off next year because there are just 14 available weekends to play instead of 15.
Currently, UW is scheduled to host Oregon on Oct. 24, so moving the game with the Ducks would create a bye in the middle of the season.
One problem — UW also hosts WSU in the Apple Cup on Nov. 21, meaning moving the Oregon game to Thanksgiving (Nov. 26) would have the Huskies hosting their two biggest rivals in the span of five days.
That’s something UW says it almost certainly won’t do. So playing the Oregon game on Thanksgiving would also mean moving the Apple Cup, possibly to two weeks after its current date. (Here’s the schedule for next season).
UW officials say it is almost inevitable that the Huskies will play a game after the Apple Cup —- or will move the Apple Cup back (as WSU also is hoping to avoid playing 12 games in 12 weeks as it is currently scheduled to do, as well).
So something is definitely going to happen to change the schedule. But there are apparently a number of options on the table. One other thing that has been discussed is moving the opener against LSU to Thursday night, Sept. 3. But that also is nowhere near the done stage right now and it’s more likely that game stays put.
Playing a game on Thanksgiving would be attention getting, but UW officials say that’s not really what is driving this — again, it’s simply all about trying to open up a bye in the schedule somewhere, and if it works out to play on Thanksgiving than so be it.
Another thing factoring in is attempting to set up some of these series for the future, as well — agreeing to move this year and maybe future years. And one complication to that is that UW is likely to play the 2010 season at Qwest Field if funding is approved this year for the renovation of Husky Stadium.
Pac-10 ADs held a conference call last month to discuss all of this, and more discussions are set in the near future. But again “nothing is definitive,” the UW spokesman said.
One thing that apparently won’t happen is alterting any of the teams UW will play next season. The non-conference slate, I’ve been told numerous times, won’t change. What is in discussion to change are simply dates of games.
So for now, stay tuned, while also expecting that there are going to be some changes down the road.

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