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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Schedule changes officially announced

The Huskies have officially announced a few of the schedule changes we wrote about yesterday.
Specifically, UW announced today that it will host Eastern Washington on Sept. 3, 2011, the first time the Huskies will ever play a lower-division school (they’ve played schools in their past that are lower-division schools now but those came at a time that there weren’t clear designations like there are today). UPDATE — Here’s a Wikipedia history of the divisions. Most relevant is the declaration of Division I and I-AA came in 1978.)
UW also announced it will face Hawaii on Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu and Sept. 19, 2015, at Husky Stadium.
And UW also announced it will travel to Madison, Wis. on Sept. 2, 2017 and then host Wisconsin on Sept. 1, 2018.
It is also expected that UW will announce soon that it will also host Portland State in 2012. The games against EWU and Portland State replace a home-and-home series with BYU that is being canceled. UW will play at BYU to open next season but otherwise is done with the Provo-based Cougars for a while.
The moves are being done in part to add another home game in 2012, when UW would have had just five. Also, there’s a feeling that the BYU games don’t add enough financially to offset having another home game in 2012 (and obviously one that may be more winnable).
UW also had to make the moves after Nevada pulled out of a planned series (that was one reason why the Huskies made the late move this year to add LSU).
I asked UW coach Steve Sarkisian about the scheduling moves yesterday.
“As we move forward, we need to give our kids and our fans as many opportunities to play in Husky Stadium as possible,” Sarkisian said, “And there are a couple of things in our schedule as we go forward that we’ve got a spot in the 2012 season where we are sitting with just only five home games. And that’s not okay. So we are trying to reshuffle some things to where we can get a sixth home game in 2012 and also get opponents as we move forward of playing quality opponents but also opponents that are willing to come and play us at Husky Stadium.”
UW had been one of just four schools not to play a lower-division team — USC, UCLA and Notre Dame are the others. That streak has been a source of pride with some fans but Sarkisian said he doesn’t think it a big deal to break with that tradition.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” he said of playing lower-division schools. “I think it’s pretty commonplace now in college football. Everyone basically does it outside of a couple of teams. The hardest thing is finding teams willing to come play here in a non-conference setting in a one-off game and not in a home-and-home series. Where are in a situation right now where we are trying to schedule in a one-off.”
Removing BYU and adding two lower-division foes will obviously make those seasons more managable in terms of wins and losses and Sarkisian didn’t deny that was a factor, as well.
“I think the ultimate goal here is obviously we are trying to win a championship and go to a bowl game and do all those things,” he said. “And you’ve got to schedule accordingly to give yourself the best opportunity to get enough wins to be bowl eligible and take care of your football team from a physical standpoint because this is a long season and if you beat yourself up early in the year in non-conference games in our physical conference it can get difficult.”
Here are the non-conferece foes for UW the next few years:
2010 — at BYU, home to Syracuse and Nebraska
2011 — Home to Eastern Washington and Hawaii and at Nebraska
2012 — at LSU and home to Nevada with one game still to be scheduled, likely against Portland State.
And one thing to keep in mind on playing lower-division schools is that the old rule about those games not counting toward bowl eligibility has been changed. You can now count one game a year against lower-division teams toward bowl eligibility as long as those teams have averaged giving out at least 56.7 full scholarships the prior two seasons.

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