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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 7, 2009 at 3:14 PM

More on scheduling changes

There’s no news today on the final opponent for 2012 — at least not yet — though it is expected to be Portland State. That would give the Huskies Portland State and Nevada at home that season along with a road game at LSU.
What I do have are some of the guarantee numbers for the new games scheduled yesterday that add a little perspective to the moves made by the Huskies.
Specifically, the UW-BYU series called for each school to get $275,000 when it visited the other in 2011 and 2012. The guarantees for home-and-homes are essentially to cover the expense of the trip — the home team keeps the gate for non-conference games and since each is hosting one game in the series, they each get the same guarantee. What they make on the gate is then up to them.
UW got out of the BYU series and will add home games each year against Eastern Washington and, if it goes through, Portland State. Instead of getting $275,000 to go to BYU in 2011, the Huskies will pay Eastern $400,000. That’s obviously a loss when you just consider those two numbers. But it gives UW an extra home game that season, which will assuredly bring in more than that making it an overall net gain — consider a conservative ticket price of $55, what UW charged this year for Idaho, at an equally conservative 60,000 seats and you get $3.3 million right there.
The Huskies will also get and give $400,000 for the Hawaii games in 2013 and 2015, and get and give $300,000 for the Wisconsin games in 2017 and 2018.

O.D. Vincent, UW’s senior associate AD who has direct responsibility for football, says the school’s No. 1 goal now is to play as many home games as it can, the biggest reason it got out of the BYU series to eliminate having to go there in 2012 and playing only five home games (though there is an admitted competitive advantage in playing a team UW is more likely to beat, as Steve Sarkisian mentioned eariler this week).
So that means trying to find schools that are willing to come to UW without Washington making a return trip. Vincent and UW AD Scott Woodward each say the biggest problem with that these days is that non-BCS FBS schools willing to make such trips are now asking $700,000-$1,1 million for a “one-off” visit. (San Jose State, for instance, just got out of its long-standing rivalry with Stanford next year to take $1 million to play at Alabama, instead). As you can see, Eastern will be getting considerably less to come to UW.
UW also now wants to only play road games at fellow BCS schools, and hopefully ones with significant name recognitiion and tradition, such as Nebraska, Colorado and Wisconsin, who are all on schedules for future seasons (Hawaii is different since there is an exemption that allows that to be a 13th game in a season, which provides its own advantage). So you won’t likely see any more home-and-homes with schools like BYU or Air Force, and since those schools don’t want to come here for just one game without a return visit, you won’t see them at all (Utah, which many of you have mentioned, fits in the same category). Some schools ask for a two-for-one — two visits for one return — as Texas is doing with Wyoming. But the Huskies don’t want to do that, either.
So it’s either teams willing to come to Seattle for just one game — and at a price UW wants to pay — or home-and-homes with the big names. And UW officials say that’s what ultimately led to deciding to play lower-division schools.
Vincent said the Huskies intentionally chose Eastern to be the first non-FBS opponent since it’s an in-state school, and the school notes that EWU has a not insignificant alumni base in the Seattle area — 16,000 west of the Cascades.
What it will mean for UW is a few more winnable games; for fans, a few more games that may not be quite as interesting as a steady diet of Notre Dame. Ohio State, Oklahoma and LSU — all of which have been here since 2007. It’ll be up to fans to decide if the tradeoff is worth it.



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