For our main UW story for the Tuesday paper, I wrote about Washington’s schedule, which is being rated by some as among the toughest in the nation this year.
The schedule, though, can be a somewhat ‘in-the-eye-of-the-beholder’ deal. Where some see a tough schedule, others see home games against San Diego State and Portland State and wonder what the big deal is. Certainly, this isn’t the schedule of 2008, when UW hosted Notre Dame, Oklahoma and what was one of the better BYU teams ever as its non-conference slate.
And that a schedule that includes an FCS team is rated by some as among the toughest in the nation — by the likes of Bruce Feldman and Phil Steele — in some ways is a comment on the schedules of every team in the country. There’s lots of bad games out there in September.
The point of this story also wasn’t to make an excuse for UW — fans correctly point out that much of what makes the schedule tough is simply the Pac-12 games, which obviously have to be played every year.
Mostly, I wanted to explain how the schedule came together — UW scheduling LSU in 2008 after Scott Woodward became AD in large part to fill a gap created when Nevada backed out of a game; and the fact that there’s nothing a team can do about its conference schedule. That’s handled by the conference.
What also makes the schedules for just about everyone in the Pac-12 stand out is the nine conference games, compared to eight in the conferences it may be compared to the most — the SEC and the Big Ten. Most schedule one “good” game and three it ought to win easily.
UW has two it ought to win easily in San Diego State and Portland State, which isn’t much different than most Pac-12 schools, most of whom have at least one pretty big challenge on its schedule. What makes UW’s schedule stand out this season is simply getting LSU in a year when it is ranked No. 1 in some pre-season polls, and then the way the Pac-12 schedule breaks — getting five on the road instead of four and opening with Stanford, Oregon and USC.
Woodward said again that the fact that the Pac-12 is sticking with nine conference games (which is in part due to the recently-negotiated TV deals, which were sold based on nine conference games) is why he was among those who didn’t want to do the deal to play an annual game with the Big Ten.
“That’s why I had concerns with the Big Ten schedule because as tough as that is, I didn’t want the conference controlling my schedule for 10 out of 12 games,” Woodward said. “Nine is plenty, and actualloy too much for me, eight would be perfect from my philosophical vantage point.”
For now, though, that isn’t going to happen and UW will continue on its A-B-C non-conference scheduling plan with no apologies. UW has a home-and-home with Illinois in 2013-14 as well as Boise State in 2013-15, and Wisconsin in 2017-18 to serve as the A games.
As for this year, as the story notes, you won’t find the players complaining.
“You want to play the best,” said safety Justin Glenn. “You’ve got to beat the best to be the best so those are good tests for us and it’s going to be tough but we are looking forward to it.”
IN OTHER UW NEWS. …
— GoHuskies.com writes about Steve Sarkisian’s new-found comfort in his team’s depth.
— One vote for Keith Price as a darkhorse Heisman candidate.
— Jake Locker will start for the Titans Friday.
— Philly.com said Chris Polk showed again Monday why he’s “too valuable to cut.”
— Alameda Ta’amu got nine snaps in Pittsburgh’s pre-season opener.
— Senio Kelemete listed by CBSSports.com as among those having good camps for the Cardinals.
— Athlon’s rates the top 50 players in the Pac-12 this year. Huskies on the list are Keith Price (11), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (18), Sean Parker (42), Drew Schaefer (43), Desmond Trufant (44), Kasen Williams (47) and Shaq Thompson (50).
AROUND COLLEGE FOOTBALL/THE PAC-12. …
— Our Pac-12 previews continued today with Colorado.
— Bud Withers with some revealing stuff on the change in command at WSU.
— Ted Miller ponders Arizona State’s QB situation.
— Miller also underway with his best-case, worst-case scenario series, today hitting on Colorado.
— The LA Times has answers on the Pac-12 Networks.
— Idaho might play as an Independent in 2013.
— PacificTakes rates the top 10 Pac-12 running back seasons of the past decade.
— Good stuff here as DraftInsider.net breaks down every Pac-12 NFL prospect.
— WSU notes, and links around the Pac-12, from Christian Caple in Spokane.
— And lots of Pac-12 links from The Oregonian.
— Another injury has Oregon State worried about its offensive line.
— Oregon, however, is one Pac-12 team feeling good about its O-line.
— ESPN.com looks at the most expensive tickets in college football.