Monthly Archives: August 2010

Rating the 2010 Non-Conference Slate, Part 5: Pacific 10

In part 5 of our on-going series, we examine the Pac-10, traditionally a strong OOC scheduling bunch. Hopefully that remain with the Pac-11 next year and the Pac-12 the year after.

  1. Washington (1.75 legit, 0 DI-AA): @Brigham Young, Syracuse, Nebraska. If Washington is looking to have a breakout season, this schedule can both help and hinder them. Beat two out of three of these teams, and U-Dub makes a statement. While no one would fault them for losing to both BYU and Nebraska, those two losses don’t help them get back to a bowl. Oh, and I bet Jake Locker and co. remember that BYU loss from two years ago.
  2. Oregon State (1.75, 0): N-Texas Christian, Louisville, @Boise State. I would consider this a tie with Washington’s schedule honestly. This I think the main reason it isn’t is because Nebraska trumps both TCU and Boise, but not by much (in terms of the criteria used to rank these schedules, at least). A great schedule for a Pac-10 title contender, going toe-to-toe with two mid-major hopefuls.
  3. California-Los Angeles (1.25, 0): @Kansas State, Houston, @Texas. While last year’s 6-6 rebuilding job may not have ended the football monopoly in Los Angeles, this schedule provides some chances to go above that mark even with a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Pac-10. Of course, we can go ahead and mark Texas in the loss column, so that leaves a very winnable K-State game and a Houston game that I believe is a toss-up.
  4. Stanford (1.25, 1): Sacramento State, Wake Forest, @Notre Dame. This schedule checks off the “required OOC teams” check boxes pretty well, and may have even been a great schedule for Stanford in the recent past. However, this Stanford team has Rose Bowl aspirations (hey, they make it about once every ten years, so it’s that time again) and so dates with Sacramento State and Wake Forest don’t seem that great anymore.
  5. Oregon (1, 1): New Mexico, Tennessee, Portland State. Well, we have Tennessee’s bi-annual West Coast roadtrip, but outside of that this schedule is pretty “meh”. It’s pretty much downhill from here.
  6. Southern California (0.75, 0): @Hawaii, Virginia, @Minnesota. Well, the date at Hawaii this Thursday will be this year’s bowl game for the Trojans. This is a pretty apropos for this year’s edition, though, feature games that even this decimated squad should be able to handle.
  7. Washington State (0.75, 1): @Oklahoma State, Montana State, @Southern Methodist. I’m not sure what’s worse, the schedule, or the fact that Wazzou could lose all three of these games and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised.
  8. Arizona (0.75, 1): @Toledo, Citadel, Iowa. I’m going to go on a limb and say that Arizona probably won’t suffer the same fate Colorado did at Toledo last year. As for the rest, they’ll probably lose to Iowa. I guess. Hey, at least they’re not last! Yes that’s right folks – after embarrassing schedules in 2007, 2008, and 2009 Arizona has risen out of the gutter, though apparently this is because we massively underrated Iowa last year.
  9. Arizona State (0.75, 2): Portland State, Northern Arizona, @Wisconsin. Two DI-AA schools? Really? Most of your conference comrades don’t even have one yet you have the audacity to schedule two. Why there oughta be a law… anyway, at least they bothered to make the third game a game against a BCS conference team.
  10. California (0.25, 1): California-Davis, Colorado, @Nevada. Well, they do have the game out in Reno, which is kind of interesting, and also a content against future conference mate Colorado, but there’s not really a lot of meat on these bones. Though they should probably be ranked above Arizona State just on principle, but hey, rules are rules.

Anyway, next time we’ll take a look at the SEC, and then hopefully wrap it all up before Thursday! 

    Rating the 2010 Non-Conference Slate, Part 4: Big XII

    Tonight, we examine the conference that is soon to have two less members than its numerical title states. Seriously, it’s not like the Big 12 has even been around that long, how much of a brand is there to worry about? Anyway…

    1. Colorado (1.75 legit, 0 DI-AA): @Colorado State, @California, Hawaii, Georgia. Colorado has far and away the strongest OOC schedule of any of the Big 12, but they’re also one of the worst teams in the conference. I’d say that Dan Hawkins is trying salvage his job this year, but that would imply there’s anything left to salvage.
    2. Oklahoma (1.5, 0): Utah State, Florida State, Air Force, @Cincinnati. Optimism is high at Oklahoma, and well it should be. Their new offensive skill players were able to take their licks last year as opposed to this year, meaning the projected rebuilding timetable in the post-Bradford era has been moved up. This schedule also provides a good foundation for a darkhorse national title run, assuming Cincy is decent again this year.
    3. Iowa State (1.5, 1): Northern Illinois, @Iowa, Northern Iowa, Utah. I need some sort of provision for OOC rivalry games or something. Though fans of Pitt, Penn State, and Miami probably would tell you that you should appreciate it if your OOC rival actually does play you every year. At any rate, at least ISU sourced their DI-AA patsy locally. (College Football 2010: the cash money isn’t the only thing that’s green!) (Also, UNI probably has a fighting chance against ISU, but that’s another story.)
    4. Kansas (1, 1): North Dakota State, Georgia Tech, @Southern Mississippi, New Mexico State. A mea culpa from my ACC article, wherein I said that KU was location in Manhattan. I should know better than that, being born in Kansas and having multiple cousins who went to K-State and all. However, since my Mom was the one who told me about the error, that pretty much confirms no one is reading this thing except for her.
    5. Texas Agricultural and Mechanical (0.75, 1): Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, Florida International, N-Arkansas. Outside of the continuing TAMU-Arkansas series at Jerry Jones’s Intergalactic Space Palace, there is literally nothing worth writing home about here, provided we lived in an era in which people still wrote letters.
    6. Texas (0.5, 0): @Rice, Wyoming, California-Los Angeles, Florida Atlantic. President John F. Kennedy once asked, “Why does Rice play Texas?” Well, in this case, I suspect it’s because they got a lot of money for it. Even more sad is that Rice, despite having the most disproportionately sized stadium in college football (full capacity: 70,000, enrollment: 6,799) is actually holding this game at Reliant Stadium. I’m still counting it as a home game for Rice, though. Oh, I guess Texas also plays UCLA, but at any rate Texas should win all these games by at least two touchdowns.
    7. Baylor (0.5, 1): Sam Houston State, Buffalo, @Texas Christian, @Rice. If this is finally Baylor’s year, playing @TCU doesn’t do them any favors, as that would require a perhaps difficult 3rd Big 12 win for bowl eligiblity.
    8. Nebraska (0.5, 1): Western Kentucky, Idaho, @Washington, South Dakota State. At U-Dub is kind of interesting, I guess. Otherwise, this is a pretty unimpressive schedule. And it only gets worse from here.
    9. Missouri (0.5, 1): N-Illinois, McNeese State, San Diego State, Miami (OH). I think TAMU-Arkansas is more interesting, but the rising trend of neutral-site inter-conference games is very encouraging.
    10. Kansas State (0.5, 1): California-Los Angeles, Missouri State, Central Florida, @North Texas. Well, they get a road trip to Denton, TX at least. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.
    11. Oklahoma State (0.25, 0): Washington State, Troy, Tulsa, @Louisiana-Lafayette. Amazingly, this is not the worst OOC schedule in the Big 12. Once again that title goes to…
    12. Texas Tech (0, 1): Southern Methodist, @New Mexico, Weber State, Houston. Other than a love of pirates, throwing it around the field, and a dislike of Adam Jones, the other thing Texas Tech under Mike Leach did was come up with some truly awful schedules. Though they did lose to Houston last year, so there could be some revenge there, though perhaps not that the Cap’n’s new gig is at Fox College Sports.
    Well, that’s all I got. Two more to go! Next up, the Pacific 10.

    The Crazy Conference Expansion We Waited All Summer For…

    …involves the Mountain West and the WAC?

    Indeed it does. It is confirmed that Fresno State and Nevada will join the Mountain West effective in time for the 2011 football season, coming along with fellow WAC compadre Boise State. All this is on the heels yesterday morning that BYU was thinking about going on its own in football and joining the WAC in all other sports, a la Notre Dame.

    What took the Big Ten 12 months to decide took the Mountain West less than 12 hours, as later in the day the conference’s official website announced that invitations had been extended to Fresno and Nevada, and then later, accepted. With Boise already in the fold, this removes basically every decent team from the WAC, leaving them with a pile of geographically disjointed refugees in the form of Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Utah State.

    The question now is, what happens to the BYU rumors? Does BYU now stay put, as the new-look MWC now has the muscle to make up for the loss of Utah and preserve their chance at getting a BCS bid? Or does BYU still go at it alone? Another rumor is that the WAC will attempt to poach some of the MWC’s lesser teams, like San Diego State and UNLV, but that was before the MWC’s actions.

    Assuming BYU now stays, that gives the MWC 11 teams. They’re out of WAC teams worth poaching now, though. They could attempt to grab another Texas school from Conference USA, such as Houston or UTEP, to get to 12.

    And wither the WAC? Keep in mind the MWC started in 1999 as a splinter group from the monster 16-team WAC of the mid-90’s (made mostly up of the original 9 WAC schools). 11 years later, have they finished the job?

    Rating the 2010 Non-Conference Slate, Part 3: Big Ten

    Okay, I am really busy right now, but I should be able to finish all of these before the season starts. Let’s do one right now, shall we?

    1. Michigan (1.5 legit, 1 DI-AA): Connecticut, @Notre Dame, Massachusetts, Bowling Green. This schedule is pretty “meh” because they play Notre Dame pretty much every year. What gets them over the top is the game with UConn. UMass continues the new Michigan trend of scheduling patsies. I think RichRod can figure to get at least two, if not three, wins out of this part of the schedule. But then again, it’s difficult to image that Michigan has actually been as bad as they have been the past couple of years.
    2. Ohio State (1, 0): Marshall, Miami (FL), Ohio, Eastern Michigan. As I said during the ACC preview, Ohio State-Miami is one of the most interesting inter-conference games on the schedule this year. The rest of this schedule is pretty bad, though. Marshall and Ohio had decent years last year, but Eastern Michigan was 0-12.
    3. Pennsylvania State (1, 1): Youngstown State, @Alabama, Kent State, Temple. Also interesting is Penn State’s game at Alabama. I actually had to double-check to make sure this was happening, and yes it is. The rest of this schedule is fluff – there should be a law that Pitt and Penn State have to play each other every year.
    4. Minnesota (1, 1): @Middle Tennessee State, South Dakota, Southern California, Northern Illinois. There’s something to be said for offsetting your return trip to MTSU by getting USC at home. The question for the Gophers is will they manage to win both of those? And if they only win one, will it be the one they should win?
    5. Purdue (1, 1): @Notre Dame, Western Illinois, Ball State, Toledo. This is pretty much a boilerplate Big Ten schedule: Notre Dame, DI-AA team, and a double serving of some MACtion. Yawn.
    6. Michigan State (1, 1): Western Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Northern Colorado. Well, this one has some Sun Belt mixed in as well. For some reason the FAU game is in Detroit. I would guess that still counts as a home game for MSU.
    7. Iowa (0.75, 1): Eastern Illinois, Iowa State, @Arizona, Ball State. Yes, you may have two BCS conference teams on your schedule Iowa, but they’re not very good. Nonetheless, Iowa has managed to lose 5 of their last 10 games with Iowa State, which makes you scratch your head a bit.
    8. Illinois (0.5, 1): N-Missouri, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, @Fresno State. We continue to applaud the Illinois-Mizzou series, it’s just that neither team is very interesting or likely to be good this year. Illinois more so than Mizzou. If Zook hasn’t been fired already, the game at Fresno may be for his job.
    9. Wisconsin (0.5, 1): @Nevada-Las Vegas, San Jose State, Arizona State, Austin Peay. I wonder how many comp’ed casino drinks it takes to get a Wisconsinite drunk? (My guess: at least 20.) Nonetheless, the Arizona State game is somewhat interesting and hopefully Wisconsin continues to take their scheduling in that direction.
    10. Northwestern (0.25, 1): @Vanderbilt, Illinois State, @Rice, Central Michigan. Man, if NU played Duke this year they would’ve played the entirety of the “small DI-A private shcools” circuit. Other than that, there’s not much to say other than we’ll miss being able to make ourselves seem smarter than we actually are by making Kafka jokes.
    11. Indiana (0, 1): Towson, @Western Kentucky, Akron, Arkansas State. Indiana may not be the worst team in the Big Ten this year, but this schedule sure is. But hey, the objective I suspect is to go 4-0, beat two of Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, or Michigan and go to a bowl.

    Anyway, I have to run, but hopefully next week I can go from one part of the heartland to another by taking on the Big XII. See you then!

      Rating the 2010 Non-Conference Slate, Part 2: Big East

      All right, it’s time for the Big East. Remember, these guys have 5 out-of-conference games so their legit scores will seem higher than most other conferences (which is why for my overall ratings I use averages). Anyway, let’s get this over with:

      1. Pittsburgh (2.75 legit, 1 DI-AA): @Utah, New Hampshire, Miami (FL), Florida International, @Notre Dame. Even accounting for the 5 OOC teams, this is still a pretty good OOC schedule. Going back to the ACC column for a second, we’ll recall that some conferences are looking for legitimacy and the Big East probably needs it more than anyone else. Pitt beating Utah, Miami, and Notre Dame would be a good start.
      2. South Florida (2, 1): Stony Brook, @Florida, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, @Miami (FL). Well, at least all the major Florida teams will be no more than one step away from the others thanks to South Florida. Nonetheless, while the Bulls probably have a chance in the Big East, they probably don’t have a chance against the two biggest foes on their schedule.
      3. Cincinnati (1.25, 1): @Fresno State, Indiana State, @North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Miami (OH). I’m not sure whether the Oklahoma game is a neutral site game or not since it is still technically in Cincinnati, it just will be at the Bengals’s stadium instead of the Bearcats’. I guess it depends on how the split the ticket sales. Outside of that, there’s not much to work with here except for the somewhat unusual trip out to Fresno.
      4. Connecticut (1.25, 1): @Michigan, Texas Southern, @Temple, Buffalo, Vanderbilt. At Temple? Outside of that, this is okay, if not a little pedestrian. The Michigan game will probably be a barometer for both teams, which probably makes most in the maize and blue shake their heads a bit.
      5. West Virginia (1.25, 1): Coastal Carolina, @Marshall, Maryland, @Louisiana State, Nevada-Las Vegas. When I think West Virginia, I always think about how crazy and wide open they were under Rodriguez, so for a split second I was excited about their trip to Baton Rouge before I remembered that he’s not there anymore.
      6. Louisville (1, 1): Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, @Oregon State, @Arkansas State, Memphis. Instead of playing all the teams in Kentucky that they could (no love for Western Kentucky, which is, you know, in DI-A?) they instead to go and play at….Arkansas State? I wonder if that will be on TV because I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a game broadcast from there.
      7. Syracuse (1, 2): @Akron, @Washington, Maine, Boston College, Colgate. So the ‘Cuse is probably past the point where they have to worry about losing to Akron, Maine, and Colgate (though I note that Akron game is at Akron). So that’s three wins right there. Though the Quest for Toronto is dead, is this the year the Orangemen make their first bowl game since 2004?
      8. Rutgers (0.5, 1): Norfolk State, @Florida International, North Carolina, Tulane, N-Army. I’m sorry, this schedule sucks. There’s no two ways about it. Sure, there’s the trip to Miami, and the neutral site game at the New Meadowlands that I really need to come up with a clever nickname for. Jiants Stadium? Hrm.

      Anyway, just us next time for a discussion of the extra-conference games of the Big Ten .