Beavs' FB schedule rates as one of toughest

IN A PERFECT world, the best would want to become the best -- by playing the best. But this is not a perfect world. There is a reason schools like Alabama schedule teams like Kent State, North Texas and Georgia Southern. There's a reason schools like LSU schedule as many as 8-of-12 games at home. Oregon State? They continue to be on the other end of the spectrum.

The Beavs will feature in 2012, according to the pundits, a brutal schedule. Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports is the latest to come out with his ranking of toughest college football slates for the season, pegging OSU with the third toughest schedule in the country.

"Nicholls State is a comfy opponent to open with, but then a punishing Wisconsin team comes to Corvallis. The Badgers, combined with a trip to BYU, translate into a pretty unpleasant non-conference schedule even with Nicholls as the third part of things," says Feldman.

(By the way, Mr. Feldman must not have seen the Beavs' opener against Sac State last year. There is no such thing as a comfy non-con opponent for OSU for the next few years, not until that stain fades a bit from the collective memory.)

The Beavs in the conference portion of the schedule, in Feldman's view, play perhaps five of the top six teams in the Pac-12, which gives the Beavers the third toughest schedule.

Oregon State CAN'T do a whole lot about the Pac-12 schedule that comes from the league office. There is some lobbying to be done here and there but for the most part, there's a system there. But the non-con slate is in their control. And the Beavs don't need the money as badly as they need to maximize their chances to win.

If you don't keep up with the Joneses, and the Joneses have been scheduling more sure wins – and more and more home games – then you're not going to go to as many bowl games, you're not going to win as many games overall. It's as simple as that.

IF OSU doesn't start scheduling differently, if they don't keep up with what other schools are doing, the wins will be fewer. Alabama plays Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and Western Carolina at home this year. Barring an upset of the century, that's halfway to bowl eligibility. Oregon is playing Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech in their non-con, all at home.

THE INCOMING PAC-12 TV money will help schools like OSU. Teams with more cash don't need to accept more lucrative away games, or more home and homes with CFB powerhouses. But OSU also has some stadium construction debts and athletic budget loans to pay and AD Bob De Carolis has said the money goes first to repaying those.

No one is saying OSU fans shouldn't be doing more. But if you want to become elite on the football field, you need to become elite off the field, and that means a big donor(s).

Like any AD, De Carolis will talk long, loud and often about the everyday fan. But what he, and other ADs don't talk about is the big difference-making booster. Because if your school doesn't have one, it's ultimately the AD's fault for not going out and landing him/her. And the AD doesn't want to start up that conversation.

You need a T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State, or a Phil Knight at Oregon or a small group at Stanford, where about four boosters account for the vast majority of athletic donations. Despite their winning run the past few years, Stanford still has large swaths of empty seats at home, but the money is still there.

As it is at Okie State, Oregon, Alabama and others.

So is more beneficial scheduling. So are the wins.

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