2002 Football Schedule Is Cause For Concern.
Having reviewed the recently released 2002 San Jose State Football schedule, "the 'Dudes" mood is definitely one of disappointment.
The lack of home games, the continuation of too many "play-for-pay" road games, and the overall quick-fix approach of the Athletic Administration is casting a pall over the football program.
This coming season is the first one that allows an additional, 12th game to be scheduled. Under the new NCAA rule, D1 schools can now schedule twelve games,instead of eleven, and even schedule a thirteenth game if one of the games is played outside continental U.S.
By virtue of playing at Hawaii this season (for the third straight year, no less), San Jose State was allowed to schedule a total of thirteen games. I had hoped that by having a thirteen game schedule, SJSU would have at least five home games in '02. I realized that it was too much to ask for six home games (which has only happened one time over the past 20 years, back in 1987).
But, surely we could at least see five games played in the comfy confines of Spartan Stadium. Surely?
The '02 San Jose State Spartans will only play four home games. Four games at home, and nine (NINE!) games on the road. Rather than use the additional game as an opportunity to give back to the Spartan faithful a fifth home game, rather than paying us back for the home game SJSU "sold" to Hawaii last year, our illustrious AD has chosen to use the thirteenth game to schedule yet another "play for pay" road game.
Get this, the 2002 Spartans OOC (out of conference) schedule consists of games @ Illinois, @ Ohio State, @ Washington, and the annual game @Stanford.
The crème de la crème though is the season opener @ Arkansas State. Not the University of Arkansas, but rather Arkansas' "other" public school, located in Jonesboro. Yes, the Sun Belts Conference' own Arkansas State.
Oh, but wait, the game isn't going to be played in Jonesboro, it's going to be played in Little Rock (I guess they must be expecting Fitz Hill to bring a lot of relatives to the game, and are going to need a bigger stadium). No disrespect to ASU, but there's just no good reason that the game should be played there.
Can it get any worse? Yes. The 2002 Spartans open the season with four straight road games, and play seven out of the first eight on the road.
The first home game (UTEP) is not played until September 28th. Wasn't it our AD and President who were crying "foul!" about not playing the first home game of the 2001 season until October, when the WAC pushed out the Nevada game? Last time I checked, September 28th is only four days short of the month of October.
I guess it's OK if SJSU screws itself, but don't let those WAC folks in Denver mess with us! 2002 will see the Spartans face a total of six teams who played in bowl games this past season.
In addition, two other opponents (Boise State and Hawaii) were bowl eligible as well but did not play in bowl games, due to the dearth of WAC bowl tie-ins. The Athletic Administration will claim that the road "play for pay" games (Illinois, Ohio St., and Washington) are critical to balancing the overall athletic budget.
Why must the football program, the players, coaches, and the fans, be saddled with that burden, and be made to suffer for the good of the other sports?
The Athletic Administration will claim that playing the likes of Ohio St., Illinois, and Washington helps with recruiting. "Young men want to play against the top competition" That may be true to some degree, but how many potential recruits are turned off by the losing records?
I'm all for SJSU playing one or two games against BSC level schools, even on the road, but three games is too many, and four games is absolutely insane!
Four BCS teams, all are on the road. No home game until the fifth game of the season. Only four home games overall, in a thirteen game schedule. Thirteen straight games, without a single week off.
This is an absolute embarrassment!
In my opinion, the number of "play for pay" games (I don't want to call them Body Bag games) currently being scheduled by SJSU is detrimental to the football program in the long run. Beyond the immediate financial gratification, I see absolutely no benefit in continuing the current practice. I'm not alone in this opinion either.
I have heard a lot of rumblings from alumni, and former players, who are concerned with where this is all going. One former player even stated that he'd prefer to see the program shutdown altogether, rather than watch the legacy of San Jose State Football, (which he helped build), be permanently tarnished.
I'm certainly not in agreement with ending the program, nor do I believe that is going to happen, but, I can certainly understand how the former player feels.
It used to be that SJSU football players would go into games against the likes of Washington, Baylor, or Oregon expecting to win. And sometimes they did. The current Administration admits to scheduling these games purely for the money. What type of signal does that send to the current players? What does that say to the fans? It's the wrong message.
Bottom line, these "play-for-pay" games have got to be significantly reduced. SJSU must start investing it's resources and total focus on how it can meet the expected, upcoming, new minimum average attendance requiremnts of 15K per game, and a minimum of five home games against D1 opponents.
SJSU needs to figure out a way to make the citizens of San Jose understand that the Spartans are THEIR team, and that D1 football in San Jose is not a Right, but rather a perk.
D1 football is an under-appreciated asset to the community, and SJSU is chiefly to blame for this. For what it's worth, I expressed much of what I've just written to Chuck Bell directly, via email. I asked him what the plan was for future.
It's going on two weeks, and I've yet to receive a response. If I eventually do, I'll pass it on.
If you are also concerned with the current scheduling practices, I invite you to contact the Athletic Administration as well. The Official SJSU Athletics web site states that the 2002 schedule is "tentative".
It's not too late to speak up.
"If you don't have dreams, you got nightmares" SJSdude1@yahoo.com
2002 Football Schedule
Aug. 31 @Arkansas St. Sept. 7 @ Washington Sept. 14 @ Stanford Sept. 21 @Illinois Sept. 28 UTEP Oct. 5 @SMU Oct. 12 @Ohio St. Oct. 19 @Nevada Oct. 26 BOISE ST. Nov. 2 @ Hawaii Nov. 9 LA TECH Nov. 16 @ Tulsa Nov. 23 FRESNO ST.