Scheduling, Cal and the Pac-12 in general
The subhead to the story captures it well: Pac-12 administrators say putting together a worthy nonconference slate is a tightrope act that involves juggling strength of schedule with economic constraints while also delivering a watchable product for fans, and picking games that are challenging but not impossible to win. In the story, which you can find HERE, Loh talks at some length with Washington State athletic director Bill Moos. In looking at this year's Cougar schedule, it fits perfectly with Moos' long-held belief that you fill your three nonconference games with an A school (i.e. from a Power 5 conference), a B school (typically from the Mountain West) and a C school (from FCS). "And even though fans won’t necessarily be lining up outside Martin Stadium to watch WSU play Eastern Washington and Idaho in 2016; Nevada, Boise State and Montana State in 2017 or San Jose State and Eastern Washington again in 2018, Moos stands by the schools he’s slotted into WSU’s nonconference slate over the next few years," the story says. It then quotes Moos: “What we need at Washington State right now is to be bowl eligible every year, and we have a better chance of that, with a nine-game schedule in the Pac-12, if we have a realistic chance of winning the three nonconference games.” The newsprint version of the story included a chart showing what WSU is paying to its home-game opponents in coming years:
2016: EWU $400,000 and Idaho $600,000
2017: Nevada and Boise State $300,000 each as part of home-and-home exchanges with both; and Montana State $425,000
2018: San Jose State $525,000 and EWU $425,000
2019: Northern Colorado $500,000, and BYU $350,000 as part of a home-and-home exchange
RYAN GORCEY, OUR GOOD FRIEND AT BearTerritory.net was in Seattle over the weekend covering WSU's next opponent, the Cal Bears, and their win over Washington. Here's some of what he observed, including a comment about coach Sonny Dykes' Air Raid that sounds an awful lot like comments around here about Mike Leach's Air Raid ...
"It was ugly. It was uneven. It was incomplete. But, when all is said and done, California moved to 4-0 for the first time since 2007 with a 30-24 win over Washington on Saturday, marking the first time that Cal had beaten the Huskies since 2008 ...
"Where this type of offense typically struggles is in the red zone, because the condensed space makes it difficult to pass, and the Bear Raid did struggle down deep on Saturday. The Bears were 5-of-6 in the red zone, but three of those scores were field goals. It may be nitpicking, especially when ... I bemoaned the lack of true running plays on third down, but on third down in the red zone, with as indefensible a pass as Goff's patented back-shoulder-fade at their disposal, Cal decided to run the ball twice on third-and-goal. Both tries failed."
To read more of Ryan's insights on the Bears, including concerns with the special teams, click HERE.
TED MILLER OF ESPN.COM RIGHTLY likens the Pac-12 to the "Hunger Games" following the topsy-turvy carnage over the weekend. In THIS story, he marvels at the unexpected juggernaut otherwise known as Utah and the various up is down and down is up machinations of the conference right now. Is it time to right off Oregon, just as -- erroneously so, it turned out -- Stanford and USC were written off in past weeks?
PHOTO AT TOP: WSU's Charleston White battles Cal's Kenny Lawler in Pullman in 2014 shootout.
VIDEO INTERVIEWS FOLLOWING COUGARS' SUNDAY NIGHT PRACTICE:
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CougfanSaturday at 5:12 PM