COMMENTARY: Pac-10 has some explaining to do

IN ORDER TO accommodate another Pac-10 school's academic schedule, the Pac-10 Conference Directors of Athletics made some recent revisions to the 2010 football schedule. The end result is there are nine teams who now have a bye week either after their sixth game, or before. And Washington State? Well, they got pretty well doinked.

That's because Washington State now has to play 11 weeks straight -- without a bye week.

All those who think the Pac-10 Athletic Directors would have stuck USC with playing 11 weeks straight, raise your hands. Didn't think so.

Auburn had 11 straight weeks before a bye last year. They started out 5-0 and were ranked No. 17 in the country. They finished the regular season at 7-5.


For WSU, this came about because Stanford didn't want a conflict with the beginning of their finals week. No problem, there. It's a perfectly reasonable request. But the solution reached was to swat another Pac-10 team, and that's not right.

WSU ALREADY HAD, with respect to byes, a so-so situation to begin with. Namely, they didn't have one until after their ninth game. They then added another bye by moving their rivalry game a week out, something that's becoming ever more popular in college football for both competitive and monetary reasons.

But now it's gone from bad to worse. The revision now means WSU will have two byes in a row after Week 11.

Of course, coaches naturally want a bye in the middle of the schedule. Let some injuries heal up. Give the players a day or two off to recharge mentally. These things are valuable to the pursuit of winning football games during a long season.

SO HOW DOES WSU's schedule measure up to the rest of the Pac-10?

USC has a bye week, (surprise, surprise), after Week 6. So does UCLA. So does Oregon. So does ASU. So does Oregon State. That's five teams that hold the proverbial Position A in terms of a bye week. And the other four?

Stanford has a bye one game earlier -- after their fifth game of the season. Cal has a bye after their fourth game.

Arizona and Washington have byes after their third game -- perhaps not the ideal. But would they trade positions with WSU? I'm guessing not, since, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet, WSU doesn't have a bye until after Week 11!

DID THE Pac-10 AD's say to Wazzu, 'Hey, sorry about this but we'll make it up to you. You'll get a bye week wherever you want one next time. We're really, really sorry, but we'll make things right, we'll even the playing field since you bit the bullet for us this year.' Of course not. They showed WSU the finger and then went and had a donut.

There are no plans in the works according to WSU Sports Information for any further schedule changes, (though they're always possible). So all that Washington State can do for 2010 is accept it and put as good a face on it as possible.

There is no longer a game as Thanksgiving Break begins, meaning the students won't have left town for one of the Cougs' home games. WSU should also be as prepared as they can be for the Apple Cup. So those are some plusses. It doesn't make up for it, but it does make it somewhat less bitter.

But a year from now, Bill Moos should go into the 2011 meeting and demand, at the least, a midseason bye -- or wherever Paul Wulff wants one. And should the conference encounter any scheduling challenges, just have USC play 11 straight games. I'm sure they'd welcome such an arrangement with open arms.

About the Author: Paul Wilson is a third generation Cougar fan and has been an enthusiastic follower of Wazzu football and hoops for more than 25 years.

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