Who Scheduled LSU and Why?

SEATTLE - I've let this go for a while, but I'm really perplexed about why, who, and when someone scheduled LSD for the Huskies, err I mean LSU. Someone is really whacked out. Are you kidding me?

This reeks of greed. Period! Plain and simple, it's all for American dollars and that make me sick. I'm not saying the Huskies can't beat them, and I hope I'm entirely wrong, but this is the time to schedule down, not up.

Come on. Let's give this young and rebuilding team of kids and coaches a chance to gain some confidence and schedule more teams in your non-conference segment that can give you some early wins and then progress to one 'big-time' team, take a bye, and then enter the Pac-10.

In my opinion, it's not that tough to figure out. No one gives a damn who you play early, as long as you get wins. That is, of course, unless you're playing at the end for an undefeated season and a national championship. Look at Kansas last year. After years of beating themselves up, the Jayhawks scheduled three Sisters of the Poor. And when it came time for the BCS they got a bid over Missouri, even though Gary Pinkel's team had already beaten them.

Remember back when The Huskies won the national championship in 1991? That year we beat some really tough teams like Toledo and Kansas State. Oh yeah, we also beat Nebraska in our second game, but it was after a bye following our opener. I guarantee you we showed the Cornhuskers many things they didn't see in our opening game against Stanford.

If you can schedule it, play one good opponent in your preseason, one average, and one automatic win. Then you have a chance to be at least 2-1 going into league. Otherwise, the objective in college scheduling is to get your team into a bowl game and get the extra 15 days of practice to continue to build your team.

I applaud Washington changing their 2008 schedule to give themselves some byes because it really helps your team to stay healthy for the current money-making twelve-game season. For years the NCAA and college administrators have told us a playoff would extend the season too much and be a negative from an academic standpoint. But here we are now, playing football all the way into December because football is the cash cow.

Now I don't know about three byes, but by taking breaks in the season it really helps you to have that extra week to analyze your opponent. Sometimes it even allows you to change things so the other team has no idea what to expect.

After looking at the addition of the byes in the season, I thought that finally someone understood the game of football. And then, out of nowhere, we go over-scheduling ourselves when we are the last place team in the league.

Go figure.

Are we trying to rebuild our football program or drive it further down? You don't over schedule when you have a young team; you don't even do it when you have a great team.

I appreciate that interim AD Scott Woodward is staying on upper campus for funding and academic reasons, but if this is his legacy to the athletic department then he has done football an injustice. LSU is arguably one of the finest and most talent-loaded college football teams in America, and has been for the past half-decade.

It's not that the Huskies don't have a chance, because they always do. But when you play teams like this right out of the blocks, it really can damage your team physically. There are always more injuries when you play these types of teams, not to mention what it can do to your team's psyche.

Look at what some of the other teams in our conference are doing schedule-wise. Arizona, sick of being left out of bowl games, opens with Idaho, followed by Toledo and New Mexico. By winning those three games, the Wildcats only need to win three of nine league games to become bowl eligible.

Oregon State has been downgrading their schedule for the past five years, and they are the best they have ever been. They are going to bowls while the Huskies stay home. The Beavers have even played teams like Eastern Washington and Portland State. They play Penn State this year, but they also play Utah State.

Arizona State opens with Northern Arizona and then steps up a little to play UNLV before taking on Georgia at home. That is how to schedule with progression.

This will be the second year in a row the Huskies have had the hardest non-conference schedule in the league, and then to add a team like LSU to open the next two years is just plain greedy. You build up to a team like that or wait to play them in a bowl.

My experience tells me you can expect a great crowd no matter who you play in the opening game at Husky Stadium. It's almost always a sell out because all Husky fans want to see is wins. Yeah, LSU will bring a great following and it will bolster the Seattle tourist economy, but I just think it's a dumb way to start a season.

I know Woodward and the school President (Mark Emmert) both come from LSU and they are obviously proud to show off their new school to old friends, but that's not even scheduling up. It's scheduling stupid.

Building confidence and getting to play a lot of your kids helps build your depth for league and both are, or should be, important considerations for scheduling for success. This was obviously missed, because why else would they do something like this to a lower-echelon team?

I hope I'm wrong, but I do know the last time Washington traveled to Baton Rouge. They got absolutely hammered. This was really smart by the Tigers, knowing last time the Huskies visited they were crushed 40-14.

This scheduling snafu is just another reason why choosing an athletic director with a football background is an excellent idea. However, it's apparent football at Washington is run for the purpose of making money, and not for the success of the team.

After missing bowl experiences for the past five years you would think someone would realize how important they are to the long-term health of your team. Those five bowl games represent 75 missed practice opportunities. That equals a whole season of practices.

I would fully welcome it - if this makes me look like an idiot - especially if the Huskies beat LSU both times. What kind of odds do you think you could get on that bet? Even if you do schedule teams like LSU, make sure you have two others that are winnable games.

Really, when you schedule an Oklahoma and a Notre Dame and a bunch of 25-year old kids from BYU, that tells me you aren't interested in the development of your program. In my opinion, all you care about is TV and money. And that is sad.

The administration at Washington State did this exact same thing to Bill Doba by asking him to open with Auburn and Wisconsin the past two years, then proceeded to fire him. The Cougars lost players in both games and essentially never recovered.


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