Rich Linde, February 14, 2010
in favor of expanding the Pac-10 to twelve teams for one simple reason:
hopefully, the league will drop its silly round-robin scheduling format
and go with an eight-game conference schedule. This will leave room for
a team to schedule four patsies -- or at least three -- as they do in
the powerful South Eastern Conference, for example.
For instance, the 2009-10 BCS champion, Alabama,
played home games against FIU, North Texas and Chattanooga, running up a
combined score of 138 to 21, this in an eight-home game schedule. I
never heard anyone from the "eastern mafia" accusing Alabama of playing
a soft schedule last year.
Texas, Alabama's opponent in the
BCS title game, played home games against LA-Monroe, UCF, and UTEP,
outpacing them by a combined score of 158-30. Texas also pounded
Wyoming, 41-10, on the road. Once again, the mafia was silent. All four
patsies yielded to the mighty Longhorns, 199-40.
I bring the subject of the mafia
up because they are certain to hammer Pac-10 teams for playing a "soft"
schedule. We can always remind them of their double standard, but that
is what being a member of the mafia is all about, having double
Playing a round-robin schedule,
as the Pac-10 does now, means the conference has five more losses on its
record than it would have in an eight-game-schlock-oriented schedule.
Also, every other year, teams have to play five conference opponents on
the road, instead of four, as
Washington does this upcoming season.
So why not expand the conference to twelve teams
and go with an eight-game schedule? (There must be an easier way to
eschew round-robin scheduling, but alas, I yield to the powers that be.)
Improved Pac-10 records mean more bowl games and
possibly a second BCS bowl game. The Pac-10 hasn't had two teams in the
BCS bowl lineup since the 2002-03 season.
Does playing a softer schedule mean selling less
tickets at home?
In Washington's case, as it begins to accumulate
wins and bowl victories, it seems reasonable that Husky Stadium will be
filled to capacity regardless of whom the Huskies play, whether it be Eastern
Washington or Notre Dame. If I'm going to travel to Seattle to attend a home
game, I want to see the Dawgs win, not lose.
I'm not that excited about adding Colorado and Utah
to the league, as everyone is speculating. But if they are the price for
improved scheduling, I'll go along with them.
With a 12-team conference,
having an eleven-game round-robin schedule, as some suggest, hardly smacks of 1080p foresight;
instead, it's akin to making a sequel to the movie Dumb and Dumber
in low resolution. So let's go with an eight-game format.
By the way, this doesn't mean
the conference has to be
split into what would be traditional Northern and Southern
divisions, that is, a Northern Division consisting of UW, OSU, WSU, UO,
Utah and Colorado, say. Such an arrangement means that it would be possible that
a team from the Northern Division could miss traveling to southern
California for two-straight years, a possibility that would hurt
ESPN blogger Ted Miller
-- and language maven -- hypothesizes a division
consisting of USC, Stanford, Washington State, Arizona State, Utah and
Oregon State. "Each Pac-12 team plays five divisional games as well as
its traditional rival in the other division annually," Miller
"Each team then rotates two games among the other five teams in the
As Miller notes, his hypothetical split preserves
the border-war game, the annual hate-fest between Washington and Oregon.
Also, Washington doesn't have to play USC every year (my note).
Using Ted's divisions (Table 1), I've worked out a
hypothetical five-year conference schedule for Washington, as shown
in Table 2. Over the five years, the Huskies play teams from the other
division twice. Home games are in CAPS.
For example, in the year 2KX
shown by Table 2, Washington's non-conference schedule could feature
home games against teams of the ilk of Portland State, Idaho, Eastern
Washington and BYU (the latter in a home-and-home arrangement, say).
With Washington's present team, I could easily see it
going at least 8-4 -- or perhaps even better -- playing that hypothetical
Table 1. Miller's split.
|Miller's Division A
Table 2. A hypothetical conference schedule for Washington appears below,
patsies not included.