Thursday, January 11, 2007


Kudos to whomever disconnected the cryo-chamber in Walnut Creek, for it appears that the chardonnay-swilling weenies at the Pac-10 have arisen and discovered the concept of inter-conference challenges in basketball. Huzzah, indeed - good work, old men. You're a decade too late, but good show nonetheless.

Of course it's not clear that any of these games will be on the WWL, so the Pac-10/Big 12 matchups probably won't get 1/5th the publicity of the ACC/Big 10 challenge. Instead we'll force the broadcast stylings of Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini on the good people of the Plains states, which will thank God those two rarely invade the Fox Sports Wasteland channel.

Here's hoping against hope that this thing can be marketed to make it truly worthwhile for the conference's schools. There are actually some interesting matchups here (in '08, the matchups will flip - i.e., Cal will travel to Mizzou).

11/25/07: Arizona at Kansas
11/29/07: Oregon at Kansas State; Oklahoma at USC
11/30/07: Washington State at Baylor; Iowa State at Oregon State
12/1/07: Washington at Oklahoma State; Missouri at California
12/2/07: Arizona State at Nebraska; Stanford at Colorado; Texas at UCLA; Texas A&M at Arizona
12/22/07: Texas Tech v Stanford (Newell, we suppose)

* * * * *

On to football, where we're pleased to note that most Pac-10 schools are trying to play at least one real non-conference tilt in '07. Next year sums up like this:

Cal (Tennessee, at Colorado State, La Tech) - not bad, one tough game, one OK game on the road, one gimme - B
Arizona (at BYU, NAU, New Mexico) - BYU and New Mexico were bowl teams, NAU is embarrassing. C+
ASU (San Jose St, Colorado, San Diego St) - In fairness, this schedule looked a lot better when it was put together and Colorado was a somewhat functional program. No road games gets a demerit, though. D+
Oregon (Houston, at Michigan, Fresno State) - No screwing around here. Houston's the breather, and they were in a bowl this year. Fresno will be back. A-
OSU (2 open dates + Utah) - I guess the Beavers just forgot about the whole putting together a schedule thing. Actually, what happened is they dropped a series with Georgia, which earns them negative points. Utah's a reasonable game, but we're assuming the other two teams will be gimps. D
Washington (at Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State) - Have fun, Huskies. Your one winnable non-con game is being played six hours away in an airplane hangar. A
WSU (at Wisconsin, SDSU in Seattle, Idaho) - Wisconsin's going to be scary good next year. The other guys, not so much. B-
Stanford (at TCU, SJSU, at Notre Dame) We've always thought TCU-Stanford was such a natural rivalry. 'Bout time they set that up. B-
UCLA (BYU, at Utah, Notre Dame) Very solid - UCLA has moved on from the SDSUs of the world, as they should. B+
USC (Idaho, at Nebraska, at Notre Dame) - The Vandals stick out like a sore thumb, and SC is trying to get a new opponent. Assuming they can't, its one gimme and two really difficult road trips. Adds up to about an A-.

We'll soon take a closer look at the courageous scheduling choices of other BCS conferences, including the Mighty SEC, which will undoubtedly lead the weenie list again in 2007. Here's a little teaser:

Arkansas Razorbacks: (Troy, North Texas, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Florida International)

Will need to go 12-0 for us to rank him


At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Stanford play AT Notre Dame this year? So they're going back?

And hasn't Oregon played Fresno State the past two seasons? Are they, in fact, rivals?

At 2:41 PM, Blogger border crosser said...

is da pic oliver stone? is tightwad playin da miami sharks 2.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger border crosser said...

no the nike ceo's like 2 hook up with fresno's farm girls.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Bowlbasaur said...

Cal's OOC schedule looks like a good balance, but its in the wrong order. It would be nice to warm up with La Tech and get Tennessee the next week.
Washington's schedule looks brutal. Not good news for Tyrone, especially with Jim Mora, Jr. job hunting.
Go Bears!

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Pete Morris said...

Unfortunately for the Pac, these non-conference schedules won't get the respect from east of the Rockies that they deserve. While I don't believe there is much of an "East Coast bias" against the Pac itself, we do suffer from the general lack of awareness of just how good the Mountain West and WAC teams really are. Keep in mind that there are precisely 10 BCS schools located west of the Rockies, which means there is a lot of talent left over for the West's non-BCS programs to pick up. The same cannot be generally said for the BCS-saturated eastern two-thirds of the country, where there just isn't the same depth remaining for the likes of the MAC, the Sunbelt, and CUSA. I wouldn't go so far to argue that either the Mountain West or the WAC deserve to be reclassified as "BCS" conferences, but they did go 6-2 between them in this year's bowl season. And while far from conclusive, the following non-conference records of the non-BCS champs are at least suggestive:
Boise State (WAC), 5-0
BYU (Mountain West), 3-2
Southern Miss (CUSA east), 3-3
Houston (CUSA west), 3-3
Central Michigan (MAC west), 3-3
Ohio (MAC east), 2-4
Troy (Sun Belt), 2-4
Again, not that it really proves anything, Sagarin's final conference ratings place the Mountain West and the WAC as the top two non-BCS conferences. (He has Cal, by the way, at #8).

Maybe it's high time for just one more conference realignment, combining the top programs from the MWC and the WAC into a new BCS-guaranteed "Big West" for football. Utah, BYU, Boise, Fresno, Hawaii, Nevada, Air Force -- that's a pretty good core of teams that would give any of the BCS six a run for their money.

At 5:52 PM, Blogger T. said...

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Stanford/TTech game is to be played in San Antonio or Dallas - thus, unrelated to Pete Newell Classic.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger border crosser said...

dat pic never trust anybody who tucks their t shirt in2 their sweet pants.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Tightwad said...

Pete, that's an interesting thought about a super western non-BCS conference. Hard to see how you'd deal with the politics, though. Who would you ask to leave the MWC?

At 8:34 AM, Blogger Pete Morris said...

You're right, Tightwad, the politics of any Mountain West - WAC realignment would be tricky indeed. Beyond the schools I mentioned, no doubt that San Diego State, TCU, and perhaps even San Jose State, would insist on being invited into the BCS club--especially if there were guaranteed millions up for grabs. Indeed, more than a lack of a play-off, this is where the system really fails: the conferences (plus Notre Dame) enjoy far too much autonomy, which allows the big guys to maintain an wholly unfair and unequal status quo.

By the way, to add a little bit of analytical rigor to my earlier comment, the West (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) is home to 22.5% of the U.S. population, but just 17% of the 65 BCS schools (the Pac-10 plus Colorado). As a result, there are 5.7 million people living in the West per BCS school, versus just 4.0 million per school in the rest of the country. It would take the addition of five more BCS schools in the West to put the regions on more even footing. That said, as a fan of the Pac-10, I kind of like our relative monopoly on the region's top talent.

Final thought: any chance that Boise State and San Dimas's Ian Johnson does not get recruited by a BCS school if he had grown up east of the Rockies?

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