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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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May 23, 2008 4:55 PM

Examining the schedules

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lots of interesting debate on here today about UW's schedule and whether it's the right thing for the program right now to bring a team like LSU to kick off the 2009 season.

I'm one of those who likes big games and respects the fact that Washington has traditionally not shied away from tough competition, so in general, I think this is the right way to go. I also think that by 2009, the Huskies ought to be ready for it, with almost everyone back from the 2008 roster, notably a QB who would be entering his third year as a starter.

Also worth keeping in mind is that a lot of the schedule maneuvering of the last few years was forced on the Huskies a little bit.

The Huskies planned, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, to play teams like Indiana, Illinois and Nevada. All three schools asked out of those games (Indiana after playing here in 2003), forcing UW to scramble.

Let's review year-by-year to see how the schedules were intended to look (according to the 2004 media guide) and how they look now.


Here's the original non-conference schedule in 2007:

at Indiana
Ohio State

Here's how it up after Indiana pulled out and Todd Turner then tried to soften it a bit, eliminating the back-to-back games against Oklahoma and OSU:

at Syracuse
Boise State
Ohio State
at Hawaii

I think the schedule UW ended up playing was easier than what it originally planned to play, excluding the Hawaii game, which was an extra, and which ultimately didn't do much to determine the fate of the season anyway.


Here's the original non-conference lineup for 2008:
Boise State
at Illinois
Notre Dame

Here's how it ended up:

Notre Dame

A couple things happened here. First, the Pac-10 decided to play nine conference games, so the Huskies had to cut out one of the non-conference games. That was made easy when Illinois asked out of its series with UW. Turner then switched the Boise State and Oklahoma games to make the 2007 a little softer, the thought being that the Huskies would be readier to play a tougher slate in 2008. Ultimately, you get Oklahoma but lose at Illinois and Boise State. Definitely a little bit tougher.

(If you're wondering, the Pac-10 team UW would have missed in 2008 is UCLA, which would have prevented what will be one of the highlights of this season --- the return to Husky Stadium of Rick Neuheisel).


Here's the original schedule for 2009:

at Notre Dame

Here's how it ended up:

at Notre Dame

Again, both Nevada and Illinois asked out, so UW had to scramble. Ultimately, it looks a little tougher with LSU a bit of an upgrade from Illinois, though Idaho probably a little bit easier than Nevada figures to be.

The 2010 schedule is also now set as UW will play at BYU before hosting Syracuse and Nebraska. Originally, UW had a home game set with Navy for 2010, but that's another one the Huskies lost when that school decided to pull out (there are usually some sort of buy-outs written into the contracts when schools do that though I don't know the particulars in any of these cases).

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Posted by Gabe

5:52 PM, May 23, 2008

Regaarding the LSU thing: Perhaps TW stepped up to the line and supported the LSU date despite the prospect that it could hurt his chances to remain coach. If he did, that's greatly to his credit. But my w/a guess about this is that UW's bayou boys got together and did this one on their own, putting TW's feet to fire and giving him one of the biggest tests of his career. Once they told him they had done the deal, then he was totally down with it. Totally. This is how I envision it unfolding. Now our intrrepid reporter can go out and get the real story behind the story and give us the facts. Troy Must Be Destroyed.

Posted by Teddy

6:36 PM, May 23, 2008

Would having LB Bradly Roussel make any difference as far as this scheduling goes? I know they do that kind of thing in basketball, and he'd be one of the few guys unable to play near home during pac-10 play on this roster.

I realize more went into this decision than that, but maybe when comparing different possibilities that could've played a part, or maybe not.

Posted by BoiseTruth

7:23 PM, May 23, 2008

"I'm one of those who likes big games and respects the fact that Washington has traditionally not shied away from tough competition, so in general, I think this is the right way to go."

Well said Bob. The only thing that bothers me about the schedule is missing the chance to play Illinois.

Posted by azumah

9:05 PM, May 23, 2008

We're the elite program in the northwest, expected to be among the elite teams in the country every year. When you hold that position, there is no exceptions to scheduling soft OOC games that include 1-AA schools. You let the other NW programs do that. Great stuff.

Posted by dawn james cheats

9:31 PM, May 23, 2008

azumah, if perpetual 9th or 10th is in your mind elite in your mind, so be it. Either a small mind, or worse.

Posted by Sensual Dawg

10:16 PM, May 23, 2008

I just hope Ty gets the benefit of the doubt if we have a bad year next year with these tough schedules.

Notre Dame plays half their games against sub par competition and yet the UW chooses to make the toughest schedule in the country. This just doesn't seem fair to Ty.

Posted by azumah

1:20 AM, May 24, 2008

James Cheats, apparently you have trouble understanding the word, "expect." I'm glad you, as well as everyone else in the college football universe, are aware of how our program has fared as of late. The difference of course is that when we are down, we don't lower our expectations like the other northwest schools do. In fact, since 2005 all 3 of the other NW schools have played I-AA opponents during their OOC schedule.

Posted by Bob (Not Condotta)

2:00 AM, May 24, 2008

Ignore that fool, azumah. He's just a troll, looking for a rise out of you. What possible reason would a sincere fan have in posting that stuff?

Posted by c

5:12 AM, May 24, 2008

LSU is going to kick Washington's Aaaaaassssssss....
Ohio State scheduling is to play 3 easy games and one hard game. Ohio State this year plays Youngstown State, Troy, USC, and Ohio.
Washington needs to learn how from Ohio State how to make a schedule...

Posted by ICE

6:50 AM, May 24, 2008


Huh? Are you serious writing > "I also think that by 2009, the Huskies ought to be ready for it"

Over the last decade, LSU has been a perennial Top 10 program. Top 5 even, for some of those years, playing in BCS bowls.

During the same time, the UW has been bringing up the rear in the Pac 10, piling up losing record after losing record. No significant bowl appearances, and next year looks to be little different.

LSU unquestionably has a superior coach, better athletes, and consistently stronger recruiting.

UW has (maybe) Jake Locker.

I guess you meant that UW will be ready to get their helmets handed to them.

Posted by dawg4life

7:17 AM, May 24, 2008

Bob, maybe I missed it but did Carl Bonnell ever come back for the combine you mentioned?

Regarding the ooc schedule tough, one easy and one somewhere in the middle has always made sense to me.

ICE, sounds like you've been paying attention to Division 1 football for roughly....8 years. But how much attention have you really paid? And are you aware that NCAA football existed prior to 2000?

LSU in 1998 and 1999 finished the season unranked and bowless. UW at least went to bowls both years, then followed them up with the Rose in 2000, Holiday in 2001 and Sun in 2002.

Are you aware that in Division 1 football every team has rather large swings through good times and bad?

For those teams hit with severe sanctions and scandal, the move back to the top typically takes longer.

Congratulations to you. You an LSU fan. That doesn't take allot of guts. Enjoy it while you can but don't forget....UW's been there before, and in 2009 they are likely to be there again.

Posted by Corndawg

7:39 AM, May 24, 2008

Scheduling a first game against an SEC perpetual national contender is totally irrational unless Gabe is right. Just compare the schedules of absolutely every other Division 1 team. Everyone "eases" into a year. The cupcakes play for the money and the national attention. The opponents play to start with a win...How It Really Works is right.

Posted by Wheatus

8:22 AM, May 24, 2008

People here are insane. When we won our share of the National championship we played Toledo and Kansas State for Gods sake. We didn't have to play UCLA that year whom always gives us a tough game. It's funny how all these people that cry about Husky tradition forget those little tidbits of fact.

Our 1984 Orange Bowl team played a 2-9 Northwestern team, a 7-5 Houston team and a 4-7 University of Miami (Ohio) team...and we didn't play UCLA that year either.

You want to talk about Husky history and scheduling then get with the facts and don't try and imply we always play tough non-conference opponents. The fact is the two best Husky teams in my lifetime played easy non-conference schedules and didn't have to play UCLA either year. (1984, 1991)

Does anyone really think Ohio State was one of the best two teams the last few years? I for one don't think they were, but their schedule gave them a record good enough to get into the NC game those years.

Look at Notre Dame. If we had Notre Dames schedule last year, I would argue we would have won 8-9 games. Don't tell me about Husky history unless you get your facts right. It has only been in the past 4-5 years we have been playing really tough non-conference schedules since we started playing all 9 pac-10 teams and the results have been terrible.

Unless global warming happens quicker then anticipated, we will never have the same caliber of athletes that USC and UCLA have, across the board.

If you want to play these crazy schedules, fine...but don't get upset when Emmert takes that into account when deciding the fate of Ty Willingham.

I've got two tickets to Iron Maiden baby
Come with me Friday, don't say maybe
I'm just a teenage dirtbag baby like you

Yeeah dirtbag, no she doesn't know what she's missin
Yeeah dirtbag, no she doesn't know what she's missin

Posted by Bob Condotta

9:10 AM, May 24, 2008

This is no different than playing USC, which UW is contractually obligated to do every year --- are they not going to be ready to play USC in 2009? In theory, by next year, whatever rebuilding UW has needed to do under Willingham should be done. He'll have had five years, and a QB in the system for four (including his redshirt year). If he's not ready then to take on a team like LSU, then when? Speaking of USC, this schedule is no different than what the Trojans play every year. Isn't that who the Huskies want to emulate in the long-term?

Teddy --- I can't imagine Bradly Roussel's presence having much to do with it. You do those things for basketball, where yo have a lot of non-conference games and not many players, but I've never heard of basing football decisions on things like that.

Posted by jh

9:35 AM, May 24, 2008

..."UW chooses to make the toughest schedule in the country. This just doesn't seem fair to Ty...."

...luckily...for the UW fan hoping for a coaching change...the scheduling of LSU has just sealed willingham's fate...can you see an AD, after the last three seasons of being last in the Pac-10, allowing a coach that has lost 7 out of every 10 UW games to be put on the national stage?...

...hello Sacramento State...

Posted by PeopleMuncher

9:55 AM, May 24, 2008

n an era when many schools are seeking to schedule down, particularly in 12-team conferences, and when many second-tier schools no longer want to be rent-an-opponents, With the west coast short on potential OOC opponents (note Nevada pulling out on us), it can be hard on short notice to come up with credible opponents to come all the way up here to the Far Corner.

When you've got a chance to play a premier SEC team like LSU, however, I think you've got to go for it, if only for the national exposure it will give. I believe the last time an SEC team visited Husky Stadium was when Alabama came here in 1986.

Posted by Corndawg

10:22 AM, May 24, 2008

Didn't UW have the nation's toughest schedule last year? How did that help the program? Even established programs get a little help from their least for the first game. UW is getting plenty of national attention. It doesn't need LSU as a first opponent for it.

Posted by UW Alum

10:26 AM, May 24, 2008

Well fellow dawg fans, at first I was wondering what we were thinking scheduling LSU for 2009 however, after looking at their roster, 2009 is as good a chance to beat them as any year, they lose pretty much everyone from their championship team (having already lost glenn dorsey and a few others) and the UW will have nearly everyone back. I'm beginning to come around on this one, hopefully we can get the Husky stadium homefield advantage rolling and shock the SEC. We have Locker, they don't. I remember oregon st going down to LSU to open the season a few years ago and nearly winning (alexis serna missed 3 pat's in that game and i believe they lost by one point).

Posted by MelloDawg

11:54 AM, May 24, 2008

Sensual Dawg,

Stop with the schedule nonsense. It's been well-documented on this site that schedules are no excuse for Willingham. Maybe next time don't be so obvious in your attempts to get under our skin.

Posted by Gabe

12:38 PM, May 24, 2008

If TW was in on the decision to host LSU, then he assumed the risk that it will affect his chances of sticking around into his dotage. Whether or not he deserves to be evaluated on that choice is beside the point, because he's gonna be. Full stop. My own hunch is that he really had nothing to do with the decision and the Bayou Boys did the deal and forced him to go along. Whether or not that's true is something Bob C is going to track down for us in the great tradition of muckraking journalism. He's probably on it this very weekend collaring people in back alleys in the U District.

My preference would be to cut TW loose at the end of next season if he doesn't show substantial progress (not necessarily a winning season), hire the best high school coach on the west coach, pay him peanuts, save the rest to the benefit of the taxpayers, and watch the new guy kick butt in the Pac 10. Now that's a story line. All this shoud be done because Troy Must Be Destroyed.

Posted by Gabe

12:58 PM, May 24, 2008

Having just reread my last post, I see I have a typo on "west coach", should be "west coast" of course. Looking at that made me change my mind. I now say we hire the best high school football coach in whole damn country, cause there are some awfully good people in places like Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, etc. Then we pay that guy peanuts, he's happy as punch, and he humiliates seasoned coaches around the Pac 10 to the glee of U Dub faithful everywhere. There's lots of talent at the h.s. level waiting to take a step up, just like the players they coach. Unfortunately, no overpaid bureaucrat at the U Dub will have the cajones to make this bold move. Too bad. Nevertheless, Troy Must Be Destroyed.

Posted by jed

2:29 PM, May 24, 2008

You don't want to play teams like Ohio State and Oklahoma back to back but getting some high quality opponents interspersed with the usual patsies is great. Playing LSU at home In what would be TW's fifth year( assuming he is given the chance to finish out the final year of his contract) is hard to pass up.

I remember in the 60's and 70's playing the usual "rope a dope" teams year in and year out (Pacific, SJSU, Idaho) and wishing we wouldn't pad the schedule so much. No one was better at this than Owens toward the end of his career. Having too many of those type of games doesn't do much to really prepare you.

BTW Wheatus the National Champ team did go into Lincoln to play Nebraska that year on a nationally televised game that had the environment and intensity of a bowl game. They came from behind with two length of the field drives against Nebraska that are the thing of legend. It really put them on the map that year. Several years later when Nebraska came to Husky stadium the Nebraska coach was still talking about that UW team and that game.

I was very surprised and proud that of all the div. I teams in the NCAA only 4 or so have never, I repeat never played a game against a I-AA opponent. The UW is one of these 4 or 5 schools. The number dropped to 4 or 5 since Michigan and Ohio State played I-AA in the last one or two seasons ( remember Michigan losing to Appalacian State their first I-AA opponent).

Posted by Chris Miller

2:43 PM, May 24, 2008

Put Chris Miller on the record for loving the schedules and our tradition of having tough schedules. Regardless of what our personnel situatioin looks like it is important from a financial, recruiting, and traditional stand point to schedule these tough non-league games.

Take a look at LSU, the only school ever to win a national championship with TWO LOSSES. Do you think if Virginia Tech wasn't on their schedule, they wouldn't have got that chance? Me too. So if and when the Huskes do have a great team and we lose two tough games that year, who is going to be wishing for a soft schedule? It makes no sense to schedule soft at all.

Can't wait to go to war in Eugene boys!!!


Posted by *uck ICE

2:53 PM, May 24, 2008

ICE is an idiot. Write down these names among others: Chris Polk, Deandre Goodwin, Crutis Shaw, Alvin Logan, Anthony Boyles, Devin Aguilar, Quinton Richardson, Nate Williams, Victor Aiyewa and Johri Fogerson, Daniel Teo-Nesheim, Cameron Elisara, Deshon Matthews, Everette Thompson, Alameda Taamu, Kalani Aldrich, Senio Kelemete, Ryan Tolar, Ben Ossai, Cody Habben, Skyler Fancher, Scott Shugert, Mark Armelin, Allen Caroll, EJ Savannah, Donald Butler, Mason Foster, Chris Izbicki, Kavario Middleton, Brandon Johnson, Demetrius Bronson, Etc along with Jake Locker and Ronnie Fouch with Dominique Blackman and Luther Leonard backing them up. There will be plenty of talent and experience on that '09 team.

Posted by Craig

3:01 PM, May 24, 2008

I have heard that out of all division 1 schools, there are only 3 remaining that have yet to schedule a Div II opponent: USC, ND, and UW. I think that alone speaks volumes about the pride and expectations here.

Posted by Gabe

3:16 PM, May 24, 2008

Even though I have yet ot reach for a beer today, I still find Chris Miller's points very compelling. I hope these young guys are working out hard this summer because that Aug 30 date is going to sneak up on them faster than they know. Be nice to go into Autzen in better shape than the Ducks for once. Last year the defense didn't seem to have much stamina at times, particularly at Hawaii. This year they need to jump on the Ducks on their own pond. And, also, Troy Must Be Destroyed.

Posted by Formerly Guest

3:34 PM, May 24, 2008

I think the lack of depth cannot be underestimated as a primary factor contributing to our defense's lack of depth last year.

I hate to publicly discuss a current UW employee's future replacement, shoult that employee falter down the stretch and get terminated, leaving us coachless next december. In fact, I really hope that this isn't the sort of conversation my own work colleagues have about me at the lunch table when I am in the washroom.

But I like your idea of going for the top HS coach on the West Coast. Who would that be? Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei, De LaSalle, our own Bellevue Wolverines? Interesting idea...

Posted by Jordan

3:50 PM, May 24, 2008


You said exactly what I was going to. If we aren't ready in year 5 then we are never going to be. We should be playing a good team every year in non conference. You probably will not be in the national spotlight on the west coast unless you are playing a difficult schedule, have a heisman trophy candidate, or are USC. With LSU on the schedule we will have atleast one nationally televised game with a heisman trophy candidate on our team at quarterback.

Great point Jed. I was going to say the same thing to wheatus. If you think going into Lincoln and beating Nebraska was an easy schedule in 91' you no nothing about football. That was probably the second hardest place to play in 91'(only to Husky Stadium). This was not a Nebraska team of 2005-2007. This was a Tom Osbourne team that was darn good. I bet you if Miami played them in Lincoln instead of the orange bowl they would have lost that game. No one and I mean no one wanted to play Nebraska in their house.

This had absolutely nothing to do with Bradly Roussel. The Athletic Dept is not scheduling this game so a a guy who is probably going to be a back up gets to go home and play. Besides being a great game that will generate money, be on national tv, and have recruits looking at UW, this will be Jake Locker's chance to show the country why he should win the Heisman. I can see Corso and Herbstreit right now out in the E-1 parking lot saying Locker is a great talent but he has never seen a defense as good as an SEC defense. And when we win this game guess who will suddenly be the favorite for the Heisman?

Posted by Gabe

4:43 PM, May 24, 2008

Formerly G,

Your point about lack of depth on the defense contributing to apparent lack of stamina makes a lot of sense. It also means some of the individual players like Gunheim and Reffett might be a good deal better than performance indicated and they may yet have a future in the NFL. I hope that is true beccause they certainly put everything they had into the game as Huskies.

As to high school coaches, I know nothing about them except logic suggests there must be some real football geniuses out there and trying to find them and promote them is an intriguing idea. Other folks can put meat on the bones of this idea if they like, though it isn't something that will happen soon so long as TW does okay next season. Also, I would give TW credit for bringing in an outstanding h.s. coach to coach the young running backs. That's a critical position. TW made a tough call there and stuck his neck out, and let's hope it works out for the better.

Troy Must Be Destroyed.

Posted by Long Beach Husky

6:02 PM, May 24, 2008

Gabe – for those of us living in So Cal, it is great to see someone calling out the real enemy. The way you close out each message should help remind everyone on the blog what it is going to take to climb back to the top of the Pac.

“Troy Must Be Destroyed”, and the Huskies are the team to do it!


Posted by PHusky

7:58 PM, May 24, 2008

The updated 2008 power rankings produced by Rivals lists Jake Locker at number 9:

Posted by Royal

10:59 AM, May 25, 2008

.In Division I college football.

"The best teams DO NOT play the toughest schedules"

This is not rocket science.

Posted by azumah

12:30 PM, May 25, 2008

Wheatus, you are correct about our OOC schedule the year we won the share of the national championship. It's worth noting, though, that we didn't intend to play Toledo. That opponent was originally going to be Florida State, and they backed out of it leaving us scrambling for an opponent. Since Pinkel had just left to coach Toledo, we were able to get an easy matchup. That would have left us with an OOC schedule of Nebraska, Florida State, and Snyder's upstart Kansas State team.

Posted by sylvrDAWG

4:09 PM, May 25, 2008

I respect your view, let's play the best. No need to back up or back down. Lot's of tail kick'n coming, then let's give it or get it if we are not good enough.
Never liked playing patsies and advocate UW play the best to be the best.
Just cuz TW can't handle it does not mean the players aren't up to it. So let's let'm play and find out.

Posted by Ducks 45 Dawgs 13

10:01 PM, May 25, 2008

Seriously, quit being so weak and embrace the opportunity to beat a SEC team. All we ever hear is how great the SEC is. If a weak UW team can beat them then it will send a message across the nation about the strength of the Pac 10. Seize the day and quit whining! And to answer your question, the Ducks have home and homes with Tennessee and Georgia in the future.

Posted by Huksy19

4:01 PM, May 27, 2008

In my opinion, a tough schedule is always a good thing.

Look at UH this past year, they played a couple I-AA teams and their best opponent was literally a 4-8 UW team. Yes, they made it to a BCS game but took so much heat since most everyone in the US agreed that UH didn't deserve to be there. Then what happens, they get smashed! ND got smashed by Lsu and ND got smashed by OSU in back to back BCS games because they didn't belong in that BCS bowl game.

If UW can navigate successfully through any of their schedules, they will be a formidable bowl opponent and always in the race for a National Championship.

Let's continue to schedule tough and set our goal at winning our games while playing the "other" elite teams. When a National Championship opportunity comes up, there will be no questions.

Let's not shy away from tough opponents. I like 1 tough opponent, 1 medium and 1 soft. This year it may be tough but it will make the kids better. Plus who wouldn't want to play for a team that plays in big games!

Posted by Husky19

4:03 PM, May 27, 2008

Plus if we had a cupcake schedule, all you Husky fans would complain that it was too easy and we don't get any respect!

Posted by townbizness

7:56 PM, May 27, 2008

The past two years Ohio State, other than beating a Vince Youngless UT team, played cupcakes all the way to two National Championship games, and OSU alums were partying in Glendale, and Bourbon street. As a alum bring on all the cupcakes!! I am hoping for a 3rd place finish in the Pac-10 that way we can go to Vegas in Dec. I hope we don't go to El Paso again, the people are nice, but the city sucks...ah, it seems like just yesterday I was in LA watching Tui' putting a Rose in his Mouth, and that was in least when I went to school there we were competitive. I feel for all the kids in school now that have to put up with LOSINGHAM!!

Recent entries

May 27, 08 - 06:02 PM
Programming note

May 25, 08 - 10:18 AM
Jordan Polk wins Oregon state titles

May 24, 08 - 08:55 PM
Locker named Lindy's Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year

May 23, 08 - 04:55 PM
Examining the schedules

May 23, 08 - 12:38 PM
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