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

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June 13, 2008 2:52 PM

Another reason for scheduling LSU

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky assistant coach Dick Baird helped revive the debate this week over Washington's recent scheduling practices with this piece on (You need a subscription to read it, but I'm linking to it to acknowledge the impetus behind this discussion.)

Driving around doing some errands today, I then heard Dave "Softy'' Mahler at KJR-AM reference the Baird piece and weigh in with his own thoughts. Both think the Huskies shouldn't have scheduled LSU, instead getting in place a team that will be easier to beat.

UW officials point out that filling an opening this late isn't as easy as just picking your opponent, making a quick phone call and sealing the deal, and when the chance came to play a big-name like LSU, they grabbed it.

And they aren't alone in feeling that scheduling isn't quite as simple as it seems --- or even as it used to be.

USA Today had this story this week on how hard it is becoming for big-name teams to schedule "inferior'' opponents with smaller schools demanding more and more money and often pulling out of signed contracts.

That's exactly how UW ended up needing to find another game for 2009 in the first place, something I detailed in this post last month .

Originally, UW was to play Nevada and Illinois at home in 2009, along with a game at Notre Dame, a schedule that would have pretty much followed the old "A-B-C'' philosophy of scheduling one marquee game (at Notre Dame), one home game against a good team but one that in most years you should be able to beat (Illinois) and one relative gimme (Nevada --- and yes, I know what happened last time they played the Wolf Pack in Seattle, but for the sake of this argument, we're looking at the historical statures of the programs in question). But both Illinois and Nevada backed out of the games leaving UW scrambling to fill the holes.

So now in 2009 it's LSU and Idaho at home and at Notre Dame, a schedule that Baird, Mahler and others think is too tough for the Huskies right now. Maybe, though as I argued last month, there's something that should be applauded about trying to schedule tough games and giving the fans their money's worth (and I think most of the players would rather play those types of schedules, as well).

And here's another reason the Huskies may have decided to schedule LSU for 2009 that I haven't heard talked about much --- that it could help the effort to get $150 million in public money out of the state legislature for a renovation of Husky Stadium.

Part of UW's selling point in that quest will be the economic benefits to the region of Husky football games, especially contests against marquee non-conference teams that are likely to bring in a lot of fans.

I was reminded of that this week when I got an e-mail from the Seattle Sports Commission, a monthly newsletter it sends to media and others in the area (a group that I assume includes politicians).

This month's theme was the impact of sports organizations on the local economy and included this paragraph:

"The athletic department at the University of Washington plays an important role in the life of the school, driving exposure for the college and connecting alumni to their alma mater. The foundation of this department is the football team, which generates revenue that helps fund the balance of the sports programs. It also drives business in the region by hosting games against teams such as Ohio State University in 2007, which brought approximately 10,000 fans to Seattle and the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers who will visit in 2009. These games fill hotels and restaurants, generating economic impact in tax dollars that assists in funding police, fire departments, schools and other important services.''

That's exactly the message UW officials will be trying to peddle in Olympia next January when they try again to make a case for funds to renovate Husky Stadium. Another home game against a team like Idaho, obviously, isn't going to help that cause at all.

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Posted by teddy R

4:28 PM, Jun 13, 2008

The USA Today article seems to focus on the monetary aspect of scheduling conflicts. Was that an issue with Nevada and Illinois backing out on UW?

If not why did they break the deal up? Did they have to scramble as much as the Huskies to get someone to fill that void, because if they were able to get someone more beatable than LSU then it seems like UW should have been able to as well.

Posted by husky82

4:42 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Dick Baird has also said things on Dawgman like UW going to the Rose Bowl in 2009. Why wouldn't a team he says could win the Pac 10 not be able to play with LSU? Baird isn't a rational person but thats not news.

Posted by Gabe

4:44 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Good luck to Emmert & co. in trying to get the big bucks to rebuild a college sports venue when the economy is in a recession and the arrow is still pointing down, except on the gas pump and the inflation meter, which point up. We'll all be paying $5 per gallon to drive to games next fall, to say nothing of work, the grocery store, etc. Best of luck guys if you think you are going to get a big handout for college sports. You sure know how to pick your moments. Oh, and by the way, how do they plan to deal with everyone from outside the Greater Seattle area on that one? Such as folks from east of the mountains, as in Couger Land. UW no doubt has an expensive lobbyist, paid at public expense, who has all the answers. We will see. Perhaps TW can help by talking about how many more games he'll win in an improved stadium than in the existing one. That would be an interesting pitch to hear. What would really help, of course, is waiting a few seasons and going in with some big wins over national powerhouse teams like LSU and USC under their belts. To support this effort, it should be obvious now, if it wasn't before, that Troy Must Be Destroyed (ducks demolished)

Posted by MelloDawg

5:06 PM, Jun 13, 2008

It also helps when our team is so bad that Ohio St or LSU fans can count on UW fans selling their tickets to them on gameday, making it look like we drew 75,000 to the game.

When, of course, if you JUST kept the visiting school's alotment at the set amount, the stadium would be much less packed.

Posted by Formerly Guest

5:06 PM, Jun 13, 2008

When this all came up last fall, I heard people saying on KJR that the WSU athletic department annually covers part of their budget with state money similar to this county stadium sales taf money that the UW wants access to for a very finite period to raise less than half of its stadium cash.

But that was KJR. Consider the source. I would criticize Bob for listening and taking it seriously, but that would make me quite a big a** hypocrite.

But perhaps folks out there can confirm or dispell this rumor?

Posted by better duck

5:33 PM, Jun 13, 2008

oh...gabe must be gay

duckies win

Posted by eugene is boring and smells

7:29 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Hey ducks, Rose Bowl anytime soon?
Boom, outta here

Posted by onewoodwacker

7:44 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Not to take anything away from LSU this year (08), but they play EIGHT (8) Homes games and FOUR (4) road games. Next season it's split 6 & 6.

In 2008 they get:

Sat, Aug 30 Appalachian St. Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Sep 06 Troy Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Sep 13 North Texas Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Sep 20 Auburn * at Auburn, Ala.
Sat, Sep 27 Mississippi St. (HC) * Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Oct 11 Florida * at Gainesville, Fla.
Sat, Oct 18 South Carolina * at Columbia, S.C.
Sat, Oct 25 Georgia * Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Nov 01 Tulane Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Nov 08 Alabama * Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Nov 22 Ole Miss * Baton Rouge, La.
Fri, Nov 28 Arkansas * at Little Rock, Ark.

A shot at the National Championship game is handed to them with this schedule.

In 2009 they get:

Washington at Seattle, Wash.
Vanderbilt * Baton Rouge, La.
Houston Baton Rouge, La.
Mississippi State * at Starkville Ms
Georgia * at Athens, Ga.
Florida * Baton Rouge, La.
Auburn * Baton Rouge, La.
Tulane at New Orleans, La.
Southern Miss Baton Rouge, La.
Alabama * at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Ole Miss * at Oxford, Miss.
Arkansas * Baton Rouge, La.

Their other non-conference games are Houston, Tulane and Southern Miss. I believe they NEEDED to play us. The only worthy road games they have are Alabama and Georgia and if they hope for another shot at the big game Washington was the name they needed.

I don't see them getting their needed road win in Husky Stadium by the way. With so much on the line for them, practically NO experience playing road games in hostile stadiums, the Huskies will be MUCH improved and experienced; Washington wins this game. In 05' they lost at Georgia, in 06' they lost at Auburn and Florida, in 07' they lost at Kentucky and in 09' they will lose to Washington.o

Posted by naterob4

7:46 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Where are most Dawgs staying while in Eugene?? We are staying at the Phoenix inn suites, but I want to stay where theres gonna be alot of udub alumns staying as we can all roll to the game together..

Can people leave where there staying at, so we can all stay united!!!!

Posted by caineman

8:03 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Washington will get their money worth alright, while they are getting their ass kicked...
Maybe we should play someone like Wisconsin is... Cal Poly. Other teams seems to have easy schedules. Not Washington, we stink.. We don't go to bowl games and we come in last place. Wahington is stupid...

Posted by husky1225

10:11 PM, Jun 13, 2008

onewood: re LSU's 2009 schedule, you're missing the point. In 2008, they have to play Troy--a recent bowl team with a first round NFL draft choice. They scheduled us to replace Troy in 2009 in order to get an easier opponent in 2009, not a harder opponent. Duke, Vanderbilt, Baylor, and Stanford, our BCS peers, must not have been available for LSU.

Posted by Jordan

10:14 PM, Jun 13, 2008

Last Oregon Rose Bowl win:1917!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by BoiseTruth

6:01 AM, Jun 14, 2008

Is Locker a top 10 QB? Some good thoughts from Molly.

Posted by OneDawg

7:16 AM, Jun 14, 2008

you have one line in you newsletter that should have been shown to that worthless female AD that we had. "The foundation of this department is the football program" I feel that she is responsible for 90% of our current funding problems.

Posted by KelsoDuck

7:39 AM, Jun 14, 2008

Thanks for all the Oregon press, Husky fans. It's nice to know you're thinking of us.

Posted by eugene has too many hippies

8:23 AM, Jun 14, 2008

thinking of you duck fans as a**holes. how's that rose bowl coming along? national championship? wooo hooo, check us out we're oregon, we're smelly hippies or in-bred mountain people that have confederate flags on our cars. we have ugly uniforms, the most money in the world and can't win the big one, we're so awesome (in our own minds).

Posted by ayn

9:16 AM, Jun 14, 2008

The first step in re-establishing a winning tradition in a (temporarily) faltering program is establishing belief. First on the part of the staff, and then filtering down to the players.

Though our record was poor last year, I'd be willing to bet that the players received quite a confidence boost in being competitive last year because of having the toughest schedule in the country. This will bode well for this year.

Yes, being competitive is not the same as having a winning record, but I think that the recent (temporary) downturn of our program, from what has historically been a top national program, DEMANDS that we play against top talent, DEMANDS that we not be timid, DEMANDS that we embrace competing against the best in the country.

Of course this may cause two or three more losses this year and perhaps next, but I would submit that the Huskies will benefit far more from playing top-level teams to a close loss (or even a surprise win), than beating an Idaho or etc.

BELIEF, striving for the best, expecting victory but licking wounds and learning if defeated, that's what this storied program needs.

The talent is there. You can't convince me, despite recent records, that we have such sub-par talent on this team compared to, say, Oregon State for instance. It's belief and confidence that will bring this program around.

Ty is important in this, and his talents have been shown (though I admit a bit slowly for my liking) in cleaning up a downtrodden and dispirited program. Hey, I'm not a believer in the theory that Ty is necessarily the savior, that's obvious, but he has done some very good things for the long term health of the Huskies (absent some, at times, very poor in-game management). He trusted too much in Baer, for whatever personal or longevity reasons, and he has (and will continue to) pay the price for this if the team again has a losing record this year.
As a CEO, he had the right idea in trusting his assistants, just the wrong personnel - again his fault. If he doesn't produce wins, at the very least six this year, he deserves to go.

But now, forced or not, we have the new guys. The key this year will be in the new hires in our assistants. Donatell will be massive, and Gervais will put his stamp on the offense.

Posted by BoiseTruth

9:25 AM, Jun 14, 2008

Well said ayn.

Posted by old timer

10:17 AM, Jun 14, 2008

As far as scheduling goes, I'd rather watch a mid level team from the Big 10 or Big 12 than a smaller school. The history & tradition of former Rose Bowl foes & other Bowl teams is just more interesting & bound to attract more fans.

Posted by Kurosawa

10:17 AM, Jun 14, 2008

When everyone is trying to schedule down, if you're not willing to pay the price, you end up having to schedule up.

There's another possible reason, as well -- simple revenues. It is highly possible that one reason the Pac-10 went to nine conference games was because of the Pac-10/ESPN contract -- going to nine creates additional attractive match-ups that ESPN can pick up. Playing an LSU on national TV will produce a lot more revenue than playing Nevada. It is no secret that the Pac-10 has been at a disadvantage when it comes to TV coverage and bowl contracts.

There also are also a lot fewer bottom-feeders available to schedule on the west coast. There are only two non-BCS conferences out west (WAC and MWC), with a total of 18 non-BCS schools, compared to some 38 Div-1A schools from Texas to the east coast, plus many more 1AA schools as well.

Posted by UW Alum

11:13 AM, Jun 14, 2008

I know there's lots of fans on here that like the idea of playing LSU and that it could be big in rebuilding the program, etc. I understand that logic however, that being said, with the Pac 10 as brutal as it is these days (more difficult than our Rosebowl years) why play a brutal nonconference slate too?? We will already play a top 5 team (USC) in 2009 and numerous other ranked teams (Ariz st, cal, oregon, ucla), why play another top 5 team in LSU?? Nobody ever accuses the UW of playing an easy slate (this is the 2nd year in a row we will have what many consider the toughest schedule in the country). Getting your butt handed to you is not a way to build confidence in your players. We need to start small (bowl game) and work up (to a BCS bowl game) and once we are there then maybe play an Oklahoma or LSU. Nothing is gained if we open up with a loss to LSU in 2009 but should we be playing somebody like Fresno St or Nevada we'd have a nice chance to start 1-0 and try and build momentum. Keep in mind, next year is UW's best chance for a good bowl (we play USC, Oregon, Cal) all at home.

Posted by obama-bin laden

11:46 AM, Jun 14, 2008

softy is a flip'n moron. he doesn't know anything about Husky Football, he didn't even go to school at UW anyways, so really, who cares what that fat-bastard thinks.

As for scheduling, I think it's a defeatist attitude to assume we can't handle certain opponents. Just schedule it out and bring interesting and challenging opponents and if TY is as good as everyone wants us to believe, than we'll be okay. Plus, I feel you have to schedule some of these teams because the east coast doesn't care what we do, so if we want everyone to believe as Huskies do, that our football team/University deserves respect.....we have to go out and beat those teams/schools that the east coast readily gives praise annually.

People can disagree, but ultimately I think it's a good move all-around.

Posted by Gabe

12:07 PM, Jun 14, 2008

The schedule is what it is. Coaching has to step up now. The coaching is a multi-faceted and multi-layered system in which the people doing the real work are the ones who will have the real impact. This means the new assistants will have an immense role in how the team performs in the next few years, and they might well save their boss's rear end (and obscene paycheck) in the process. TW's most important role is picking good assistants, moreso than setting game day strategies or calling plays (of course). Recruiting is a close second. Actual coaching doesn't figure into the mix much as far as his performance goes. If he is a figure-head, and his subordinates do the heavy lifting and deep thinking, then that is fine and the way it shoud be. That's the way the rest of the world works too. Does anybody think Emmert really does anything of substance? No, he is a figure-head who presides over an immense bureaucracy (one that's growing larger and more calcified by the year). Same way with the coaches on a smaller scale. So if there is moderate success this year, Donatell and the others should get 51% of the credit minimum. (But they probably won't.) They are on a mission to demolish the quackers at Autzen, and they know better than anyone else hat Troy Must Be Destroyed.

Posted by ayn

1:45 PM, Jun 14, 2008

Thanks, BT.

UW Alum, I understand, and somewhat agree with your thinking. However, if UW is to stand tall and compete, it must do exactly that. I think that coddling these studs and milk-feeding them through some "easy" games is the wrong way to proceed. Provide the best (equipment, facilities coaches, give them back their pride, them watch them roll.

Of course, I admit that not all of the above has been done in the last few years, but it seems as if it has started now. If Ty turns out to not be the man, then so be it, but I recognize a quantum shift when I see it. It's now. If I'm wrong, I'll be sad but still hopeful.

Gabe, I agree. Coaching has to step up now. And I think it has/will. If reluctantly on Ty's part, o.k. , we'll see about him at the end of the year. But what will matter is BELIEF and CONFIDENCE. These guiding principles are now IN THE HOUSE.

Posted by MelloDawg

7:56 PM, Jun 14, 2008

Picking the right assistant IS important, I don't dispute that. The only problem is that it wasn't Ty's decision to get new ones. If it had been up to him, we'd still have Kent Baer running our defense and Bob Simmons our Special teams.

But, because he was pressured from above to change assistants, we now have Ed Donatell who has resurrected the defense, one which hasn't even played a snap yet.

Posted by Concerned

10:14 AM, Jun 15, 2008

I'm a black dude who will be coming down to Euegene in August? Is it safe for me and my family? How will they treat people of my skin color? Have they had any training in how to talk to me?

Posted by EugeneHospitality

10:22 AM, Jun 15, 2008

Welcome black friend!

You must try Papa's soul food kitchen down on Blair Boulevard while in Eugene.

Posted by badcleats

7:58 AM, Jun 18, 2008

I guess it boils down to two schools of thought. Play the tuff guys,or, make sure you can get some walk overs. I'm sure that's why USC gets so much respect, they take on all the tuff guys every year, and make no excuses. Most Husky people I've ever known, including myself, say, " we want the tuff guys". At a time when the football program is under extreme pressure to win again, and be consistent at it, makes it double tuff. It's really too late to worry about it this coming season, they already have the hardest schedule for 2008.

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