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

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June 10, 2008 3:01 PM

Steele says UW's schedule toughest in the nation

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of months ago when I ranked the Pac-10's schedules for the 2008 season in order of their difficulty, some of you chided me for not listing UW No. 1.

Looks like you guys have an ally in Phil Steele, whose rankings of the toughest schedules in the nation this season is now available on his website.

Steele rates UW's schedule this season --- consisting of home non-conference games against BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame and five Pac-10 road games --- as the most difficult in the country.

Steele gives a pretty lengthy explanation of his thought process in general (probably a little too lengthy, actually) but doesn't really go into detail about UW's schedule in particular. Mostly, he ranks the schedules based on how he has ranked their opponents this season and doesn't just look at won-loss record of a year ago (and he's definitely right there about putting too much weight on what happened a year ago).

Here's how he sees the Pac-10 in terms of difficulty of schedule:

1, Washington (1st in nation)
2, Oregon State (5th)
3, UCLA (6th)
4, Stanford (14th)
5, USC (21st)
6, Washington State (28th)
7, Oregon (33rd)
8, Cal (38th)
9, Arizona State (40th)
10, Arizona (57th)

To be accurate, I did my rankings solely on the basis of the non-conference schedule. I had USC --- which hosts Notre Dame and Ohio State and goes on the road to play Virginia --- No. 1, with the Huskies No. 2. It's admittedly a tough call --- I basically put USC first since it has to go on the road once while UW is home for all of its non-conference games but I don't argue that BYU is a better team than Virginia (the other two games in the non-conference slates for the two teams are a wash).

But no doubt that including all games gives UW a tougher schedule than the Trojans. USC's conference schedule, in fact, is pretty favorable, despite having five games on the road. USC will host Oregon, Arizona State and Cal --- usually regarded as teams 2-4 in the conference this year --- as well as UW, while going on the road to play the other five teams, most of whom are generally considered to finish near the bottom.

UW's conference schedule may be as difficult as anybody's as the Huskies go to USC, Cal, Oregon --- all generally being picked to be three of the top four teams in the conference this year --- as well as Arizona and Washington State while hosting ASU, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State.

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Posted by TurbineSeaplane

4:20 PM, Jun 10, 2008


At least all the Ty Lovers now have an excuse if we tank this year...


Posted by jh

4:30 PM, Jun 10, 2008

...without the "strength of schedule" component in the BCS computer rankings...what's the advantage in playing tough teams? you can get players hurt?...

Posted by K Dub

4:41 PM, Jun 10, 2008


If you think that is an "excuse," what do you think is a reasonable expectation for this season given the fact that the schedule is, in fact, extremely difficult and that FACT that the majority of the starters on this team are RS Freshman/Sophmores???

Should they win the National Championship? Not too many PAC 10 teams would do well with both of these FACTS stacked against it.

Posted by SnohomishRick

4:56 PM, Jun 10, 2008

Hey jh, maybe charlie can win four games this year with the 67th toughest schedule and all those great recruits.

How many wins does charlie have to have to keep his job jh?

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

5:10 PM, Jun 10, 2008

@K Dub:

I was merely stating that it'll be nice for the Ty Lovers to have an excuse all lined up in advance.

75% of our schedule is Pac 10 games. Some on the road, some at home. It flip flops each year.

Sure...we are at USC and at Oregon, but conversely, we get ASU, OSU, UCLA all at home.

For the 25% of the schedule that's non-conference:
Oklahoma is tough, probably a loss, but at least it's at home. BYU is easier, but still a good team, but again, we get them at home and anything can happen. Finally, Notre Dame. We should win that game considering it's at home and how they were last year.

My point is one that's been made REPEATEDLY.

We play in the Pac 10. Period. I'm so sick of hearing schedule excuses. This is how it is folks. The league is good and it's not going back to how it was anytime soon.

Also, aren't we all getting tired of hearing how it's RS Freshman/Sophomores starting each year?

Why are we in that predicament each year? Why isn't our coaching staff putting together classes that have someone who's a Junior or Senior that can compete for and EARN the starting job?

This is Ty's 4th year, right?

Posted by acwai

5:11 PM, Jun 10, 2008

UW's schedule is ranked toughest partly due to lower ranking of UW, which makes UW an underdog to almost all the teams.

USC's schedule will be ranked easier than UW even if USC plays the same non-conference teams as UW. USC is ranked higher, therefore, it is favored to win all the games.

Posted by Jordan

5:16 PM, Jun 10, 2008

Not sure that about that logic nor that that is what people like Steele and Bob used.

Posted by Jordan

5:21 PM, Jun 10, 2008

Ty needs 7 wins to definitely save his job. And six wins and a bowl berth should probably also save his job. Anything less, and he needs to go. Forget the schedule. There's no more excuses. It doesn't matter how close the losses are or what injuries we may have (except if Jake gets hurt) or the schedule being tough. HE NEEDS TO WIN NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jordan

5:22 PM, Jun 10, 2008


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

Posted by Gabe

5:39 PM, Jun 10, 2008

That's pretty tough two years in a row. Look out for the dawgs in '09 though. They will have been greatly tested and be stronger for the experience. Tough schedule is just another reason why Troy Must Be Destroyed (and ducks demolished).

Posted by mutt

6:43 PM, Jun 10, 2008

I think I smell a TW skunk in the closet, if the dogs were playing girl teams, we'd still hear the same crap. Hell why play the games, the toughest schedule in the history of again.....have mercy lord, other schools just get play wimps.

Posted by Fill Nite

7:14 PM, Jun 10, 2008

It is going to be a tough economy for TW to sell his house. I amend my earlier 8/30 projection. Huskies won't be back in 10th place now until 10:30 because of start time change.

Posted by Blue

7:59 PM, Jun 10, 2008

USC and UW have similar schedules, sure, but they don’t get to play themselves. They play each other. That’s one “easy” game on the schedule of one team and an additional “hard” game for the other (and anyone else for that matter). Pretty simple.

And speaking of USC, shouldn’t we be glad to not play them at home? I’m sure this sounds like defeatism, but why waste a home game (that could provide an edge that gives us a win in a closer contest) on a team you’ll almost surely lose to regardless of location?

Posted by truck72

8:46 PM, Jun 10, 2008


Posted by Southside Johnny

9:04 PM, Jun 10, 2008

Turbine, let's not forget how tough that WSU team was last year. And that Arizona team that we blew a huge lead against, well, they were real tough too. And that 0-10 Stanford team that blew us out at Husky Stadium in 2006. Never seen a tougher team than that. Poor Tyrone. How could he be expected to win games like those?

Yes, this is Ty's 4th year, but he has spent the first 3 years laughing at the amount of money the UW is willing to spend on a below average coach.

I have to laugh when I hear that the new AD needs to be in place soon so that they can evaluate the football program under Tyrone.

That evaluation could be started and completed in the amount of time it takes to take a leak. FAILURE.

Posted by BoiseTruth

11:50 PM, Jun 10, 2008

You mentioned that you liked Bill Moos for Commish - any particular reasons why? Thanks

Posted by

6:12 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Blue, maybe you didnt see the USC Husky game at Husky stadium last year. We almost beat them, and I think the crowd played a huge part, that place was roaring.

Posted by dawg4life

6:44 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Turbine....I've always thought of you as falling in the same group as jh, mello and many others here....simply uninformed. I now begin to think you may also be a bit dull as well.

The expectations from Mr. Emmert are fairly clear, don't you think? Those who wish for Ty, and in turn the football program, to succeed dare in no need of excuses.

jh, can your comments here become more irrelevant?

Posted by tonedef

7:19 AM, Jun 11, 2008

what was willingham thinking? a coach on the hot seat scheduling the most difficult schedule....

sure way to lose a bunch of games and make any winnable games 'must wins'. I imagine if he beats an oklahoma or BYU that'll be seen as a better win than against arizona or WSU- but I assume he still need to win 6- even if he's playing a super-tough schedule. if he wins 5, but say beats oregon on the road and oklahoma (only dream)- better wins than anything he's had the entire time he's been here- will the admin.-keep him?

anyway- if anyone will be so kind to speculate on these two questions-

1. what was willingham's logic? How did he think that this would serve him well?

2. would a couple quality wins enable him to have one more year with 5 victories?

Posted by Green Lake Snake

7:51 AM, Jun 11, 2008

ToneDef, Willingham is not really the one who puts the schedules together. He has some input, but this schedule was probably done years ago. So blame Hedges or Turner more than Willingham.

I'd say anything less than 6 wins and he is a goner, unless there are some real extraordinary circumstances. Remember, the new AD will want to set a new course for this football program, and Tyrone isn't known for setting new courses.

Posted by BoiseTruth

8:21 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Rivals Countdown: UW #51.
WSU #76 - Stanford #72 - Arizona #62

Posted by caldawg

8:29 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Who cares what the schedule is. Go out and play the games have fun and get some wins.

I am wondering. Typically the predictions always put a lot of weight on QB experience. Oregon doesn't have a proven QB. They struggled without Dixon. So why are the folks making the predictions picking the ducks in the top half of the PAC. That goes against conventional wisdom for these clowns. On the last day of August the ducks will be in the PAC cellar and the Dawgs will be on top. At least for a week.

Posted by Bob Condotta

8:53 AM, Jun 11, 2008

CalDawg --- I think part of the thinking is that Oregon scored 87 points in its last two games against bowl teams last year withou Dixon (OSU and South Florida) and that they have so much else back that they will be able to make up for a little fall off there.

Posted by kirkland wisdom

8:58 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Oregon struggled without Dixon, but only for two games. They had to go to their 6th string guy. They wound up beating up on South Florida in the bowl game...

This time around, they have a stable of guys killing themselves for the starting position, so while they might be a year away still, they should have someone under center that has some confidence.


Posted by Jordan

9:00 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Yeah but Oregon loses Stewart. And it could be argued and I believe that having to account for him on the field took a tremendous amount of pressure off of the quarterbacks in their final games. Anytime you lose a first round pick you're going to feel it. Oklahoma did. USC did. And so will Oregon. In fact, I think a lot more because they don't have 5 running backs who could start.

Posted by jh

9:03 AM, Jun 11, 2008

...I hear that ND had the 5th most difficult schedule in the nation until they factored in willingham's team...then they fell to 67th...

Posted by Jordan

9:08 AM, Jun 11, 2008

One other thing. Why are there so many people on here that are ready to give teams victories like USC. I don't know if they watched the game last year but we took the #1 team in the nation to the final five minutes of the game. And we had a very legit chance of winning. If Anthony Russo doesn't get the ball stripped from him, we get the ball at the forty and we're driving to win the game. (And yes it was Anthony Russo not Tyrone Willingham who got the ball stripped) I think there are a lot of people who forget that one of the things that makes college football great is the upsets and it would be a mistake to think that UW can't beat USC. Of course they can. (and we almost did the year before last at USC) I am not ready to anoint USC, or Oklahoma, and certainly not Oregon the winner of anything. Let's play the game.

Posted by Kirkland Wisdom

9:20 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Jordan: Stewart was a beast, no doubt. But that Jerimiah Johnson, and more importantly that Blount guy will pick up where Stewart left off. Haven't you seen the writeup of that guy on ESPN.COM? Supposedly a monster. He was the #1 rated JC running back...whatever that means.

Posted by jh

9:27 AM, Jun 11, 2008

...maybe, instead of a straightforward W-L record, we should expand this pesky notation of good/bad coaches for the benefit of willingham... about W - Lbut - Lpete - Lty - L (e.g., Won - Loss, but halfback dropped the ball - Loss, but it was against a good team - Loss, but the coach is a nice guy - and Loss...

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

9:30 AM, Jun 11, 2008


Do you have anything factually interesting to add or are you just throwing cheap shots because you don't like what others are saying?

Posted by Jordan

9:36 AM, Jun 11, 2008

I understand what you are saying. But Johnson is coming off of a serious injury and he is a good running back but certainly not in Stewart's league. As far as Blount you well could be right. I guess we'll see on Aug 30. I guess my point would be that I will reserve judgment until I see him in a game. A lot of people look good in practice. And I am certainly not going to take someone from ESPN's word for it who probably couldn't find the Pacific Northwest on a map.

Posted by Jordan

9:39 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Forgot to add that maybe the reason Blount looks so good in practice is he is going against Oregon's D-line. And I also forgot to add: last Oregon Rose Bowl victory 1917!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by caldawg

10:07 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Very typical of many of these people making predictions, they pick and choose what they will credibility to and what they won't to make an agruement. Actually we all probably do that. But if you apply the same theories across all teams, Oregon has a lot of unknowns, as do the Huskies. But in the PAC 10, maybe more then any league QB experience rules. We have that edge over the ducks. Historically that would be a difference maker when picking wins. JJ is coming off an injury so who knows. This Blont guy has been good in practice and against JC competition. Same can be said for Polk and trio of young UW receivers. They get home fiedl advantage. We get Jake. I am glad we are playing them first game. I think it gives us a bit of an edge in a close game which I believe this is. Both teams have a lot to prove. But we have Jake. Victory goes to Dawgs.

Posted by cougarfan

10:08 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Prediction for the BYU game.
-BYU's traditionally great run defense will slow the run game down enough to force UW into a passing game. (only allowed one 100 yard rusher last year)
-Locker will never get enough time to throw effectively thanks to Jan Jorgeson (top ten in sacks in the nation in 2007, 14)
-On the other side you've got one of the most potent offenses in the nation lining up against what was one of the worst defenses last year. That's a tough match up for UW and it will take a lot to slow the cougs down. Barring a miraculous turn around in the off season BYU's gonna steam roll the defense (via O-line that averages around 320 lbs per person).
-Luckily its a home game for the huskies, but its still going to be a sound victory for the cougs, who unless they stumble against Utah or TCU will march into a BCS Bowl game come January.

Posted by caldawg

10:27 AM, Jun 11, 2008

Sorry cougfan, this isn't the same Huskies we saw last year. They are going to play 60 minutes with passion. The D will be vastly improved. Not hard to accomplish given last year's D. Remember you are coming to Husky Stadium and this isn't the WAC. And the fat boys will be sucking wind half way through the 3rd Q, which is about how long they will stay on the field with the Dawgs.

Posted by jh

10:52 AM, Jun 11, 2008

..."Sorry cougfan, this isn't the same Huskies we saw last year."...

...yea...the best players recruited over the last five years just graduated...and this year's seniors...rated/ranked 66th in the nation ( luck with the most difficult schedule in the nation...Todd Turner did leave a legacy, didn't he...

Posted by Reality Check

10:59 AM, Jun 11, 2008

I've been slammed for posting this opinion before, but I think UW should be scheduling an easy OOC schedule. At a time when the program is rebuilding, we should not be playing Oklahoma, LSU, Ohio State, etc. It's just stupid. I'd rather watch a good game against a Fresno State than a 95% likely loss to a national title contender. Please swallow your pride and realize we're not a top 10 program right now. Scheduling these games may look good from a "we'll play anyone" standpoint. But at the end of the year, a loss is a loss. And a win over Idaho is always going to be better than a loss to Oklahoma.

And even in the best of times, I think we should follow the Don James model of scheduling:
* one very easy game
* one game you should certainly win, but it might be a little tougher
* one game that could be a coin flip or where UW might even be an underdog (a historically good team)

I find the current scheduling to be incredibly frustrating. At a time when we are struggling to win ANY games, we've got 2 national title contenders and a road game at Oregon to start the season. Just brilliant. At least next year we get to start off against LSU.
Having said this, regardless of the schedule, Ty needs to win 6 or more to keep his job. Period. I don't care if UW gets even more stupid and swaps out wazzu, Stanford, and Arizona for the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. Tough schedule or not, Ty needs to put up wins this year or he needs to leave.

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

11:21 AM, Jun 11, 2008

@Reality Check:

I totally agree with you.

It seems that the real problem is how far out the schedules are made.

Both our own team and other teams are fluctuating so much from being great to bad to good back to bad, etc that you don't know what you're getting when the year finally comes.

Who knew BYU would be so good or that ND would be so bad?

Based on when the schedule was made, you could argue that we DID follow the Don James model.

Good: Oklahoma
Medium (at least expected to be): Notre Dame
Not so Great (at least expected, especially given that it's a WAC team): BYU.

It just hasn't worked out that way.

In terms of next year, it seems a bit "stiff" to me too.

Posted by onewoodwacker

1:42 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Kirkland Wisdom:

We have a little insight as to what it can mean getting the #1 JC Running Back in the nation - Remember Corey Dillion?

Posted by HMFD 82

2:47 PM, Jun 11, 2008

BYU is from the Mountain West Conference (MWC), not the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Not trying to be an A-hole, just wanted to clarify it.

Posted by KEN

1:29 PM, Jun 13, 2008



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