Losers deserve respect. Without them, Nebraska’s
Cornhucksters would have no schedule. Eastern, Western,
Southern, Central, Lower and Upper Michigans would have no way
to fund their sports programs. Troy State (who?) financed a
good chunk of its athletic budget by sending eleven poor sods
to Lincoln in September to bend over for a 56-0 pasting by the
Big Red. Nebraska charged admission for this. Big Red fans
The Sage has tried to understand the allure baseball has
over the great US of A. After all, we are a society of doers
and thinkers. Baseball makes us sitters and drinkers. Baseball
players then are combinations of the sitters and drinkers that
want to be the doers but don’t have the life skills most of us
have – like for cutting grass. Running around on a lush grass
surface that one doesn’t have mow is simply Nirvana. And, if
you can solidly connect wood with cowhide one time in three
turns, you will never have to do your own yard work again.
The Sage has figured out why there are so many sportswriters. Writing about sports doesn’t require any knowledge or experience and it makes it possible to expense that 42 inch flat screen TV as a business expense. The Sage’s beautiful wife – SBW – still hasn’t bought this argument, but he’s working on it. The Sage’s Creative Accountant – SCA – is also looking into ways to expense the beer. (A tax deductible purchase doesn’t make anything cheaper, it only justifies buying it.)
Anticipating possible losses and wipe out games has the Sage looking right past the 4th of July into the Autumn. There are so many smears and creamings just waiting to happen! There are also some real possibilities for dashing the hopes of so many over-dedicated fans out there.
Scheduling is an art form. Some schools have refined this craft to guarantee their fans a solid preseason before entering into conference play. A solid preseason schedule, though makes for really boring football. And some schools really screw this scheduling stuff up. The University of Colorado Beanalos brought in Division II Montana State last year with the expectation that it would be slightly better than an intrasquad scrimmage. But ‘voila!’ the Beefalos turned tail and were handed an opening day loss at home to a Division II school! The Sage rejoiced in all the grousing and complaining from alums and Colorado sports whiners. It brought enough joy to last the season.
In that spirit, here are the FirstWorst of college football scheduling for 2007.
The Corndogs have earned this. For decades they opened the season with ridiculous games against schools that don’t’ even show up in matching uniforms.
But what in the world was the administration thinking in 2007? The schedulers really fouled up by allowing powerhouse USC into Memorial Stadium on September 15 for a nationally televised game. This game comes before the annual bending-over bowl against this year’s foe Ball State. The usual powder puff schedule has been severely violated by including the Trojans. It also calls into question what the USC staff was thinking when they scheduled this game. Lincoln in September? (Interestingly, the USC schedulers lined up a patsy of their own in Idaho State and then face the usual plethora of conference football losers) The seniors are asking why couldn’t they play Hawaii? Or even one of the Florida schools? The Sage is calling the USC game for the Trojans, so don’t be anywhere on I-80 around Lincoln after the final gun. Big and Red fans will be looking for real ones!
The Cornhosers also scheduled in Wake Forest in what they surely expected to be a patsy game when the schedule makers thought they were working. But dumb luck has the ol Deacons coming in as defending ACC champs! The Sage is positively drooling over possible consecutive Nebraska losses to Wake Forest and USC before the Big 12 season even starts! The Sage’s Rosary is getting a workout.
The Cornheisters also lost to themselves 38-0 in the spring game, with the white team coming out on the short end of this stick. The Red team scored all its points by the end of Q2. Everyone went out for beer while the clock ran without stopping in the 2nd half. Who says Nebraskans aren’t smart? The White team should have just played itself, while the Red team could have taken on Florida dressed up as the White team. Now that would have been interesting.
If the ‘Nowledge’ boys want to have a scrimmage, just do it! Do they have to televise this? And how can a spring game be that lopsided? The Sage prays that no one charged admission for this. The school can’t even put an entertaining game on the field when it plays itself. The most amazing thing about this self flagellation is that over 54,000 Big and Red Fans (BaRFs) showed up to the stadium to watch! Are people that hurting to get off the farm for an afternoon?
The Big and Red schedule makers seem to want to include one tough game before beating up on the Big 12 North, but the Sage can hear the alumni howl now if Nebraska sends out the White team to face the boys from So. Cal. But not to worry, the schedule makers for 08 have brought in New Mexico State and San Jose State and the Western part of Michigan University for three season opening thrillers. (Virginia Tech is in this mix, too, so stay tuned!)
When the football web page leads with a story of player’s academic achievement, you know the program is in the dumper. The Blew it Devils of Duke boast a graduation rate of 90% in 2007… wow… that is certainly positive news. Unfortunately, most of these guys were starters from Dukes championship 0 and 12 season last year. With their stellar recruiting year delivered by a newly hired coach Ted Roof, Duke should enjoy another splendid season.
Roof only found his way to Durham just before Christmas time. Among his credentials were wins over GA Tech and NC in 2003 as acting Duke head coach. The Sage will have to look at the record books, but these may have been among the last wins recorded by the school. By arriving after the season was finished and while recruiting was nearly complete, Roof has properly set the expectations for Duke fans in 2007 – no wins before Christmas!
In one of 2007s egghead bowls, Duke has scheduled in Northwestern for a season opening game. However, the blues haven’t defeated the Evanston boys in the last five tries. The Sage is calling this one a blowout for the purples. In a closer game, the Blue Devil Defense defeated the Blue Devil Offense in the Spring game. The Sage is trying to understand how this is possible. Did the defense really score more points than the offense? Maybe Duke should give up possession every series and do nothing but play defense.
The Blue Devils need to take some serious lessons in scheduling from Nebraska. After a flawless 0-12 season, they even allowed Notre Dame onto their schedule. This is sure to be yet another incredible rout! The Sage hopes to have the big screen TV tuned in for this one. Duke needs to remember that Northeast Louisiana and the four corners of Michigan schools need games too!
In addition to accommodating Northwestern and Notre Dame, the Bleu Cheese Devils have to go up against the usual conference schools. The best hope for the Devils this year come in games against Connecticut and Navy. Personally, the Sage is rooting for Duke to repeat as national champions of the FirstWorst College Football Poll, so should Connecticut and Navy prevail, the Devils have a solid shot at repeating. Granted, the baby-blue clad North Carolina Tar Heels could upset Duke by losing, but that seems a long shot.
Head Coach Mark Mangino could anchor the defensive line all by himself if he had any eligibility left. The Sage can see how he motivates players. If he gets angry on the sidelines, it would be much safer on the field getting whacked by Texas or OU.
The Jayhawks at least have the concept of scheduling down. With opening games against SE Louisiana, Toledo, Florida International and Central Michigan, they might sell a few tickets. Fans might even get a win.
The big story this week in Jhawkland was the naming of Aquib Talib to preseason All American status – by Playboy Magazine. The Sage isn’t sure, but thinks that the Playboy sports department has it’s mind elsewhere. Congrats none the less to Talib. If nothing else, he has provided solid cover for 18 year olds to acquire copies of the football edition of the worlds leading skin mag. It’s always about the articles anyway.
4. New Mexico State:
One has to be careful about making fun of schools like New Mexico State. They do have cool uniforms, but understanding how any coaching staff could recruit a top candidate to Las Cruces escapes the Sage's understanding. Perhaps that is why the school enlisted it's cheerleaders to travel the state of New Mexico to "visit" with Aggie Recruits and Alums. Perhaps the cheerleaders can succeed where coaches fail. And why is the school moniker the Aggies? The only things that grow in Las Cruces are rocks.
There just isn't much the Aggies can do to improve their schedule. The school has a real shot at a top tier finish in the FirstWorst Futility Rankings for 2007. The Aggies have scheduled in such powerhouses as Southeast Louisiana and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Failure against either of those schools will have 'em in the running for #1!
5. New Mexico:
It isn't often that a single state can boast two really weird football programs at it's major schools. But 2007 brings us to the University of New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos had the nerve to schedule in Brigham Young as it's Homecoming game. Some years ago, Kansas State had the privilege of being scheduled on the road for some five homecoming games - and was true to form in losing them all. Other than Air Force or TCU, the Lobos scheduled in the only remaining quality team on their schedule for Homecoming. A decent team should go 9-3 with this schedule. TCU, BYU and Air Force can offer some competition, but the rest of the schedule is fluff! (The Sage wouldn't be surprised to learn that Nebraska has been trying to replace USC with the Lobos for it's September 15 date in Lincoln.)
6. Kansas State:
The Sage is getting a lot of mileage out of states with two major universities. This year, the Mildcats begin the season by playing at Auburn! Any midwestern school that starts its season on the road against a major southern school should have it's collective head examined. Unless you are Penn State or Ohio State, don't go into Dixie without a winning record!
At least K-State wrote San Jose State into their schedule for week two. However, if the Wildycats kick of the season in the cellar at 0-2, they could be headed straight for a top ten finish in the FirstWorst Futility Rankings.