First of all, for those clamoring for the updated 2009 schedule to be posted on the site, scroll down and check out the right side. You're welcome!
So ESPN won't shut up about non-conference schedule this and non-conference schedule that this week. And if there's anything the Worldwide Leader does well, it's take a topic and run it into the ever-loving ground until you never want to speak of it again (Hi Brett Favre). That said I've enjoted reading Brian Bennet's ideas on the topic, including "how to build the ideal Big East schedule." The Big East's OOC scheduling is a different animal than the rest of the BCS given that we have to fill five slots instead of the usual three. According to Brian, here's the key ingredients:
- 1 FCS opponent
- 1 in-state/regional mid-major
- 1 decent mid-major
- 2 BCS teams
Seems fair enough. You don't need this checklist to know that the Orange overextended themselves this season, scheduling three Big Ten teams that went to bowls last year to kick off the season. Not the kind of start to a season you want, especially when you're in the position the Orange are in.
There is however some good news on the horizon. If the Orange can survive this season and eek out at least 3-4 wins, they'll put themselves in great position for next year. That's because the 2010 schedule is just about perfect.
An FCS opponent? Check, we've got Maine again.
1 in-state/regional mid-major? Eh, not yet. Our propensity for scheduling BCS teams still gets the better of us here. Expect Army to take this spot soon.
1 decent mid-major? Kinda. The Orange travel to Akron, who is more on the mediocre side. But believe me, that's fine by us.
2 BCS teams? We've got three. But it's a pretty perfect three. First, we get Washington a.k.a. Syracuse West. The Huskies shouldn't be that much further ahead than us by then, making it a very winnable game. Next, old rival Boston College. Even though they left the conference, they should still be on our schedule all the time (and will be as of 2013). Finally, Virginia Tech. Another rival we have great history with and a game that gives us much-needed exposure in the the Virginia/D.C. area. The Hokies are a very good team but we get them at home, for what it's worth.
If the Orange improve even slightly and recruit well, this is a schedule that the Orange can parlay into a bowl game.
Alas, there is some bad news. As well as the Orange have set up their schedule for 2010, the complete opposite can be said of 2011. Sure, Rhode Island takes over as FCS team du jour. And Toledo is tentatively the mid-major included. But the BCS teams on our schedule should strike the fear of God into you. Wake Forest, who is on the verge of becoming an ACC power comes-a-callin'. Then we have to travel to Blacksburg and play Virginia Tech, which is never easy. And of course...the cross-country trip to mega-power USC. (And there's a chance that Toledo could be pushed out here and replaced by Notre Dame, which would either be a road game or a neutral-site game in NJ).
All I know is, the Orange better take advantage of 2010 as much as they can. The margin for error in 2011 will be nonexistent.