Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Doing Herm Frazier's job

Going forward this is how SU should schedule:

One 1AA/FCS team

This should be Colgate every year. Out of all the 1AA schools out there this will get the most fan interest and even a few Colgate fans showing up in the Dome. By 2016 they will count toward Bowl eligibility (maybe even by 2015) as they now give out scholarships. Nova has been rumored for the 2014 schedule, if not I would add Albany if they are eligible. Same thing in 2015, if Colgate is not eligible yet take Albany or if need be Wagner. Also if possible we should schedule the Colgate game for the first weekend of October every year. Why? Because they are the perfect opponent for homecoming (which will also help attendance). In addition maybe Colgate would be open to having their homecoming the same weekend (again helping attendance). They are close enough and it would be a bigger event than a home game vs a 1AA team. So it would be a dual/duel homecoming game, the first of its kind. If SU plays Colgate every year starting in 2015 then SU will have only played Pitt more (by 3 games). For Colgate they have only played Cornell and Holy Cross more.

Two non Big 5 teams

With 8 difficult ACC games it is important that SU has three cupcakes to ensure a Bowl game. SU could have a pretty decent squad and still end up 3-5 in the ACC. Playing two Big 5 schools OOC leaves zero margin for error. SU isn't in the Big East anymore, where it had to schedule OOC to stay relevant. So who are the best schools to play? Simple, schools located in areas SU recruits. These would be the following:

Akron and Kent St- they help to recruit Cleveland area high schools. SU can do a 2 for 1 series so that families from this area can have easy travel in Ohio and to Pittsburgh every other year.

Ohio- they help to recruit Columbus area high schools. Families can make trips to Pittsburgh and Louisville every other year.

Miami OH- they help to recruit Cincinnati area high schools. Families can make trips to Louisville every other year.

FAU and FIU- they help to recruit Miami area high schools. These schools are important to play as SU does not play in the Miami area often enough. As of now it will be once in 12 seasons. Should the ACC go to 9 conference games it would still be once in 6 years.

Georgia State- they help recruit in Georgia, where just like in Miami we do not play often enough. Clemson is not far from Northern Georgia/Atlanta but having Georgia State will help.

Temple- they will help recruit Eastern PA and Southern NJ. Those are two traditional recruiting areas for SU where close games are not played for families to attend.

That is it. SU should only play those 8 schools. As a fan I would enjoy seeing Army, Buffalo, Navy, Tulane, UConn, UMass but those schools do nothing for the program. Also Cincy, UCF, USF are too difficult of games to add to the schedule even though they are in recruiting areas.

One Big 5 team

We know that SU has MD in 2014 and 2019. ND in 2014 and 2016, then at least once every three years. Supposedly SU has PSU in 2020 and 2021. We also know that the Metlife contract means SU will be playing there every other year from 2019-2038. That contract could be difficult to fill. Only a few schools will make it worth playing there. That number decreased with Rutgers moving to the B1G. Why would Ohio St or Michigan want to play at Metlife game when they already go to NJ every other year? Schools that might be open to doing a one game series at Metlife:

BYU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin

Those are the only schools that I believe would be open to a one game series and fill the stadium. Other schools would either want a return trip (an unacceptable 1-0-1 series) or have no reason to ever play a game at Metlife. Even if you get all five of those schools you still need 5 more games to fill the contract. If ND agrees, SU can have the ACC/ND games all be at Metlife. ND would lose a home game but they also wouldn't have to go to the Carrier Dome. That would cover three to seven games depending on how the ACC allocates the ND games. Also SU can offer the same deal to Penn St. No game at Happy Valley in exchange for none in the Dome. The last desperate possibilities would be WV and Rutgers. I think both would be open to a 1-1-1 series.

So what about the years we do not play at Metlife? That too will be difficult. The B12, B1G, and P12 already have committed to 9 game conference schedules. The SEC is likely to follow. That will limit the pool of OOC games available. Most name schools will look to schedule other name schools or one game series in NFL stadiums. Getting a name school OOC to the Dome may be a thing of the past. SU can likely still get middle of the pack Big 5 schools but I prefer SU keep OOC games to traditional rivals. This would mean games against MD, Penn St, Rutgers, and WV. Personally I like variety and going to trips in Chicago, LA, Seattle, etc but playing those games are unnecessary trips that do nothing for the program. Which schools are likely to get bigger crowds to the Dome your local rivals or schools that are far away? Which schools are in SU's recruiting area, local rivals or schools from the Midwest, Southwest, and West? What is better for the players short trips or long ones? So I would like to see SU rotate those four schools as OOC games.

There are a lot of factors that could easily change the scheduling landscape. The ACC could go to 9 conference games (my guess not before 2020 because of future schedules). ND could join the ACC full time (my guess not before 2026 because of the NBC contract). A 13th game could be added to the schedule (should happen once the SEC goes to 9 conference games). The Big 5 could create their own division (doubtful). Or they could agree to not play 1AA teams (also doubtful). Maybe the Metlife contract never happens (possible if the two ND games have weak showings). Without knowing what will happen, we can only plan using the current environment. So here is my solution to the next 11 seasons (what the ACC has already scheduled out):

6 Home MD, Nova, Duke, FSU, Louisville, NC St
5 Away Akron, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
1 Neutral ND (Metlife)

7 Home Akron, FIU, Colgate, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
5 Away Vandy (not many choices), FSU, Louisville, NC St, UVA

6 Home Akron, Colgate, FSU, Louisville, NC St, Virginia Tech
5 Away FIU, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
1 Neutral ND (Metlife)

8 Home Colgate, FIU, Georgia St, Vandy (needs to be home as road slate difficult), BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
4 Away FSU, Louisville, Miami, NC St

7 Home Colgate, FAU, Georgia St, FSU, Louisville, UNC, NC St
5 Away ND (SU will play ND once or twice between 2017 and 2019, the game fits best for SU here), BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake

6 Home Colgate, FAU, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
6 Away Georgia St, MD, Duke, FSU, Louisville, NC St

6 Home Colgate, Miami OH, FSU, Georgia Tech, Louisville, NC St
5 Away FAU, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
1 Neutral PSU (Metlife moved game)

7 Home Colgate, Miami OH, Temple, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
4 Away FSU, Louisville, NC St, VT
1 Neutral PSU (Metlife moved game)

6 Home Colgate, FIU, FSU, Louisville, NC St, UVA
5 Away Miami OH, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
1 Neutral ND (Metlife)

6 Home Colgate, FIU, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake
6 Away MDTemple, FSU, Louisville, UNC, NC St

7 Home Colgate, MD, Temple, FSU, Louisville, Miami, NC St
5 Away FIU, BC, Clemson, Pitt, Wake

As you can see above, SU has some really difficult years ahead in the ACC. The most difficult is when SU has FSU, Louisville, and Miami/VT all at home or all on the road in one year. In 2016 it will be a great year just to make a Bowl. That is why SU needs to have 3 cupcakes on the schedule every year. The conference schedule is difficult enough.

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