Now that it's officially August, I can once again turn to a favorite pastime of years past - belittling the scheduling choices of highly paid athletic directors in nigh-incomprehensible bullet point fashion:
- The ACC is getting better at scheduling BCS conference games, with 22 this year, the same as last year and light-years ahead of the 16 of 2006. The picture doesn't look as rosy at the bottom of the schedules, but I'll save that for the bottom of the post.
- Big East teams meeting the ACC: Connecticut (Virginia, 9/13 and UNC, 10/4), Rutgers (UNC, 9/11) and South Florida (N.C. State, 9/27)
- SEC teams doing the same: Alabama (Clemson, 8/30), Florida (Miami, 9/6 and FSU, 11/29), Mississippi (Wake, 9/6), Mississippi St. (Georgia Tech, 9/20), South Carolina (N.C. State, 8/28 and Clemson, 11/29) and Vanderbilt (Duke, 10/25 and Wake, 11/29)
- The ACC continues to pick fights with the Midwest conferences as well, with Baylor (Wake, 8/30), Colorado (FSU, 9/27), Nebraska (VT, 9/27) and Texas A&M (Miami, 9/20) from the Big 12 and Northwestern (Duke, 9/6) from the Big 10. This is almost identical to last year's Big 10/12 - ACC matchups, just with Nebraska playing the Hokies instead of Wake, and Miami thankfully spared from meeting Oklahoma again. The Huskers and Sooners were the only two Big 12 teams to win their ACC games in 2007.
- And then their are these two teams from this mythical "Pac Ten." I have no idea what this could be - a collection of schools obsessed with classic Atari games, perhaps? Anyway, Cal (Maryland, 9/13) and Southern Cal (Virginia, 8/30) make scheduling appearances.
- And no, we didn't forget about the brave little toasters of Conference USA, signing up East Carolina (VT, 8/30, N.C. State, 9/20 and Virginia, 10/11) and Central Florida (BC, 9/20 and Miami, 10/11). That's roughly the same number of games as last year, but spread among fewer teams.
- The final conference breakdown? 9 SEC teams, 5 Conference USA, 4 Big East, 4 Big 12, 2 Pac-10, and the traditional one Big 10 team. The remaining 23 games get distributed amongst the independents (5), MAC (2), Sun Belt (1), and 15 (!) D1-AA schools.
- You read that last part correctly, 15 D1-AA schools. Extra shame goes to Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech for taking two helpings of creampuffs. The only athletic director who can look himself in the mirror is Wake's Ron Wellman. I keep finding myself returning to the idea I had last year:
First of all, I think the ACC needs a new policy. Every team's non-conference schedule should be compared to Duke's. If Duke's schedule is embarassingly tougher, your coaching staff runs the season opener with their dicks hanging out of their flies, just like golfers who can't drive past the ladies' tees. Because you need some way of proving you're a man, and you sure as hell aren't doing it with your choice of opponents.
Duke this season plays James Madison, Northwestern, Navy and Vanderbilt. A lot of schools with a season-ending rivalry SEC game seem to feel that excuses the rest of their scheduling. Tigers, Seminoles, Yellow Jackets, and Hokies, stand up and repeat after me: "My team is playing more D1-AA teams than Duke."
(The full list of non-conference opponents by team is beneath the cut.)
Boston College - Kent State, UCF, Rhode Island, Notre Dame
Clemson - Alabama, Citadel, South Carolina St., South Carolina
Duke - James Madison, Northwestern, Navy, Vanderbilt
Florida State - Western Carolina, Chatanooga, Colorado, Florida
Georgia Tech - Jacksonville St., Mississippi St., Gardner-Webb, Georgia
Maryland - Deleware, Middle Tennessee, California, Eastern Michigan
Miami - Charleston Southern, Florida, Texas A&M, UCF
North Carolina - McNesse St., Rutgers, Connecticut, Notre Dame
N.C. State - South Carolina, William & Mary,
Virginia - USC, Richmond, Connecticut, East Carolina
Virginia Tech - East Carolina, Furman, Nebraska, Western Kentucky
Wake Forest - Baylor, Mississippi, Navy, Vanderbilt