Saturday, March 17, 2007

Falcon Football Schedule Released--FalconNation issues primal scream

At one point, if you follow it, we had a six-game home schedule planned, and it was going to include Boise State and Navy. Now, we have a five-game home schedule, and it includes Western Kentucky--no Boise, no Navy.

Needless to say, at least the sampling of the FalconNation who reside online are in a state of homicidal fury.

Let us start by at looking at what is going on. We are not a balanced conference for football. When Temple joins this year, they will be in the East, leaving 7 in that division and six in the east. Which means that the ability to play a five game round robin schedule in the division and three crossovers is gone. In fact, you can't even figure out a way for the teams to play the same number of conference games.

To resolve this, the MAC has gone to the solution it used before when it had 13 teams--only division games with have a "primary" role in determining who plays in the MACC. The crossover games will be used as tie breakers in a formula that is yet undisclosed. This mean that six games will determine whether you make the MACC--meaning every game is really going to count.

It also means that the other "MAC" games are largely exhibition games. Including our season-ending game with UT, which is likely to have nothing at stake.

From the conference position, this reflects a clusterf**k of the first world order. More and more, the MAC is run like the national assembly of a third world nation.

So, let's look to BG. First, here is the schedule:

Saturday, September 1, at Minnesota
Saturday, September 8, at Michigan State
Saturday, September 22, TEMPLE *(Hall of Fame Weekend/Sebo Athletic Center Dedication)
Saturday, September 29, WESTERN KENTUCKY (Homecoming)
Saturday, October 6, at Boston College
Saturday, October 13, at Miami*
Saturday, October 20, at Kent State*
Saturday, October 27, OHIO * (Family Weekend)
Friday, November 2, AKRON * (ESPNU)
Friday, November 9, at Eastern Michigan * (ESPNU)
Saturday, November 17, at Buffalo *
Friday, November 23, TOLEDO * (ESPNU/2:30 P.M.)

Let's try to be positive and look at the good points of the schedule.

  • We have Toledo at home and have traditionally drawn well the day after Thanksgiving.
  • We have two home games in September for the good weather.
  • Given that, I think we can draw well for this schedule.
  • With road games @ EMU and @MSU, BG fans have the ability to see seven game without an overnight trip.
  • We have to stop complaining about Temple. They are in the MAC now.
  • No Tuesday night games. Or Wendesday.

Now, the bad sides.

  • No Boise. When we gave up Boise last year, it was with the idea they were coming here for sure. That idea only got more appealing after the Orange Bowl. To have them cancel under nebulous and unclear circumstances is frustrating. It would have been simply great to get them to the Doyt.
  • Five games. This is the second most disappointing part. In a press release we will look at shortly, we will see that the AD says five is an improvement over last year's four. Well, he come from Purdue. And it is. Still, he has promised six in the past, and five home dates is simply very disappointing for people who are staying loyal to the program through thick and thin.
  • The schedule is tough. We have three OOC games that are likely to be losses, leaving us needing 7 of the remaining nine games needed for a winning season.
  • The Akron game on a Friday night has the potential to have the same crowd as a concerto recital
  • No nationally televised games. (Don't start with any ESPNU crap. That isn't going to count until I can get it!)

Now, let's go to the explanation.

Here is what our AD said in our press release.

"Finalizing the entire MAC schedule took longer than expected for several reasons," said BGSU Assistant Vice President/Director of Athletics Greg Christopher. "On the MAC front, adding Temple and going unbalanced presented a challenge to the scheduling. Specifically at BGSU, our schedule was set last fall with Minnesota, Boston College, Boise State and Florida International. When FIU cancelled its contract with us in late December, we were forced to change plans and the timing worked against us. After conversations with Coach Brandon, the conference and a number of other institutions, we essentially traded a few games to end up with our current non-conference slate. While our goal is to have six home games, the five we have in the Doyt this fall is an improvement and we have positioned ourselves well for the future."
A few comments:

The FalconNation has been giving Christopher the Louis XIV treatment since the schedule came out, at least on the Internets. Some of them emailed him, and were surprised to find him write back and candidly acknowledge their frustration. So, I think we can probably put away the guillotine for the time being, while also saying that this year's schedule is not in anyone's plus column.

The problem with the whole positioning for the future thing is that the future isn't what it used to be (HA!). How can we look forward to future contracts when the schedule appears to get ripped up and rebuilt every January--sometimes because of problems that were not of our making. (FWIW, here is the future outlook: Schedule Notes: BGSU will host Minnesota in 2008... Boise State will now play at BGSU in 2011... the Falcons will visit Boise in 2008.)

Falcon fans believe this is the second time we have taken a tube for the good of the MAC, in return for future considerations.

Florida International is the second Florida team to get us down there on the front end of a 1-1 and then not come back. They are paying us for the privilege, which is nice, but not really very motivating for our fan base.

This whole scheduling thing takes place behind a veil of secrecy. Some free advice to the U: come clean when it is over. If the circumstances really are as tough as you say, then I think you will gain some sympathy and time from your fans.

Note subtle reference to "conversations with Coach Brandon" which is interesting for two reasons. First, Coach Brandon's contract as posted on USA Today and signed between ADs requires him to be consulted on the football schedule. In that context, it almost sounds like Christopher is putting that in the release to keep Brandon from bitching about the schedules and bye weeks as much as he did last year.

From another viewpoint, perhaps he had a role in postponing Boise.

Because realistically, as much as we wanted to play them, it was entirely possible we would have ended up with four OOC losses and a .500 bowl eligible season a virtual impossibility.

I was disappointed and depressed when this came out. I'm feeling better now. First of all, I love being at the Doyt so much that it does not matter to me who we play. Boise would have been awesome. Just can't wait for Falcon football.

Spring practice starts a week from Saturday. Spring game on April 21. Let's bring it on.


Anonymous said...

No Boise. When we gave up Boise last year, it was with the idea they were coming here for sure. That idea only got more appealing after the Orange Bowl. To have them cancel under nebulous and unclear circumstances is frustrating. It would have been simply great to get them to the Doyt.

It is our understanding in Boise that it was either the MAC or BGSU that had this game cancelled. We have the opportunity to play 13 regular season games in 2007 due to our traveling to Hawaii, so we had room on our schedule to keep the appointment. Boise fans wanted this game.

BTW, although it *seemed* like the Orange Bowl with all the Boise State fans in attendance, it was actually the Fiesta Bowl in which the Broncos defeated the Sooners.

Thx for the blog.

Orange said...


A couple things that I should have known better about.

First, I should have said "to have the game cancelled" under nebulous and unclear circumstances....

I know from seeing other comments from the great Boise fan base that you guys were up for the game. We would have loved to have had you in town.

As for the Orange/Fiesta Bowl, DOH! DOH! DOH!