Better/Worse/Neutral: The Schedule

Otto Greule Jr

The Husky schedule has undoubtedly gotten weaker, but does that mean it has gotten worse?

Home: Eastern Washington, Illinois, Georgia State, Stanford, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State

Road: Hawaii, Cal, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Washington State

Losses: Boise State, Idaho State

Additions: Hawaii, Eastern Washington, Georgia State

Most fans want their team of preference to play at least one high profile nonconference game a year. Those games are exciting, they sell out the stadium, they can give the team national exposure, and if they result in a win it provides something to point to for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, they also carry a high likelihood of ending in the worst possible result for a team: a loss.

You can talk all you want about how important strength of schedule is, but at this moment in time strength of schedule isn't worth a hill of beans. For one, it would only matter for the Huskies if they were in contention for one of the top four slots to get into the playoff. For two, history shows that it won't even matter for those teams. Losing games has always been (and likely will always be) more damaging to a team than playing a strong schedule has been beneficial.

Playing a weak schedule isn't going to result in the most exciting early weeks of the season for the Huskies, but it's the best move for the program. Notching up those wins will move the Dawgs up in the eyes of those who rank teams, and it will help them put up a nice shiny number at the end of the year which will aid in recruiting.

As far as the Pac-12 schedule, it sets up as nicely as you could ask for it to in a year in which the Huskies play five conference road games. Washington gets three of its four toughest games at home (Stanford, ASU, and UCLA) in addition to a couple of cupcakes on the road (Cal and Colorado) that the Huskies should be favored in by double digits regardless of where the game is played.

Verdict: Better. More easy wins on the schedule, plus one more regular season opportunity to enjoy Husky football. If the Huskies merely continue to be as dominant as they have been at home of late and take care of weak opponents on the road you can pencil them in for 10 wins right now. If they improve at all, better is certainly possible. The nonconference schedule is as weak as we've seen for a Husky team, but unless the Huskies are in the conversation for the playoff and until the committee proves that such things will actually matter, there's no incentive to play a tough nonconference schedule.

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