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UWDP Roundtable: Non-Conference Scheduling Wishlist

Who should fill out UW’s non-conference schedule gaps in ‘24-’27?

Valero Alamo Bowl - Washington v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Coach B: Ok guys, I’ve got this week’s round table. There’s been some groaning online about Ohio state replacing our home-and-home series with Marshall, and we’ve yet to lockdown our non-conference football schedule for 2024-2027. We’ve been hit or miss over the last decade in scheduling compelling OOC opponents, but we were on the upswing with Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State until the last series got cancelled. Yes, our home game with Michigan got cancelled during the pandemic, but it was scheduled.

This coming year we have a return trip to East Lansing, but then have to wait until 2028 when Michigan makes up our home game for our next scheduled P5 OOC opponent. The question for this week is, in a perfect world where we can schedule any opponent, who would you like us to add to the OOC schedule gaps we have in the next 2-4 years?

Like most of us, I really like to get another marquee P5 opponent that’ll draw viewers. However, I also wanted to balance building on existing history (like the Michigan series), added visibility in different region, and set us up for a few wins.

For my pick, I ignored the LA schools who technically would fit the criteria as non-conference opponents in ‘24, but that’d be a boring pick and wouldn’t get us much as far as new viewership exposure.

Instead, I went with Miami. We’ve only played 3 times, but we’ve dealt the Hurricanes a couple of their most painful defeats, including the Whammy in Miami and their lone defeat in 2000 to keep them out of the title game. Few fans under the age of 40 can even remember those games, but the historic ties are there. A home-and-home series would get us east coast exposure, and Florida is a talent rich state that could be a future source of talent in Courtney Morgan’s national recruiting strategy. Not to mention it’s a great opportunity to get a win over Mario Cristobal as he tries to turnaround their program.

Andrew Berg: I wrote about ideal non-conference opponents a couple years ago with a loose formula and Texas came out #1. The Sark connection was a bonus but definitely helps. Texas has a huge profile and a clear blue blood reputation, but is usually at a level that’s beatable for us. We might even have some very recent evidence that we can handle them. If anything, the Alamo Bowl might help kickstart a burgeoning rivalry.

Plus, Austin is one of the most fun cities to visit. Awesome food and music. Texas stadium is fine, but not one of my favorites. Overall, it’s a good matchup that can help UW reputationally and would be fun to watch.

Miami is a great fit for similar reasons, as you said, Coach. There are a few other teams that fit those criteria: North Carolina, LSU, Minnesota, Tennessee. A step down from there: TCU, FSU, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech. Maybe Tulane can play their way into viability. Who doesn’t want to go to New Orleans?

Mark Schafer: Miami is a great pick coach, I would love the opportunity to flex on Cristobal again! I wholeheartedly agree with the argument that the history is important. To that point, I would opt for someone more recently good, such as Boise State, I know we play them this season but there’s no argument against scheduling them again, especially if they continue their recent run of success! Maybe an opponent like Minnesota or Penn State would be good.

For other regions, an option in the south could be somebody like Texas, or Oklahoma to get revenge for the 2008 thrashing?

The Huskies have only played Florida once, in the 1989 Freedom Bowl, which they won, 34-7, holding Emmit Smith to 17 yards. Florida seems to be on an upswing again after years of mediocre to bad teams, but whether or not they can sustain that is another question entirely. Maybe playing Florida would give prospects there a look at UW?

My mother suggested LSU, whom we’ve played a few times, one we kept it sorta close and the other we didn’t but it should be a good test, seeing as how Kelly has that profile now as an ascending coach within his new program. Plus it will give us a sizable advantage if we can recruit in SEC country!

And Andrew, Tulane has shown that it can be a disruptive force, and they might be a force to be reckoned with here in a few years if they can keep their momentum from last season

Also Clemson, if only to take Dabo down a couple pegs!

Andrew: +1 to humiliating Dabo

Kirk DeGrasse: I know the question is who would we schedule in a perfect world, but let me indulge in a practical answer, i.e. accounting for A) the assumption the Pac will continue a 9-game conference schedule which means in order to host 7 games annually, the UW can only play an away OOC game in odd-numbered years; B) which schools currently have OOC openings and which ones have openings that similarly allow them to host 7 games each season (though some P5 schools appear willing to have 6 home games); C) assuming that we’re aiming for home & away arrangements rather than neutral-site games for the ‘24, ‘25, ‘26 and ‘27 seasons, and D) not buying out any existing OOC arrangements to create space on another team’s schedule. This criteria would unfortunately rule out Miami (FL) and Clemson. What complicates this is not knowing yet if the SEC will indeed move to a 9-game schedule when Texas & Oklahoma join. For now I’ll assume they keep their 8-game schedule.As things currently stand with our future schedules, the UW can play away OOC games in 2025 and 2027. So who among interesting P5 schools have openings that fit this puzzle while retaining their own 7-game home scheduling priorities? Are there any compelling G5 schools that would fit the bill?Per the FBS Schedules website, I found the following possibilities among P5 schools (H = game in Seattle):

  • Boston College, ‘26(H)/’27 (if they accepted a road game in Seattle in ‘26 that would leave them with only 6 home games, but they seem willing to do that sometimes)
  • Duke, ‘24(H)/’25, ‘26(H)/’27 (similar to BC, they would have to be OK with only 6 home games in ‘24 or ‘26 but they appear to be willing to do that)
  • NC State, ‘24(H)/’27
  • Virginia, ‘25/’26(H)/’27
  • Oklahoma, ‘24(H)/’25/’27
  • TCU, ‘26(H)/’27
  • Texas, ‘25/’26(H)/’27 (this assumes the SEC stays at 8 conference games)
  • UCF, ‘25/’26(H)/’27
  • Northwestern, ‘24(H)/’25/’26(H)/’27
  • Auburn, ‘24(H)/’25/’26(H)/’27 (even if the SEC moves to 9 conference games, ‘26-’27 would remain a possibility)
  • LSU, ‘26(H)/’27 (even if the SEC moves to 9 conference games, this would remain a possibility)
  • Vanderbilt, ‘25/’26(H)/’27 (this would require Vanderbilt is OK with only 6 home games in ‘26)

From that list I would definitely opt for Texas as my top choice; it’s a massive brand, Austin is a fantastic city to visit, there’s the Sark connection and after last year’s Alamo Bowl there’s a fresh connection with the two fanbases. If the SEC moves to a 9-game conference schedule that would rule out Texas, in which case the biggest names left on the board would be Auburn & LSU. Given that Washington has had a relatively recent home & away with LSU there’s less of a need to get them on the schedule, but I don’t think too many folks would mind another trip to Baton Rouge for some Tiger tailgating. I think Husky fans would like another shot at Auburn, and that’s probably a more winnable game than LSU, but I’m not all that excited about a trip to Auburn. Oklahoma is obviously a massive brand, but the UW has had a home & away with them in the last 20 years, and Norman isn’t high on my list of places I really want to visit. I would actually rate a series with Northwestern higher because Chicago is such an amazing city, and you’d also get the fun of the purple vs. purple match-up. I guess I’d rank them as follows:

  1. Texas (if the SEC stays at 8 conference games)
  2. LSU
  3. Northwestern
  4. Auburn
  5. TCU
  6. Virginia

Looking through the list of G5 schools I just don’t see any that would be justified from a football perspective. I know and fully accept this is an elitist stance, but I don’t think the UW should be in the business of scheduling home & away series with programs that aren’t from the SEC, B1G, Big-12 or ACC (or Notre Dame).

Coach B: Thanks for doing the homework and pulling together that list Kirk.

Texas seems like a pretty popular answer, and I’d have to agree that it’d be a fun road trip. Looking into the history between us and the Longhorns, am I the only one that forgot we share 2 common former head coaches? It was well before all of us were around, but Darrell Royal had a 10-month tenure as our HC right before taking the Texas HC position. We’ve established a pretty good recruiting presence in Texas, so adding another game in the state would be smart.

Going off of Kirk’s more realistic list, I’d go:

  1. Texas
  2. TCU (winnable & in TX)
  3. LSU (tough games but would be a huge boost to exposure if it all comes together)
  4. UCF (winnable, FL recruiting, east coast exposure)
  5. Northwestern, (winnable, B1G exposure, Midwest recruiting)

Gabey Lucas: Wisconsin because I want to eat fried cheese curds.

Max Vrooman: Went to a Wisconsin wedding and their during-dancing-sop-up-the-alcohol food choice was a fried cheese curds food truck. So amazing.

Oh no. Did we just derail the roundtable again? Quick, end it now.

Gabey: This isn’t derailing because it had already come to a slow stop. Derailing would be if I mentioned the Everett Flabbergasters like 36 hours ago.

Max: Well to bring it back to UW football, that wedding was scheduled by a UW football fan to be the same day as the UW/Michigan game in 2020. Then the game and the wedding both got postponed and so instead the next year I missed...UW/Montana.

Mark: Oof

Gabey: Haha wait I remember you in the slack that night. That was fun.

Narrator: It was not fun.

Who would you like to see UW add to the non-conference schedule? Let us know in the comments/poll below.


Who should UW add to the ‘24-’27 non-conference schedule?

This poll is closed

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    (76 votes)
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245 votes total Vote Now