Last week the Los Angeles Daily News and the Los Angeles Times reported that Auburn nixed a game against the Bruins to open the 2010 season. The game, which ESPN/ABC was attempting to broker, was to be played at the Georgia Dome.
Now the real reason UCLA is looking for a game. Kansas State, which plays at UCLA this fall, is trying to get out of the return game in Manhattan, scheduled for Sept. 4, 2010.
Snyder, of course, is the scheduling master, and his incredible feat of putting Kansas State on the map in the 1990s involved a lot of home games against inferior opponents. UCLA simply doesn't fit this Bill.
Auburn's excuse for ducking UCLA is that the Tigers' already have a full schedule in 2010 and didn't want to give up a home game. A lame excuse, considering they already have eight. Chicken!
Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News saw right through it, criticizing athletic director Jay Jacobs for turning down the game.
Scarbinksy wrote: "Paul Bryant, leaning against that great goalpost in the sky, just looked over at Ralph Jordan and growled, 'Don't your people take their football seriously down there?' "
Although schedule ducking has become the norm, teams can pay a heavy price.
Texas beat Oklahoma last season, but lost out to the Sooners in the Bowl Championship Series standings, in part because of a nonconferece schedule that included only one team (Arkansas) from a BCS conference. The Sooners had two (Cincinnati and Washington), plus a game against Texas Christian, whose only losses came to Oklahoma and Utah.
Mack Brown, fearful of a repeat this fall, tried to add a BCS team to the nonconference schedule (the Longhorns don't have one). ESPN/ABC got involved and approached Wisconsin, but the Badgers didn't want to be roadkill as Texas embarked on its journey down the BCS title highway.
Things have gotten so bad that ESPN/ABC is asking that conference games be moved to September just so it can have a game involving two BCS teams. Example: The Texas Tech-Texas game, which was moved from Nov. 7 to Sept. 19.
Seven BCS teams will play two Division I-AA opponents this fall, and one can only imagine that we're a year or two from a BCS team scheduling three or four games against I-AA opponents. (Our money is on Snyder, or Mike Leach.)
None of this scheduling business was on the lips of BCS commissioners between sips of cocktails this past week in Pasadena, where the honchos gathered to act like they really cared about you, the fan. They won't give a hoot until they get hit where it really hurts — in the pocketbook.
Wouldn't it be nice if BCS teams took off the skirt and started playing BCS teams in nonconference? Wouldn't it be nice if you, the fan, actually got value for all that money you pump toward a university just to get a decent seat? Wouldn't it be nice if the spirit of competition returned to college football?