June 23, 2008

Top programs like to stay close to home

Back in April, we did a three-part series on schedules. Now, a bit more than two months away from the first game of the season, we're going to do some more on schedules - this time on some of the scheduling quirks for this season.

Nebraska opens the season with five consecutive home games, the only I-A school that can make that claim. The Huskers' first road game isn't until Oct. 11, at Texas Tech.

Four other schools open with four consecutive home games: Arizona State, Duke, Indiana and Louisville.

Three teams end the season with three consecutive home games: Hawaii, Rice and Troy.

The only "Big Six" team that opens with back-to-back road games is Oregon State. The Beavers are at Stanford on Aug. 28, then play at Penn State on Sept. 6. The other Division I-A schools that open with two consecutive road games are Akron, Florida International, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Northern Illinois, Ohio University, Toledo, Troy, Tulsa and Utah State.

Texas plays at UTEP on Sept. 6, the first time the Miners ever have hosted the Longhorns. And Mississippi State plays at Louisiana Tech on Aug. 30, the first time Louisiana Tech ever has hosted an SEC opponent.

Florida State doesn't play a game outside the state of Florida until Oct. 16 at North Carolina State. The Seminoles open with three consecutive home games, then play Colorado in Jacksonville and at Miami before leaving the Sunshine State. FSU also finishes with three of its final four at home.

Clemson doesn't play a true road game until Oct. 9 at Wake Forest. The Tigers open in Atlanta against Alabama, then play four in a row at home before heading to Winston-Salem.

A lot of "Big Six" schools play four times at home before the end of September: Arizona State, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Syracuse. Wyoming is the only non-"Big Six" school that has four home games before the end of September.

Florida Atlantic is the only school that has four road games before the end of September.

Baylor plays five of its first six at home, but finishes up with four of its final six on the road. Georgia has four of its final five away from home. Miami, Michigan and Missouri are among those playing three of their final four away from home.

Vanderbilt is the only visiting team that will play two games in Oxford this season. The Commodores open the season at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. On Sept. 20, they play at Ole Miss, which is in Oxford, Miss.

Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 29, Georgia plays no home games. Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 28, LSU plays no road games. Included in that span is Georgia at LSU on Oct. 25.

USC is the only school whose entire schedule is made up of "Big Six" opponents.

Pitt opens with three consecutive home games, plays three in a row on the road, then finishes the season by alternating home and road games the rest of the way.

GRID BITS

Terrelle Pryor hasn't even stepped foot on the Ohio State practice field, but the Buckeyes still have lost another quarterback. Antonio Henton, a sophomore, announced last week that he is transferring to Division I-AA Georgia Southern, where he will be eligible immediately. The Eagles are looking to replace star QB Jayson Foster. Henton is from Fort Valley, Ga., which isn't that far from Georgia Southern's campus in Statesboro. Another former Ohio State backup quarterback, Rob Schoenhoft, transferred to Delaware earlier this year, and he is expected to replace Joe Flacco as the Blue Hens' starter.

The Big East has pulled out of its deal with the Texas Bowl, and Conference USA has stepped into the breach to face a Big 12 team. The Texas Bowl was a bad geographic fit for the Big East; it fits much better with C-USA's "footprint."

Baylor announced last week that it has signed a contract to play Kent State in 2009. The school also has recent agreements to play SMU and Navy down the road. A question: What other "Big Six" school could sign deals with those schools and have to wonder if it can win the games? We say only Duke and Syracuse.

Notre Dame's games on NBC last season drew the lowest ratings since the network began televising Irish games in 1991. No matter the network and the school signed a five-year extension through the 2015 season last week. The current contract is said to be worth about $9 million a season. NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said Notre Dame is a premier brand, much like the Olympics and the NFL.

One of the more unbelievable offseason stories has revolved around Indiana's field. Heavy rain earlier this month washed out the gravel foundation underneath the field. The result? A sinkhole in one end zone and lumps all over the field. Workers last week began tearing up the turf at Memorial Stadium; the whole process could take as long as a month and cost as much as $1 million, though insurance is expected to cover some of the costs.

HOOP TALK

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt spoke in front of a Knight Commission hearing last week and let fly on a number of subjects. One was agents. Hewitt said the NBA players union needed to do a better job policing agents, who he said have turned the sport into the "wild, wild west." Hewitt said the NFL players union does a better job in that area. NBA players union spokesman Dan Wasserman told The Associated Press that "despite Coach Hewitt's opinion, it is not up to the NBPA to police what occurs on college campuses." Wasserman also said that the union is in the midst of "an extensive investigation" regarding allegations of agent impropriety.

Ohio U. is looking for a new coach. Various media reports say Tim O'Shea will be announced this week as the new coach at Bryant University, which will be a provisional Division I member starting this season; the school, in Smithfield, R.I., becomes a full-fledged Division I member in 2012-13. O'Shea was at Ohio for seven seasons and will replace Max Good at Bryant. Good, formerly the coach at Maine Central Institute prep school, left Bryant to become an assistant at Loyola Marymount under Billy Bayno.

Louisiana Tech assistant Nikita Johnson had coached someone in three-star prospect Brandon Gibson's family, and that helped the Bulldogs land Gibson, from Marianna (Fla.) High. Johnson coached Gibson's mom in junior college.

Akron, Ohio, native LeBron James bypassed college ball for the NBA, but the Akron basketball team hopes to nevertheless get a boost from the hometown hero. Akron signed a deal with Nike to wear James' "LJ23" apparel.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



FEATURED PRODUCT


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.