Friday, February 10, 2006

The new schedule is here! The new schedule is here!

The 2006 football schedule is out. It is like an early Christmas present that has to be unwrapped.

Sept. 2: at Texas Tech

Sept. 9: at North Texas

Sept. 16: Sam Houston

Sept. 23: Arkansas State

Sept. 30: at Tulane

Oct. 7: at UTEP

Oct. 14: Marshall

Oct. 21: at East Carolina

Oct. 31: UAB

Nov. 11: Houston

Nov. 18: Tulsa

Nov. 25: at Rice

SMU plays eight weeks in a row. A couple of small details stand out. First, SMU plays the first eight weeks (and arguably nine) without a bye. Second, in an ideal world, SMU would alternate home and away; it really bugs me that SMU starts with two games on the road and plays three of its first four conference games on the road before playing three straight at home. I knew what the non-conference schedule was, but SMU could not have worked the conference schedule a little better?

Anyway, the big news is that SMU plays UAB on national television. Curiously, SMU says the game is on ESPN 2, while UAB says the game is on ESPN. UAB also has a game on ESPN 2, so I presume that wasn't just a typo on their schedule. Anyway, we all know how that game ended last year. It should be a good matchup.

The bad news is the SMU-UAB game is on Halloween. This poses an interesting marketing problem. It is one that will be difficult to solve; evidenced by my wife, upon learning the news, announcing that we were not going to the game. "But honey, I am the SMU Football Blogger! I have to go! Please?" Scene control is an issue in my house. I got nine months to wear her down; I'd better get to work.

There seems to be much hand-wringing over this. But it can't be helped. Would anyone suggest that SMU turn the game down? If so, you are an idiot. If SMU had turned it down and it was made public, there would be an equal amount of screaming over the idiocy of that decision. If SMU wants to be on national TV, this is how it has to be: Weeknight games and odd dates and even odder times. That is how it is for any school in any non-BCS conference. If it wasn't Halloween, given our and UAB's records, we wouldn't have been offered at all.

This game is an opportunity to be taken advantage of. Does anyone realize what our record could be leading up to that game? I count seven winnable games to that point. Not that SMU will win all those games, but it is very possible that SMU could become bowl eligible with a win that night and possibly earlier.

Tell the marketing department to get to work. Quit running scared. Quit bitching.

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