Monday, October 11, 2010

Editor's response: Missouri's football schedule

My predictions for last weekend's college football elicited a response from a reader, given my comment about MU playing at home--again--against Colorado. So, let me explain my rationale for what I wrote.

Missouri started the season in St. Louis against Illinois on a "neutral" site--a continuation of a rivalry which has been in place for the past several years. But, a game played in front of a crowd which is more Mizzou than Illinois, and at a location about two hours from campus, is hardly an "away" game. That game was followed by home non-conference matchups versus McNeese State, San Diego State, and Miami (Ohio.) Then, the Tigers played Colorado to start the Big 12 home. Thus, I made the comment about Missouri's early-season schedule and the five games thus far on Faurot Field.

In contrast, Baylor has played on the road at TCU and at Rice. Colorado had to go to California. Iowa State played at Iowa and in Kansas City against Kansas State. Kansas played at Southern Miss, Nebraska at Washington, Oklahoma at Cincinnati and Texas Tech at New Mexico.

Only Kansas State, and its master scheduler Bill Snyder, and Oklahoma State could boast the same number of home games as MU over the same time period.

Once we get to Big 12 conference play, every team then has four home games and four away games. And, yes, I know that Missouri plays Kansas at Arrowhead but that is technically a "home" game for the Tigers this year as Kansas had that home team distinction last year in Kansas City. Other schools in the league have also knowingly given up a campus game but did not forfeit the "home" distinction in the process, e.g., Iowa State as home team last month against KSU in their game at Arrowhead, or this past Sunday's Cotton Bowl clash between "home" team Texas Tech and Baylor.

Bully for Missouri for scheduling this many home games this early. It's an approach which can allow a team to grow before going on the road for a true away contest, and it's catapulted the Tigers into the Top 25. Unfortunately for Kansas State, their lack of a true road game, prior to being exposed last Thursday against Nebraska, might have hurt them in preparation for the Huskers. That is part of what makes the Cats' Thursday night matchup in Lawrence, against an up-and-down Kansas team, all the more intriguing.

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