So as you may have seen (or maybe not, the ISU website wasn't updating for a few hours yesterday, but problem solved), Idaho State made a change in their schedule. After seeing a few things from fans that aren't thrilled about it, it occurred to me that I'm guessing most folks don't know how much goes into scheduling, especially at Idaho State where coaches are basically told how much money their schedules have to raise.
In football, you have the opportunity to make a bunch of money in a hurry in scheduling by picking up big money games. For Idaho State, originally, only one of those existed for 2009...Arizona State for $400,000. That was a deal brokered by Paul Bubb, who used his contacts with ASU, their A.D. Lisa Love whom he knows, and of course, their former coach Dirk Koetter, whom he obviously knew as well. Add a game at North Dakota, and a game at home against Cal Poly and the schedule is done.
However, that trip to North Dakota had just a $20,000 buyout, and let's face it, it is a tough game out there...it's very, very expensive, and a tough game to win. Well, here comes Oklahoma. Jeff Tingey says no....they didn't offer enough...can't do. Well, here comes potential budget cuts. Well, here comes Oklahoma offering a half a million dollars ... hey, we are going to Oklahoma. Out goes UND, in comes Oklahoma, because let's face it ... if you are going to lose a game, get $500,000 for it, no? (Side note...last year Idaho State's games with Boise State, Cal Poly, and Idaho netted ISU just shy of $400,000. Have you ever held $400,000 in your hands? Well....I did. Oh. My. For a brief moment.....that was awesome...I digress)
So, now the issue is Oklahoma vs. ISU is on the same date at Cal Poly vs. ISU ... well, that's not good LOL. Tingey then swings basically the deal to save the season in a way, by getting Cal Poly to go to Weber instead of ISU, giving the Mustangs a shot of revenge against the Wildcats, getting the Wildcats a home game, and we are paying the $30,000 we had to pay Cal Poly anyways to come here, instead they are coming there. We still have to go there in 2010 (along with Utah State on September 11 for $200,000 ... that's another great get ... $200,000 for a day trip...woo-hoo! Aggie ice cream for everyone!)
So...ASU and Oklahoma, followed by Weber State, then a bye, with a bye at the end of the season too. Jeff worked pretty hard with Weber State to move that game, but they didn't want to move it to the end of the season on November 21 because of the BYU-Utah game that day (total assumption on my part, but in the past that has always been the reason. Paul tried desperately to get us and Weber to always be the final game, much like Montana and Montana State, who just move their game off the scheduled date and play it on the final day every year).
So, Jeff scheduled Montana-Western on a date that is allowable for Division II, Division III, and NAIA, but not for Division I unless you get a waiver from the NCAA. Because of the economic climate (not just at ISU, but the rest of the country), the Bengals scheduled Montana-Western on August 29, knowing they might have to move the game to the 26th. UMW has Carroll on the 26th, but they agreed to move the Carroll game to the end of the season. However, Carroll didn't want to move the game since it would mean playing UMW twice in three weeks. Not stated by Carroll, but I'm sure it was in there, is that we dropped them in 2004 to add San Diego State when Jim Senter got a chance to pick up an extra game. I don't know if folks remember that we got that game in part because Notre Dame agreed to move a game and add San Diego State in like 2015 or something silly like that.
So, when word started trickling down that the waiver wasn't going to get approved, which is understandable since the NCAA doesn't want to start a precedent (although let's face it....everyone else in America is playing that weekend...except Division I? Please...) Jeff had to work on an alternate plan. There were many involved (trust me...I came up with several scenarios) and finally, Jeff landed Central Washington.
While the Wildcats were 10-2 last year and very good, they do lose their All-World QB and some very big pieces of the puzzle. Still, it's funny for me, who hears almost everything the public says (folks in the grocery store and church have no problems informing me of things) that people hate playing NAIA teams, and then you drop one to add Central, and folks hate that too.
Now, I will readily admit, as would Jeff, Z, and the players, that it sucks to not have a home game against a perceived easier opponent prior to heading to ASU and Oklahoma, and starting with three straight on the road really, really, really sucks, but the reality is this....we ain't Montana. I don't mean that on the field...I mean it in the stands. Until the community comes out and fills Holt Arena (granted, we gotta win a bit more, but still....we didn't fill it in 2002 or 2003, save for a close one against Montana...11,434), playing money games is going to be a reality, and those money game dates are going to usually be the first two weekends of the season. There is a reason Montana doesn't have to play a money game...actually about 26,000 reasons.
Someone posted on the Bengal Den that playing three lower Division folks would at least mean if you go 3-5 in conference, hey, you are 6-5 and you can have a good record to talk to recruits about, but how are the coaches getting to see recruits? Say we did that this year...we generally pay out $20,000 to $25,000 for a lower division opponent, so that $75,000 we are paying out, and not bringing in $900,000 ... that's a million dollar swing...one sadly we can't afford right now, especially in this economic climate.
Anyways, this is a ridiculously long post, but I'm hoping it gives a little insight into the process of things. You do have to admit...the whole CWU/ISU thing is intriguing with the three former ISU coaches there, and five former CWU coaches here ... I would think folks would want to show up for it.
Quick, which program recorded the best winning percentage in 2008-09? If you said softball, well, you probably cheated, because most folks probably didn't know that answer, but the team is 15-19 (shockingly I might add), and they have seven more games left, all at home. They have three this weekend against Northern Colorado, and if you want to see some of the best athletes in the school...come out to Rainey Park. The school record for hits is 46 set in 1979 by Chris Shoemaker, and you have the chance to see two players surpass it this weekend in Caitlin McGrath and Megan Miller. KandisClesson will go for the single-season win record too....should be a good weekend. Tim Flagstad has been dutifully impress as well.
Former Bengals Still Take Down Boise State Ouch...Heather Dixon is ISU's career leader in home runs....ouch.
Nothing to Do with ISU Athletics But all the same, these folks are deserving of the accolades...
Idaho State Sports Information