Neuheisel on scheduling

A number of folks asked me about Rick Neuheisel’s non-conference scheduling philosophy, and recently he talked about it.
With he knowledge of UCLA playing non-conference games against Tennessee, BYU and Fresno State this season, and with Tennessee and Kansas State on the 2009 schedule and Kansas State and Texas on the 2010 schedule, here is what Neuheisel said.
“You should play one marquee non-conference game a year,” Neuheisel said. “One marquee game that you are guaranteed a national audience and give your fans that intersectional game where they go every other year to a big name place and those other two games, you have a great chance to be successful. …What you don’t want to do is put yourself in harm’s way of missing the post season because you over scheduled the non-conference.”
I asked Neuheisel about moving the Tennessee game to the opener and making it so there are seven straight games (Sept. 13-Oct. 25) without a bye, and he said it was worth the reward.
“But I get 12 days between game one and game two, which is where you get your biggest improvement,” he said. “I was going to play Tennessee anyway and now I get a marquee game where they are talking about UCLA for a week on the most watched sports network (ESPN) and we’re getting publicity and if you can answer it with a good performance you can parlay that.”

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  • “Parlay” probably isn’t a good choice of words for RN to use in front of the media.

  • VB

    Ask Brandon Breazell and Karl Dorrell those same questions, they would say:

    “We don’t care if we lose non-conference games! The only thing that matters is conference games!”

  • DoubleBruin

    Initially, I disagreed with moving the Tennessee game to September 1 because I thought it would be very difficult to beat a tough team right off the bat. But then I thought about the element of surprise. Our first opponent is not going to have any game tape on our offense and that might give us the advantage to beat a tough team.

  • BRUtus

    Haha, nice, someone already commented on Rick’s use of the word “parlay” – good humor.

  • KarlMorgan82

    You mean we are playing Kansas State in 2009, not Kansas, right?

  • Bruintx

    According to preseason poll, BYU (12), Tennessee (19) and Fresno St. (23) are all in the Top 25. So, does it really matter which of these teams the Bruins play first? Everyone sounds like they are making Tennessee out to be a Top 5 team. According to Rivals, BYU and Fresno could be just as good, if not better! Lets just hope the defense can hold up early until the offense can gas up some (which hopefully will happen eventually this year!).


    As they say in card-playing, you play the hand you are dealt. This is not a schedule ‘ol Neu would have planned. Heck, he could lose all three, very easily. And then what will the true blue bruins’ fans do?– Tar and feather come to mind.

    But give the guy a break, he will improve this squad if given time, perhaps 4-5 years down the road.

  • CrouchingBruin

    Brian, in your Answers Part VI back on July 18, you indicated that the schedule is already set out to 2013 (although there are a couple of open slots in 2013 to fill), so Rick Neuheisel really can’t have any sort of impact on the scheduling for at least the next four years. Do you know how far out in advance schedules are set? Does the Pac-10 office set the games for the league and the schools then fit in their own non-conference games? How much input does the head coach have versus the athletic director?

  • Brian Dohn

    Each school is responsible for its own non-conference schedule. Schools do it differently, with some scheduling only a year or two in advance and others doing it five to 10 years in advance.
    At UCLA, the coach has the ability to get involved in scheduling, and if Neuheisel wanted to, he could try to get out of future scheduled games.