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.”