Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sun Devils' future football schedules

Originally Published 12/4/09
Last Updated 4/18/10 with the announcement of a home-and-home series with UTSA in 2016 and 2018
This post starts with a strong caveat: much of this information will probably change in the years ahead. With that said, fans are always interested in examining future schedules, so I wanted to keep an up-to-date summary of what we know. I will update this article over time as new announcements are made.

First, let's start with the Pac-10 schedule. Since the conference moved to a full round-robin schedule in 2006, the home-and-away lineup has been set. ASU's schedule in odd-numbered years is significantly easier than in even-numbered years (which makes the 2009 season even more disappointing). In odd-numbered years, we have five conference home games, including USC and AU. In even-numbered years, we play only four conference home games (Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington State). It's going to be a lot harder to sell season tickets in those even-numbered years.

Next, let's review the out-of-conference schedule. As most fans know, the basic philosophy behind the out-of-conference scheduling has traditionally been to have an "A", "B" and "C" level opponent. The additional requirement is to have at least two of the games at home in even-numbered years when we only have four conference games at Sun Devil Stadium. However, starting in 2011 it looks like we're moving to more of an "A, A, C" model. published a Q&A with Associate Athletic Director Mark Brand in February 2010 that explains the process in a lot of detail. I never understand fan criticism of our scheduling, because most neutral parties see our out-of-conference schedule as one of the best year-in, year-out.

The "A" level opponent is from a BCS conference. In recent seasons, Georgia, Colorado and Iowa have been "A" level opponents.

The "B" level opponent typically was from the MWC, or a strong school from the WAC. These may be schools that will play twice at ASU in return for one game at their site. In recent years, we have played UNLV, San Diego State and Nevada, but is seems like we will have a hard time finding "B" level opponents in coming seasons. San Diego State has downgraded their schedule, and does not have any future games with ASU scheduled. Boise State was looking for an opponent in 2011, and I'd love to see them visit SDS, but their requirement for a $1 million guarantee made that impossible. As predicted in this article, New Mexico is the next opponent in this cateogry in 2014-15. We may focus on finding two "A" level schools each season, such as Missouri and Illinois in 2011 and 2012.

The "C" level opponent is usually a FCS school, and is always going to be an opponent that does not require a return visit. We try to schedule NAU as often as possible for this slot, which is a nice way to keep the money in-state.

Ideally, we should play an "A" level opponent at home in even-numbered years to counter the lack of quality Pac-10 opponents. In 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 that will be the case, but in 2010 we play at Wisconsin, so the home schedule is particularly bad this year.

Jeff Metcalfe's articles in the Republic from September 2009 and February 2010 do a great job of describing the problems finding non-conference opponents. We came close to scheduling a 2010 home opener with Cincinnati and it sounds like we're trying to schedule more games with Colorado.

A final note: very little of this information comes from official sources. ASU's website has stopped showing future schedules. A good source is, but that site is not 100% accurate. A lot of the data right now comes from this article in the Arizona Republic from July 2009 and this press release from February 2010, which also includes the full schedules for 2011 and 2012. The Republic also keeps an updated future schedules page.

So let's review the current plans for future seasons. Click on links for announcements of specific games. Actual dates shown when known.

Year A B C
2010 @ Wisconsin (9/18) -- Portland State (9/4)
NAU (9/11)
2011 Missouri (9/10) -- Cal-Davis (9/3)
@ Illinois* (9/17)
2012 Illinois (9/8) -- NAU (9/1)
@ Missouri (9/15)
2013 Wisconsin** -- Sacramento State

Notre Dame*** (10/5)

2014 Notre Dame (10/25) @ New Mexico (9/13) Weber State (9/6)
2015 @ LSU (9/12) New Mexico (9/5) Cal Poly (9/16)
2016 LSU (9/10) @ UTSA (9/17) NAU
2017 @ Notre Dame (9/16) TBD TBD
2018 Colorado (9/15) UTSA (9/1) TBD
2019 @ Colorado**** TBD TBD

* There was some uncertainty about the sequence of the two games with Illinois. Most sources show ASU playing the Illini at home in 2011, and on the road in 2012. I am pretty sure this was the sequence when the series was first announced, but the schools later switched the years in which they would host. Many Illinois fan sites still have the 2011 game listed in Tempe but it is confirmed that the 2011 game will be in Champaign.

** The home game with Wisconsin was originally scheduled for 2012 but was later moved to 2013.

*** The 2013 game with Notre Dame is going to be played at Cowboys Stadium as part of Notre Dame's barnstorming tour.

**** The game at Colorado was originally scheduled for 2013 but was later moved to 2019 to allow ASU to play Notre Dame in 2013.