I want to start this out by saying that Tim Curley has done a tremendous job for the University's athletic department as a whole. Penn State athletics, overall, are as fine as any institution's in the country. From out dominant volleyball teams, to our stellar gymnastics squads, all the way down to our dynastic women's soccer team, winners of 11 straight Big Ten titles, we've been very blessed with success in so many areas that most schools dream of. We also have great facilities, including the biggest football stadium in the country, and one of the best on-campus baseball stadiums in the North.
However,Curley's policies increasingly seem to be harming our most visible sports: football and basketball. The Sunday morning after Texas Tech upset Texas, and jumped us to #2 in the rankings, I was really upset, and not because I felt we were getting the shaft. The truth is, we got what we deserved. We had a horrible non-conference schedule. Granted, it included a Syracuse that was a 10 win team when they were scheduled years ago, and a pretty good Oregon St. team, but it also included Temple and Coastal Carolina. But the day undefeated Penn State was jumped by Texas Tech is the day I started questioning the world's sanity.
Things are only going to get worse this season. Our non-conference lacks any substantive opponent.
In a time when the Big 10 is under assult in the media, we can't afford to have these cupcakes on our schedule anymore without it coming back to burn us later on. Florida and Oklahoma, media darlings that they are, can. We have to find a way to counter this.
Its time for Curley to make a statement. Schedule as many BCS conference teams as possible, 4 being the optimal number every year. Let there be no doubt when we're being compared to other teams. Make OUR schedule the ones people compare others to. And we don't have to concede home games to do this. Not every BCS team is as stubborn as Pitt, and most wouldn't refuse to come to State College for less than a home and home series. The Nebraskas and Alabamas of the world probably wouldn't, but you never know if you could get the basketball schools of the Big East to come in on a two-for-one, or one and done basis. South Florida and Cincinatti both came to Penn State in 2005, their first year in the Big East. Oregon St. pulled a one-and-done with us this year. My point is that there are pleanty of teams that should appeal to Penn State for non-conference games more than Coastal Carolina, and its only by our own ignorance that they're not being scheduled.
As for basketball, there is absolutely no reason that Penn State basketball should be in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament in their best season ever. None. Its ridiculous that we're sitting here talking about a 21-win, big conference team that STILL isn't assured of getting in.
That falls completely in the lap of the athletic director. Our SOS is almost a full 30 spots lower than any other Big 10 team. How does that happen? I mean, this isn't even a matter of the people we scheduled not living up to expectations. THEY ALL STINK! We could have easily gone 11-2 in the non-confrerence with some better competition on the schedule. But we didn't.
I'm sick of having to apologize for our schedules. We Are Penn State. We shouldn't be afraid of playing people. The basketball team should be playing at least 3-4 games against teams from Big 6 leagues every year. We only played one in 2008-2009, and only because we were obligated to because of the Big Ten-ACC challenge.
I think its time the fans and media began holding Curley's feet to the fire in terms of scheduling. Its getting out of hand, and some day, possibly in the not-so-distant future, its going to bite us in the butt.