I’ll post several blog entries on this, because it’s a subject around which there’s a lot of discussion. Some may say it’s a tired subject, but I think it’s an important one.
It also, of course, is not an easy one.
In general, I think U of L athletic director Tom Jurich is right. You can’t go playing road games all over the place with no promise of a return game. At the same time, I think you can pick your spots. I thought the game at Auburn would have been a good spot — because it’s a game in which the Cards would have been favored, and would have brought immense benefit with a victory.
In fact, a win at Auburn, I think, would’ve ensured even a one-loss U of L team a BCS bid.
I know, it’s crazy that the system might work that way. But nobody ever said it wasn’t a crazy system.
The most compelling argument U of L had for not taking the Auburn game was revenue. Giving up a home game costs a lot of money, particularly when you’re gearing up for stadium expansion.
My point wasn’t that U of L should start taking a lot of no-return games. It was that U of L could have taken this one and won it.
And the benefit to the program might have exceeded dollars and cents.
One question I get a lot: Why is U of L having so much trouble getting home-and-homes? They used to get them with teams like Texas and Tennessee and Penn State.
The problem is that the college football landscape has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. The facilities arms race has put a premium on home-game revenue, such that nobody travels away from home for major non-conference games anymore. Well, not many teams do, anyway.
The other factor, of course, is that U of L has gotten better. It’s one thing to hit the road for an easy win. It’s another to risk getting beat.
Why Vanderbilt is willing to go to Michigan, but not willing to come to U of L, is another story. But in the end, what does beating Vanderbilt prove if you’re U of L anyway? Or Georgia Tech for that matter.
When it comes to this discussion, the subject is purely big game hunting. And it just seems to me that to land any of really big game (top 15 or better in the non-conference), U of L is going to have to visit someone else’s neck of the woods. At least once or twice, just to get the ball rolling.
More to come, including a full transcript of the discussion with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, and some comments from former Miami coach-turned ESPN analyst Larry Coker, plus a look at some of the subjective ways in which U of L matches up with the big boys.