It’s safe to say some people have been a little hard on the scheduling recently (although note that I don’t put the blame on Sterk and Bennett, who work their tails off to bring good teams to Pullman).
Well, I really should give some props to Louisiana State, who earlier this spring inked that home-and-home deal that will bring another BCS conference team to Pullman in the near future. LSU coming to WSU means another large school is willing to make the trek to the Palouse (Baylor comes to town this fall), or possibly to Seattle for the 2009 Hardwood Classic. It’s good scheduling all around, although it does give Trent Johnson two more chances to coerce refs into calling fouls on Cougar big men.
The Cougs have laid a good foundation for the fall’s schedule – home games with Baylor and Gonzaga, the road trip to LSU, and now the Legends Classic in New Jersey that includes several BCS teams (further details on Cougfan).
This is the next step on the Cougs’ march to being a big-time program. Being a Spokane native I watched as the Zags gradually started bringing teams to Spokane or Seattle. It’s an arduous task that can take years, and it often starts with the little guys (in this case, WSU) taking the attitude that they will play anyone, anywhere, anytime. WSU has the advantage of being a Pac-10 school, but the disadvantage of being an hour and a half away from a somewhat major airport. It will take time, but the LSU deal is a step in the right direction.
So raise a glass to LSU – they didn’t hire Bennett (more Tony’s decision than theirs), and they have the guts to make a road trip to Pullman. Now if we could just get Duke on board for a home and home…