Washington coach Chris Petersen has acknowledged that the Huskies’ nonconference schedule this month isn’t an ideal setup. Actually, he doesn’t believe it’s possible to have a perfect nonconference schedule.
Washington coach Chris Petersen has acknowledged that the Huskies’ nonconference schedule wasn’t an ideal setup. Actually, he doesn’t believe it’s possible to have a perfect nonconference schedule.
“You’re not going to have your ideal situation. If that happens, you’re just lucky,” he told The Times earlier this month. “You’re trying to find unique matchups in that nonconference season, but I think the Pac-12 is where our focus is.”
The Huskies wrapped up their nonconference schedule with a smashing of Portland State on Saturday, their third blowout win in three weeks. UW averaged 58,823 fans for those three games at Husky Stadium, which has a capacity of 70,038.
Many fans have expressed frustration at the lackluster nonconference schedule, which is surely part of the reason the Huskies haven’t come close to selling out the stadium this season — even with the team ranked in the top 10 for the first time in 14 years. There appeared to be 25,000 empty seats at the start of Saturday’s game.
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“We get it: We want to play games that our fans are excited about, but we’re always trying to find that balance with who we can get to play,” Petersen said.
First-year athletic director Jennifer Cohen said she likes the traditional A-B-C model of scheduling nonconference games, meaning one game against a team from a Power 5 conference, one game against a mid-major type program and one against a lower-level program.
The Huskies’ nonconference schedule isn’t all that exciting next year, either, but it gets better after that.
In 2017, UW’s’ nonconference schedule includes a trip to Rutgers (Sept. 2), plus home games against Montana (Sept. 9) and Fresno State (Sept. 16).
The 2018 nonconference schedule includes three home games against North Dakota, Nevada and BYU.
In 2019: vs. Eastern Washington, vs. Hawaii, at BYU. In 2020: vs. Michigan, vs. Sacramento State. In 2021: vs. Montana, at Michigan.
Cohen has said she’s looking for a marquee opponent for a home-and-home series in 2022 and 2023. Those types of matchups are typically arranged about five years in advance, and she said making those matchups work is “more challenging than people think.”
“As much as we love Husky Stadium — we know it’s the greatest setting in college football — it’s geographically really far. A lot of the schools we’ve been talking to don’t have alumni bases here and they’re not recruiting in the state of Washington significantly, so those are all factors that other schools are looking at when they’re trying to decide the home-and-home series,” she said.
• True freshman safety Taylor Rapp, out of Bellingham’s Sehome High School, got his first start in UW’s nickel defense.
• DE Jaylen Johnson and CB Austin Joyner, both nursing unspecified leg injuries, did not play Saturday.