Virginia Tech, Cal Poly, and the Real World

Michael Hunt, of the Journal Sentinel, joined the chorus of boos over the Cal Poly game as senior day, and the absence of Virginia Tech from the Badgers' 2008 schedule (here).

I like Hunt's sports-guy-ish take on all things Wisconsin sports, but on this one he's wrong. Sure, it's going to be tough to get too excited about going to the game against Cal Poly in late November. Sure, it would be nice to watch a game against a national power in VaTech. Nonetheless, Bielema and Alvarez did the right thing in asking VaTech to reschedule.

Because of the way the Big Ten schedules its conference games, the athletic department didn't know at the time it scheduled VaTech for September 20, 2008, that the conference schedule would start at Michigan, then Ohio State, Penn State, at Iowa, Illinois, then at Michigan State, without any breaks. In years past, you would figure that's the toughest four teams in the Big Ten (Badgers notwithstanding) in consecutive weeks. Today it's the five toughest in six weeks, with nemesis Iowa as the "off" week.

If you like watching Wisconsin play for a shot at the Big Ten title, or a shot at a BCS or the Capital One bowl, you like Bielema and Alvarez's decision to put off VaTech. If VaTech were September 13, instead of Fresno State, that would be fine. If VaTech were coming in 2009 on Sept 19 (currently an open date), followed by Michigan State, then at Minnesota, again, fine. But even Ohio State wouldn't want our schedule with VaTech added on September 20.

It's nice to have high profile games against nationally recognizable teams. We'd all like to see more of them, but not at the expense of reason. With the Big Ten doing what it did to the Badgers on scheduling, VaTech needed to go.

In the mean time, we can look forward to a big game at Fresno State (no slouch), and future dates with Pac-10 powers Arizona State and Oregon State (quietly the 3rd best team in the Pac-10 this decade), yes, Virginia Tech, and maybe (hopefully?) even Notre Dame (see here).

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