The long awaited (and I do mean long!) Big East schedule has finally been released. Since we have already broke down the non-conference let’s take a look at the conference schedule and see where the key stretches lie for the Bluejays.
Right off the top I’d like to say who knows at this point how good any team will really be. But we can take a look at historical trends and see where some pitfalls may arise.
The Jays will open up the schedule at Seton Hall on December 28th. This game is part of a Big East doubleheader on FS1 so a 5:30 pm start time is in order. Yes, for those of you who are not off during the holidays you need to rush home from work and get settled in early. If you have to open up at one of the favorites in the league this is not a bad place to start. The Jays have generally played well at Seton Hall and this will be a great measuring stick to kick off the season. And to win on the road in the opener would be a huge bonus for CU. On the other hand, opening the league schedule against the most dominate big man in the league, given the worries about Creighton’s rebounding issues, could be trouble.
The Jays then begin a two game home stand against Providence and St.John’s. The game against Providence is on New Year’s Eve day at 1:30. At first upon seeing this I was pretty pumped as last year’s New Year’s Eve game was a great atmosphere. But then upon seeing it is on a Sunday, the last day of the NFL season, my enthusiasm was dampened. Never have been a huge fan of these Sunday games that conflict with the NFL. Luckily this is the last game of the year and generally most things are decided by then so missing some NFL action may be ok for one week.
CU then travels to Georgetown to face a team most feel will be at the bottom of the league. It’s a noon eastern start so generally these games don’t draw the greatest crowds—an excellent chance for CU to get a road win. After returning home to face Butler they return to the road to face another big boy, Xavier. Now the Jays have had pretty good success at the Cintas Center over the years so there is always a chance to steal a win here. That concludes the first third of the schedule. Holding serve at home should net a 4-2 start which would be a great first step.
Then things get really tough. After a return game with Seton Hall at home the Jays play four of their next five on the road with the only game at home against lowly Georgetown. In this stretch the Jays travel to Philly and Wells Fargo arena for their first match up against Villanova. A .500 record through this stretch would be huge.
The schedule then flips with the Jays playing four of the last six conference games at home including a home and home with Marquette. Even though there are several home games the challenges are great with games against Villanova and Xavier. For the second straight year senior night will not be the final game of the regular season and again the Jays end the season on the road at Marquette. Anything thing over .500 in this stretch would be outstanding.
In closing I would also like to mention that besides the conference schedule one more game was added to the schedule. For the second year in a row the Jays will play a non-conference game during the conference season against a Division II foe. Frankly, this is a very troubling trend. I will give the Jays’ staff a pass this year but I would hope this would not continue in years to come. Basically, this is fleecing the season ticket holders by making them pay for a game that is nothing more than a scrimmage that does not count towards your all important RPI rankings. I would hope in the future that other alternative methods of filling the schedule are explored to avoid these D-II matchups during the conference season.
An exhibition game at the beginning of season? Yes that’s fine as everyone looks forward to seeing the team for the first time and seeing how everyone meshes with each other. A game that sort of counts and is placed towards the end of the conference season? We can do better.