Scheduling Smart

Part of Northwestern week.

A week or two back, Eagle in Brighton mentioned being a huge proponent of the "like academic" approach to college football scheduling. Of course, I support this statement 100% and would love nothing more than to see programs like Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Northwestern and Vanderbilt dot BC's non-conference schedule for future seasons.

One program that has done an amazing job of following this "like academic" approach in recent years has been Northwestern, under the direction of AD Jim Phillips (and his predecessor Mark Murphy, who went on to become president of the Green Bay Packers).

It's as if the Northwestern AD sat down a few years back, thumbed through the US News & World Report National University rankings and called up every athletic director of a school listed in the top 40 looking for a home-and-home football series (in between calls to the Eastern Michigan, Towson and Illinois State ... we all need to schedule a few cupcakes here and there). Just in the past 10 years, Northwestern football has faced Duke five times, Vanderbilt once and Rice once (second half of the home-and-home will be played this year). In those seven games, the Wildcats have recorded a record of 6-1 overall.

And that's just the beginning. NU also has future football series with Boston College (2 games), Vanderbilt (3 games), California (2 games), Notre Dame (2 games), Stanford (5 games) and Duke (4 games). Personally, I think it's a great scheduling philosophy for a school that might feel a bit isolated in the Big Ten as the conference's lone private school.

You can see GDF beginning to schedule in a similar manner, with upcoming series with Northwestern (2 games), USC (2 games) and Notre Dame (6 games). Hopefully, there are more of these non-conference games against the nation's best universities going forward for the Eagles. Let's get the Cals, UCLAs and Vanderbilts back on the schedule. Make it happen, Gene.

After the jump, a look at the top 15 USN&WR National Universities that field a Division I-A football program and their record in non-conference, regular season games against one another (in last ten years, 2001-2010). 

Top 15 FBS, USN&WR National Universities Non-Conference, Regular Season Records vs. One Another (2001-2010)

Team (USN&WR Ranking in Parenthesis) GP W L Pct.
Northwestern Wildcats (12) 7 6 1 0.857
USC Trojans (23) 12 10 2 0.833
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (35) 5 4 1 0.800
Boston College Eagles (31) 10 7 3 0.700
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (25) 6 4 2 0.667
Michigan Wolverines (29) 10 6 4 0.600
UCLA Bruins (25) 4 2 2 0.500
North Carolina Tar Heels (30) 2 1 1 0.500
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (19) 44 20 24 0.455
Stanford Cardinal (5) 14 5 9 0.357
Vanderbilt Commodores (17) 14 5 9 0.357
Duke Blue Devils (9) 11 3 8 0.273
Rice Owls (17) 7 1 6 0.143
Virginia Cavaliers (25) 2 0 2 0.000
California Golden Bears (22) 0 0 0 0.000

Head-to-head non-conference record (excluding bowl game matchups*), 2001-2010:

SU DU NU RU VU UND CAL USC UCLA UVA WFU UM UNC BC GT
Stanford N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 3-7 N/A N/A N/A 0-0 1-1 0-0 0-0 1-1 0-0
Duke 0-0 N/A 1-4 1-1 1-2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A N/A 0-0 N/A N/A N/A
Northwestern 0-0 4-1 N/A 1-0 1-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0
Rice 0-0 1-1 0-1 N/A 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Vanderbilt 0-0 2-1 0-1 2-0 N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-3
Notre Dame 7-3 1-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A 0-0 2-8 2-0 0-0 0-0 4-5 1-1 2-6 1-1
California N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A N/A N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
USC N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 8-2** N/A N/A N/A 2-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
UCLA N/A 0-0 0-0 2-0 0-0 0-2 N/A N/A N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Virginia 0-0 N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-2 0-0 N/A N/A 0-0 N/A N/A N/A
Wake Forest 1-1 N/A 0-0 0-0 3-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A N/A 0-0 N/A N/A N/A
Michigan 0-0 0-0 N/A 0-0 1-0 5-4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0
North Carolina 0-0 N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A N/A 0-0 N/A N/A N/A
Boston College 1-1 N/A 0-0 0-0 0-0 6-2 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A N/A 0-0 N/A N/A N/A
Georgia Tech 0-0 N/A 0-0 0-0 3-0 1-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 N/A N/A 0-0 N/A N/A N/A

* Bowl matchups were excluded because ADs don't have any influence on bowl pairings. Yes, BC lost to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl. Whatevs.
** USC's vacated its 2005 victory over Notre Dame, but the Irish L stays on the board. 8-2 in last 10. What a "rivalry!"

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