South Carolina’s athletic department has announced a home and home series with … Central Florida. In a move of questionable wisdom USC agreed to play at Central Florida’s stadium in 2013 in exchange for a return trip in 2015.
The decision to schedule Central Florida follows on the heels of a decision to play Navy in 2011. Both of these decisions are brought to you by the brilliant minds that thought a four game series with East Carolina would be a good idea. None of the three decisions was a good idea.
The point of scheduling is to maximize the number of quality wins your team can get or will get. One way of accomplishing this is to schedule a quality opponent who you may or may not beat. Another way is to schedule a lesser opponent to allow your team to rest or prepare for their other quality opportunities. None of the above teams qualify for either, and none of them qualify for the same reasons.
East Carolina, Navy and Central Florida are all capable of beating South Carolina, but if South Carolina beats anyone of them it is unlikely that it will be considered a quality win. Thus, the team is in a no win situation. Win and you are expected to and don’t get any credit from it; lose and you’ve been upset by a team from outside the BCS conferences.
For some reason the athletic department has chosen to ignore this principal lately, but they haven’t always. The home and home series against North Carolina, for instance was a good idea, as was the series with NC State. While neither team ended up being very strong, they both have respectable programs, and there was a better than average chance that they would be quality opponents at the time they were scheduled.
According to The State newspaper “USC Associate Athletics Director Charles Waddell said the home-and-home series with a team from a mid level conference was attractive financially.” It may be a good idea financially in the short term in that it will cost less to travel to Central Florida than it would be to pay a team to come, but it won’t do anything to help in the long term building of the program which is where our financial viewpoint should be focused.