For better or worse, let's put the 2010-11 basketball season behind us and look forward to next winter. And, lucky for you, blogging is about the only thing I can do now as I fight an infection that has me coughing up all over my laptop (related note: don't borrow my laptop).
The Pac-10 conference website released the Pac-12's upcoming basketball schedule... and we now know what the Cougs are up against as the round-robin goes away and unbalanced scheduling becomes the norm.
Let's do a quick rundown:
Thursday, Dec. 29th - vs. Oregon Ducks
Saturday, Dec. 31st - vs. Oregon St. Beavers
Of course WSU opens with the Ducks. Nothing ever goes wrong in those games. And of course the conference sticks us yet again with games to be played in the middle of winter break, when Cougar students are not on campus. Bill Moos will likely ship these games up to Spokane, but I've said something once and I'll say it again: these games should be played in Seattle. They would be more likely to draw larger numbers of students and alumni (although, unfortunately, more road fans as well) and it will help keep recruits from the West side interested in our program. Since Ken Bone will likely sink or swim with how much talent he can pull from the Seattle Metro Area, this really can't hurt.
Thursday, Jan. 5th - at Utah Utes
Saturday, Jan. 7th - at Colorado Buffaloes
Our first trip to the newbies is our only meeting with either school in the upcoming year. We'll be Utah's Pac-12 home opener, too, so no pressure there. Although, maybe we'll get blown out in Utah, then go on an improbable and unbelievable run to the NCAA tournament. Hey, It's happened before.
Saturday, Jan. 14th - at Washington Huskies
Thursday, Jan. 19th - vs. Stanford Cardinal
Saturday, Jan. 21 - vs. California Golden Bears
Ah... the Bay Area series, where we can seemingly never avoid a split. The good news is we do not honor them with a road trip next season.
Thursday, Jan. 26th - at Arizona St. Sun Devils
Saturday, Jan. 28th - at Arizona Wildcats
Thursday, Feb. 2nd - vs. USC Trojans
Saturday, Feb. 4th - vs. UCLA Bruins
This is the four game stretch that will possibly make or break our tournament chances, assuming we have chances at this point.
Thursday, Feb. 9th - at Oregon St. Beavers
Saturday, Feb. 11th - at Oregon Ducks
Thursday, Feb. 16th - vs. Arizona Wildcats
Saturday, Feb. 18th - vs. Arizona St. Sun Devils
Saturday, Feb. 25th - vs. Washington Huskies
The UW game will be senior night, because even the new Pac-12 seems to love to do that to us. Maybe we need to schedule Directional Michigan State U. as a late non-conference game and guarantee our seniors can leave with a win.
Thursday, March 1st - at UCLA Bruins
Saturday, March 3rd - at USC Trojans
Lord help us if we need to win both of these games at this point in the season.
Also of note is that the Pac-12 yearly pairings were released, so we now which four teams we only play one game against from year to year. Hopefully this doesn't mean much, in the event all our dreams come true and the Pac-16 becomes a reality in the next five years. Nevertheless, I've grouped our one-game opponents by the year the season ends.
2012-2013 seasons: STAN, CAL, COLO, UTAH
2014-2015 seasons: USC, UCLA, ARIZ, ASU
Only one game each against the two most dangerous programs in the conference? Sign me up.
2016-2017 seasons: ORE, OSU, CAL, STAN
So much for Pac-12 North brotherhood.
2018-2019 seasons: ARIZ, ASU, USC, UCLA
2020-2021 seasons: COLO, UTAH, ORE, OSU
Don't worry. I have it on good authority from numerous people who know nothing about science or Mayan Culture that we won't even make it past December of next year.