BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo still says 'no to Texas' for Maryland
I still say no to Texas.
On Aug. 7, the BTN bus tour pulled into College Park, Maryland, to do our fall camp show. During the show we discussed the Maryland-Texas game. I said a lot of bad things about Maryland playing that game. You can watch it all in the video above. I said what I said because when my emotions take over on the desk things aren’t always rational. I’m sure I overstated certain aspects of my opinion – occupational hazard. Whatever it was, it couldn’t be that bad because as Howard Griffith often says, “Don’t cuss on TV,” or you will mess this gig up, and I’m still here.
As you probably know, Maryland beat No. 23 Texas, which, of course, was perfect for all those that disagreed with me about scheduling the game. After the game, and throughout the following day, many people and I had a spirited conversation on Twitter. Maybe one civil way to sum up the conversation was from the tweet below.
So, let me explain what I’m trying to say about non-conference scheduling. Every school should have a philosophy that fits its program. There should be an internal discussion by the decision makers about what the philosophy should be. This discussion and decision should be to protect the program, the present and future coaches from having a schedule that makes it more difficult to build and or maintain a program. A few examples are Ohio State playing Oklahoma and Michigan playing Florida. It seems obvious that both OSU and Michigan want one non-conference game to be a game against a big-name program. The history and success of their programs support the decision to play these games. I think these are great non-conference games. Another example is Northwestern recent game against Stanford, and this year’s game against Duke. Their decision is to play one non-conference game against a team with a similar academic reputation. Iowa vs. Iowa State seems to be someone’s philosophy that these two instate institutions should get together every year. Michigan State/Notre Dame, Purdue/Notre Dame tradition can be part of the philosophy – I get these games.
Maybe I’m a little over-sensitive to this subject, but I’ve had personal experiences that have made me this way. I’ve witnessed where the reason we were playing certain non-conference games was for financial reasons, leverage to schedule a basketball game against the same school and one year playing only 11 instead of 12 games, five at home and six on the road.
But aside from my personal experiences, the best non-conference schedules are the ones that are scheduled under a philosophy of some sort. After we left Maryland on the bus tour, we headed to Rutgers. As we traveled from College Park to Piscataway, the non-conference discussion became somewhat heated in the back of the bus. As usual, it was Howard and Revver vs. me, and, as usual, I thought my best strategy would be to just talk or yell louder than the other two, and, as usual, we just decided to agree to disagree. But I had a plan. I needed to find someone to agree with me. Patrick Hobbs, the athletic director at Rutgers, was my mark. Patrick was one of our guests on the Rutgers bus stop. I couldn’t resist and so I asked him the question, “What’s your philosophy on your non-conference schedule?” His answer was to “build confidence in our team.” You can take that any way you want – I know how I take it.
The way I see this is that the non-conference schedule should be built like this. If your program is where you want it to be, play one big non-conference game and the others should be teams that if your program is in order you should always have better players. If your program is not in order, or has historically struggled, take the lead from Hobbs.
So maybe I misread the historic and present state of the Maryland program, but if I didn’t, I still say no to Texas.
— Gerry DiNardo