MY WISH LIST FOR FUTURE OREGON NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS:
- Maryland Ok, this one is selfish. Living here in the Washington DC metro area, I'd love to see the Ducks come and play in College Park, a decent ACC team. They've been down the past few years, but they did manage to beat CAL in 2008 at home. The Ducks want to recruit in this area and what better exposure. ESPN/ABC loves these inter-sectional games.
- Virginia Tech Again, it's a team close to us D.C. Ducks (yes, we have a few hundred loyal fans here that gather for big watch parties). There is more to this than Maryland though, a team like the Hokies playing Oregon would garner lots of national attention and it's defense/special teams "Beamer Ball" as they call it in Blacksburg, against the flashy and high octane Ducks. A home and away series would be great; maybe even play the away game at Fed Ex field.
- Miami/ Florida State/ Florida Any one of these schools would be a great home and away series for Oregon. This has some to do with Oregon's aspiration to recruit in the sunshine state, but also if Oregon could go into one of these places and grab a win, it would go a long way nationally in terms of perception. Much like the game this year in Knoxville, it's huge to be able not just schedule these games but go into vaunted venues and get wins.
- Texas Oregon has recruited well in Texas (look at the current roster, and incoming recruits) but to be able to get Texas to Autzen stadium would be huge. The chance also, to get a game with the Longhorns in Austin would be a great showcase game.
- Honorable Mention: Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Alabama.
I'm a big believer in scheduling one team that you know you will beat (well, not know... but you get the point - a team that your 3rd stringers should get the job done), like some teams from the Sun Belt, or the San Jose States, or New Mexicos of the world. Schedule a second game versus a solid team, a second/third tier program- go and play a Colorado St, or a Kansas. (now, these games are scheduled years in advance, no way to really accurately gauge a programs rise or fall in 3-10 years) And then you schedule a big time game that will surely be on national TV and will generate some national buzz. Get games close to big TV markets, where recruits can see these games and make sure your program stays relevant.
One thing to note is that Oregon is not taking "Pay Day" games anymore. Years past we'd play at Notre Dame, or at Nebraska for the paycheck; meaning- these teams never returned the trip to Eugene. (Rarely, maybe a few trips out there and they came here once.... depends on what teams we are talking about). OREGON STATE does still do these payday games, because athletic directors see no gain in coming to Corvalis, rather they cut a check to the Beavers and tell them to just make the trip to their place (ie: LSU, Penn St.). Kudos to Oregon for having some respect, and demanding teams make the trip back to Eugene on the home/away series.