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UCLA Needs to Focus on Fixing its Football Program, Not a Game in Cowboy Stadium

So Dan Guerrero shared this news from his "blog" this week:

During my tenure as a member of the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee, I conducted a site visit at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 2008 while it was still under construction to ascertain whether it could possibly serve as a future venue for the NCAA Final Four. Soon after this tour, Cowboys Stadium was indeed selected to host the Final Four in 2014.

As part of this visit, Jerry Jones walked me around and shared his vision for the stadium. Of course, football is his love, and he was adamant when he stated that there would be no finer venue in which to experience a football game. Soon afterward, it became my vision to somehow get the Bruins to play in that stadium and allow our fans to truly enjoy that special experience.

I am pleased to announce that this vision will come true in the not-so-distant future. We have negotiated a deal that will feature the Bruins playing an early-season game against a marquee opponent at Cowboys Stadium. An official announcement should be coming in the next few days.

Bruin fans, make sure to get those cowboy boots ready because the two-step awaits.

Aah. Okay. Cowboy boots? Ha ha. So funny. No, not really. I think others have chimed in on this "blog" thing enough here on BN. You can read it here and here. So I will just let that part of this story go.

On the actual news itself we have number of issues with this news. First, as UCLA alums we always want our Bruins to play in high profile games, against glitzy opponents in national venues. That is always fun. However, it is not going to matter much if the Bruins do not have a program that is worthy of playing at that stage. That is not going to happen unless there is a regime change in Westwood. More thoughts after the jump.

Last time we discussed OOC scheduling on this blog was around summer, when I brought up the idea of UCLA scheduling Boston College (because of how much fun we were having working with BC Interruption around SBN 12 Pack project). In the discussion thread of that post, we located this link which gives UCLA's tentative scheduling for next few seasons.

With schedule in mind here are few thoughts:

  • 2012 schedule is already set with season opener at Rice and then Nebraska and Houston at the Rose Bowl in following weeks. Unless Rice and Houston are backing out of this commitment, I imagine 2012 will be out. The other possibility here is playing the "undercard" game at the Cowboys stadium against Rice setting up for bigger games. That would be seriously lame.
  • 2013 would be a bad year to schedule this game because the Bruins already have a tough road trip slotted that year in Lincoln. Nebraska.
  • 2014 is not great either because Bruins are tentatively scheduled to come out to Virginia

So I am not sure what Guerrero is thinking. If I were putting together a football schedule that sets up a team well, I'd look at a model where Bruins are scheduling one marquee game on the road with two manageable games at home. Ideally we should be looking at always scheduling 7 home games every season.

I would want to play (1) a game against Texas State, Idaho, New Mexico, or some team of that caliber (at home), (2) a road game in a state we want to improve our recruiting in (at Houston, at Rice, at USF, at UCF), and a more exciting game against a good or decent BCS-conference school (one game a year against the likes of Texas, Nebraska, etc. But it can also be the games like Virginia, Rutgers, it doesn't need to be a powerhouse every year).

So scheduling a game at the Cowboy Stadium in next three years does not appear to make a lot of strategic sense. The only justification I can think of is if the Bruins somehow line up a massive pay day by playing Rice there next year or Nebraska the year after (two games already on the schedule). If that is the case, that will be yet another data point, taking away the excuse of UCLA athletics not having enough resources to improve our football programs (including generating funds for making our facilities legit and hiring of high profile coaching staff).

In any event, UCLA athletics should not be making any major scheduling decisions with regards to its football program until we have a new coach in place. It should be the new coach who should have a major say in what games UCLA schedules and where.

I am glad that Guerrero "envisions" Bruins playing in the Cowboy stadium, but UCLA's primary focus should be on re-establishing our football program as a national power, instead of hoping and praying somehow, someway Rick Neuheisel is going to back into the Pac-12 championship game thanks to an awful Southern Division. The focus in Westwood should not be on wasting key strokes on "cowboy boots," but on a wholesale regime change fixing our ailing football program.