That’s one thing that I don’t spend a lot of time with because I have no control over it. They just deal it out to you and then you look at it and then try to manage it. If I like it or not, I don’t think it makes any difference. —BYU head coach Dave Rose
PROVO — For the past couple of seasons in the West Coast Conference, the schedule dictated that most of the league’s 10 teams play two home games in one week or two road games in one week against opponents located in relatively close proximity in terms of geography.
Changes to scheduling, however, have several teams splitting home and road games in a single week.
There used to be "travel partners" and a set pattern for scheduled games. For instance, BYU and San Diego would travel to LMU and Pepperdine or San Francisco and Santa Clara the same weekend.
Now, the schedule is more random.
To open conference play this season, BYU hosted Santa Clara, then traveled to Loyola Marymount two days later. Last week, the Cougars visited Saint Mary’s Thursday and then hosted Pacific Saturday. BYU fell to the Gaels 81-69 but thumped the Tigers 91-62.
That’s how the Cougars’ schedule is laid out for the entire month of January. This week, BYU entertains San Francisco Thursday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv) and travels to San Diego Saturday.
Then in February, BYU will have either two home games or two road games each week.
“The first five weeks we split and then the last four weeks we play two home games or two road games. If you look at the schedule, that’s kind of how everybody is,” Rose said. “For us, January is a home game and a road game and then when we get to February, we’ll get back-to-back home games or back-to-back road games. We’ll just deal with it. That’s one thing that I don’t spend a lot of time with because I have no control over it. They just deal it out to you and then you look at it and then try to manage it. If I like it or not, I don’t think it makes any difference.”
The WCC coaches voted in favor of this type of split scheduling because by starting conference play a little bit later in the month of December, it provides opportunities for teams to schedule non-conference games, or play in tournaments, around Christmastime, Rose said.
“We felt like the games before Christmas, for league games, made it really hard to schedule (non-conference games),” Rose said. “There are a lot of really good opportunities to get pretty good games for our league that weekend. That was probably the main reason.”
In the recent past, WCC teams would have two weeks with only one game on the schedule, against its travel partner. Now, every team plays two games every week.
The toughest adjustment with the new scheduling format is “traveling to a home game,” Rose said, like the Cougars did last week. After playing at Saint Mary’s, BYU then had to make the trip back to Provo to get ready to face Pacific.
“It’s different,” Rose said. “You’ve got to manage it somehow. Our guys responded pretty well. Next week we play Thursday at home and Saturday on the road. That seems a little bit more normal. When you play that Thursday night game on the road and then travel for a home game, it just feels a little bit different.”
BYU (12-5, 3-1) hosts San Francisco (11-6, 1-3) Thursday. The Dons, under first-year coach Kyle Smith, fell at home to Saint Mary’s 63-52 last Saturday.
Senior guard Ronnie Boyce leads USF in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game. USF defeated Utah in the Diamond Head Classic in December 89-86.
“I’ve seen them play twice,” Rose said of the Dons. “They’re a really well-coached, execution kind of team. Offensively, they spread you out and shoot threes. I saw the game they played in Hawaii against Utah, where they hit 17 or 18 threes. That’s enough to let you know that it’s going to be a battle. Kyle Smith, I’ve known him for years. He’s got those guys playing really well.”