Saturday, March 19, 2011

The 2012-2013 Schedule Puzzle

Yep, the inaugural NCAA schedule is a puzzle. But we don't have any of the corner pieces, just a couple unidentifiable ones from somewhere in the middle, and maybe one from the edge. Let's review and stare blankly at the lid of the box.

In case you forgot, there was this from back in November:
Now that the Nittany Lions are officially in the queue — they're to debut as a Division I independent and have tentatively scheduled a series with the Badgers at the Kohl Center in 2012-13 — all that's left is the formal announcement that the Big Ten is all in with men's hockey.
That Andy Baggot fellow is ridiculously on top of things. Recall that he's also behind the recent Mark Johnson story.

Then, early Friday morning, we get this tidbit, courtesy of an Inside College Hockey interview with Atlantic Hockey commissioner Robert DeGregorio Jr.
I believe Penn State, their initial announcement, they don’t plan on elevating the program until 2012-13. I can tell you this: I believe there are at least five teams in our league that have scheduled them for that year.
If you're new to this, Atlantic Hockey consists of Air Force, American International, Army, Bentley, Canisius, Connecticut, Holy Cross, Mercyhurst, Niagara, RIT, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart. Upon reading the DeGregorio quote, I took a wild guess at the five on Twitter, and was corrected by none other than Teddy Hume (who has his account protected, so that last link won't work for you unless you follow him).
@tytblog Army, Air Force, UConn, and RIT are 4 as far as my limited knowledge goes
Wow, I crushed that one with my guess of Robert Morris, Mercyhurst, Holy Cross, UConn and Niagara. In fairness to myself, I actually had a scintilla of thought behind those picks (mostly related to previous scheduling), Hume only named four and DeGregorio said "at least" five.

Robert Morris in particular seems natural to me. One reason: the Icers played the varsity Colonials in 2005 and 2006 (coincidentally on October 8th both years) and the principals on both sides - coach Derek Schooley and AD Craig Coleman in the RMU corner - are still in place from back then, other than the not-yet-hired PSU coach of course. Another one: RMU being in Pittsburgh provides an excellent chance for Joe Battista to make a couple phone calls and book out the CONSOL Energy Center for a Penn State "home" game, since we'll probably try to play as few of those as possible at the Ice Pavilion.

Also, you have to think that a lap around the Big Ten as a warmup to the full conference schedule (likely starting 2013-2014) is possibly in order. Wisconsin just happens to be the one of the five schools with an Andy Baggot spilling tidbits like that. And I haven't even mentioned Bill Downey's Harvard program yet...

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