This is something that began surfacing after the initial BCS rankings were released. In the true spirit of stereotype-based, Internet half-truth, the reason why Kansas State and Oregon canceled a planned series for 2011 and ’12 has already been painted as a Bill Snyder masterpiece.
Maybe so, but even the greatest artist can’t create without the tools to do so.
To give Snyder full credit isn’t fair to Oregon, which ducked the contract just as much as K-State did; so much so that the universities walked away from the agreement with no buyout money exchanging hands. With Pac-12 expansion (and its impending scheduling impact) in full-swing, Oregon’s then new athletic director Rob Mullens saw much less of a need for games/series like with K-State, which saw the possibility of nine Big 12 games on its horizon.
Then, less than two months after Oregon mutually agreed to part ways with both K-State and New Mexico, Georgia and the Ducks canceled a series for 2015-16, again with no buyout.
“I texted (Mullens) and asked him if they’d have any interest in canceling,” then-new Georgia AD Greg McGarity said. “And he said absolutely, he was gonna call us.”
In other words, while those games would have been fine in place, Oregon had its own reasons for walking away.
Despite that, Oregon media explained the mutual splits as other teams backing out (which, of course, is becoming today’s sexy conversation hook) and leaving the poor Ducks to scramble for opponents. (That’s a much easier issue to handle if Oregon was willing to ante up, or play neutral-site games. But, who wants to do that?) The lack of buyouts, as the explanation goes, were simply the Ducks trying to keep things “amicable” between the programs. In today’s cash-is-king, everybody-wants-seven-home-dates scheduling landscape, is anything done in the interest of staying amicable?
Of course not.
Regardless, for some to paint the cancellation as a fully purple one-off isn’t right. Snyder made the call, sure, but Oregon obviously was fine with letting all three 2012 non-conference opponents go (Montana State was granted an out, but it had to find a replacement) plus Georgia.
Perhaps Chip Kelly aside, all of those decisions were M-U-T-U-A-L.
On an off-chute…
If someone wants to use the Oregon cancellation as some misguided point toward K-State having a weaker schedule, technically it would be true. But, have them check Phil Steele, who pegged K-State’s slate, sans Oregon, in June as the 34th-toughest , while leaving the Ducks somewhere outside his Top 50. And, there are other charts out there, like this one, that say K-State’s scheduling artwork is much better than myth or Internet or both may suggest.
In the end, all of this makes for great fodder, but at least pretend to keep it in some context.