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Nicholls St. A Future Opponent?

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Nicholls St., a member of the FCS Southland Conference, has announced they will open the 2012 season against Oregon St.

No confirming statement has been made by the Oregon St. athletic department, but that could be due to the considerable reshuffling that would be required to make that possible.

The Beavers do have an unfilled schedule slot next season, and have been actively searching for an opponent to visit Corvallis to fill the slot. Currently, Oregon St. is scheduled to open the season in Provo, UT, against BYU, in the return game for this fall's contest with the Cougars.

It's possible that BYU, now scrambling to complete their schedule as an independent, could shift the Oregon St. game, or reschedule it for a future year. That would then require Oregon St. to find another FBS opponent on 1 year's notice. Currently, the Cougars' first open date is the Sept. 29 weekend.

Except for certain specific exceptions involving Notre Dame, permission, due mostly to the need for coordination of schedules, tv and otherwise, from the Pac-12 is needed for any non-conference game after the 4th. week of the season, but the Beavers received one this year for the BYU game.

The Colonels, who are coming off a 4-7 2010 season, schedule a couple of FBS opponents each season of late. Though not usually a BCS conference opponent. This year, they have Western Michigan of the MAC, and Louisiana_Lafayette of the Sun Belt scheduled. Tulsa, a member of Conference USA, is the other FBS opponent they have in next year's plans. Nicholls St. last faced a BCS conference school in 2006, when they lost to Nebraska 56-7 in Lincoln. They have ventured west before, as recently as a visit to Nevada in 2007, when the Wolfpack took a 52-17 win.

BTD will continue to monitor the situation, but the fact that the story comes from Nicholls St.'s official site, and in a statement by their Athletic Director, lends credibility to the idea that its a matter of putting together all the contractual details, and not something likely to fall apart.

Nicholls St. is the site where the New Orleans Saints conducted training camp while Oregon St. coach Mike Riley was an assistant coach there.

Charlie Stubbs, the Colonels' head coach has local ties as well, having been an assistant at Oregon St. under Dave Kragthorpe from 1985 thru 1990.

Hopefully, the BYU game will find a date later in the season. Oregon St. needs to avoid getting into a position like Arizona St. was last year, and Air Force finds themselves in this season, where they have to schedule 2 FCS opponents in the same year, and therefore win 7 games to be come bowl eligible. The situation where Cal had to schedule Presbyterian to fill out their schedule this year underscores the increasing difficulty many universities are having, especially now that there are only 13 weeks to work with.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com