UVa goes bold in nonconference scheduling

Take a look at what Virginia has done with its nonconference scheduling over the next six years.

  • Oregon in 2013 and 2016

  • BYU in 2013 and 2014

  • Boise State in 2015 and 2017

  • UCLA in 2014 and 2015

  • Stanford in 2017 and 2018

Three of those teams have made BCS appearances in the past four seasons. All five went to bowl games last year. All five finished with eight or more wins. And let's not forget, the Hoos will play a return game against Penn State, on a date to be determined.

Are the Hoos crazy, or crazy like a fox?

Given where college football is headed -- with more weight given to strength of schedule in the new postseason format -- I applaud what the program has decided to do. I most especially give the Hoos a standing ovation for going on the road to play Boise State, a program that has had a heck of a time finding anybody from the top conferences to go to the blue turf.

To that point: Virginia and Michigan State are the only automatic qualifying conference schools located outside the Northwest that are set to play the Broncos in Boise.

Are the games on the docket hard? Yes. But:

1. As of today, UVa has a max two of these games set per year.

2. You are not going to be able to play yourself into the national championship conversation with wins over Puff Pastry U., Cupcake U. and Little Sisters of the Poor.

3. Marquee games like this give UVa more national exposure than it would get from a game against a team from the Sun Belt.

This was a clear strategic decision, one that was made with an understanding that folks want to watch good football teams, a high risk-higher reward that boosts credibility with actual victories.

"The 2015 and 2017 seasons could end up being two of the toughest schedules in the history of our football program and we hope they will excite and energize our fans, student-athletes and recruits,” said Virginia executive associate athletics director Jon Oliver in a statement.

The recruits part seems to be working.

While it is tough to predict whether the 2017 schedule is going to be as tough as it looks today, there is no doubt Virginia has decided to be aggressive with the way it schedules. If the Hoos can win a few of these games, they will be much better off. If they lose them, well, their ACC title -- and Orange Bowl hopes -- would remain intact.

You just have to love the moxie.