Before we actually look at the schedule, a brief summary of how it will be expertly graded (but if you’ve already read this on a previous installment, please feel free to skip ahead to the schedule so that you don’t get too annoyed with the repetitiveness).
The most common ways to assign a ‘grade’ to something is by using a letter (A+ to F), or on a scale (maybe 1 to 10), or even the simple pass/fail will suffice. However, the non-conference schedule grades for all 10 Big East teams done here at Play for the Garden will be using the STEAK grade. Nope, that’s not an acronym for some fancy advanced calculation. That is steak as in the kind you eat. Why? Because I like steak and can’t think of any reason not to. Anyway, the grading scale looks like this:
Cube steak (weak): low quality piece of meat, but you gotta throw something on the frying pan on Tuesday nights
Filet mignon (getting better): very high quality piece of meat, but just not enough there
Rib eye steak (neutral): More times than none, this is what you’re probably cooking on your backyard grill. Quality piece of meat (if cooked properly), but you know there’s better.
Strip steak: (almost there): Now were talking about a large tender cut of meat with that right amount of fat infused.
T-bone/Porterhouse (strongest): Containing meat from two of the most prized cuts of beef (short loin and the tenderloin), this is the boss of steaks.
Noteworthy games: CBE Hall of Fame Classic (Nov. 25-26) includes a round 1 game against Wichita State and a round 2 game vs. either BYU or Texas. The Blue Demons also square off with Oregon State at home (Dec. 1) and Arizona State at home (Dec. 6).
Rest of slate: Grambling State (Nov.9), Southern Miss (Nov. 13), Wright State (Nov. 16), at Milwaukee (Nov. 19), Florida Atlantic (Dec. 12), Chicago State (Dec. 15), Houston Baptist (Dec. 18), at Illinois State (Dec. 22), at Northwestern (Dec. 27)
Steak: Cube steak
Analysis: If it wasn’t for the guaranteed game against Wichita State in the first round of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, this schedule would be a joke. This would be a school lunch cube steak. Not to disrespect any of these other teams, but scheduling a game at a bottom tier Big Ten school is nothing to pat yourself on the back about (unless that is they are expecting big things from Northwestern this year). My expectations for DePaul are low, but I want to be sort of optimistic entering this year given some new pieces they are welcoming. But by not really challenging themselves outside of the holiday tournament, this team is missing out on playing better competition that would be beneficial before venturing into Big East play.
Big East schedule notes:
Given that the Big East is now a 10-team conference, a true round robin format (each team plays every other member at home and away) will be conducted. There is no question about it, this is the fairest way to determine a regular season champion, but very few conferences have this ability. However, when and where these games are played still matters.
Big East schedule: at Georgetown (Dec. 31), at Marquette (Jan. 4), Creighton (Jan. 7), at Butler (Jan. 9), St. John’s (Jan. 14), at Villanova (Jan. 18), Xavier (Jan. 20), at Seton Hall (Jan. 25), Providence (Feb. 1), Georgetown (Feb. 3), at Creighton (Feb. 7), Villanova (Feb. 12), at Providence (Feb. 15), at Xavier (Feb. 19), Marquette (Feb. 22), Seton Hall (Feb. 25), at St. John’s (Mar. 2), Butler (Mar. 6)
Coming out of the non-conference portion of the schedule DePaul only has to start at Georgetown, at Marquette, then home for Creighton. But I’m sure they’ll be prepared for that. The Blue Demons could be better than in the recent past, which means maybe winning three to four conference games. And there are those that think Butler could be taking a big step back this year. So it is possible that the last game of the season could be a battle to stay out of the cellar. Cut me some slack – I’m trying to find some excitement here!