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: Tennessee (Nov. 12), Cincinnati (Dec. 14), at Alabama (Dec. 21), Wake Forest (Dec. 28), Battle 4 Atlantis (Nov. 28 – 30) which includes a round 1 game against Iowa, a round 2 game against either Tennessee or UTEP and a round 3 game against either Kansas, Wake Forest, Villanova, USC
Rest of slate: Gardner-Webb (Nov. 8), Morehead State (Nov. 15), Miami (Oh) (Nov. 20), Abilene Christian (Nov. 25), Bowling Green (Dec. 7), Evansville (Dec. 10)
Steak: Strip steak
Analysis: There’s nothing really that blows you away with this schedule, but there certainly is plenty of quality. Tennessee is a good team that will provide an early test in the second game of the season. Traveling down to Alabama in late December will provide Xavier with a true road test right before conference play kicks off. Before that there is a reasonable chance that the Musketeers will see the Kansas Jayhawks in the championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis. And their cross-town rivalry game with Cincinnati (at home this year) had a brawl break out two years ago. So yeah, this is a respectable non-conference schedule that will get Xavier plenty prepared for what’s to come in the Big East.
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: St. John’s (Dec. 31), Butler (Jan. 4), Marquette (Jan. 9), at Creighton (Jan. 12), Georgetown (Jan. 15), at DePaul (Jan. 20), at Providence (Jan. 25), Seton Hall (Feb. 1), at Villanova (Feb. 3), Providence (Feb. 8), at Butler (Feb. 11), at Marquette (Feb. 15), DePaul (Feb. 19), at Georgetown (Feb. 22) at St. John’s (Feb. 25), Creighton (Mar. 1), at Seton Hall (Mar. 3), Villanova (Mar. 6)
I’d say the schedule makers were pretty kind to the Musketeers by giving them three straight home games to begin league play with. And after that I’d say the rest of the slate is fairly neutral. The two straight road games at Georgetown and St. John’s in three days aren’t appealing, but that’s really the only noticeable difficult stretch. Xavier should have no problem adjusting to life in the Big East.