Off the field, football at Eastern Washington is progressing right on schedule, thank you.
With two more high-profile deals announced in the last two weeks, athletic director Bill Chaves checked off the last boxes on the Eagles’ nonconference schedule through 2016 and is one game away from completing the 2017 slate.
A 2017 date at Texas Tech fills the final hole in a series of six big-payday games through 2019: at Washington this year (with a guarantee of $450,000), at Oregon in 2015 ($450,000), at Washington State in 2016 ($400,000), at Texas Tech ($475,000), at WSU in 2018 ($425,000) and UW in 2019 ($550,000).
That’s a total of $2.75 million, on top of games the past three seasons at UW, WSU and Oregon State.
There’s another bonus in playing FBS schools, especially in the Northwest: recruiting. “It gives you help to play them, added help if you play well, and even more juice if you win,” coach Beau Baldwin said.
Last week, the Eagles announced a two-game, home-and-home series with FCS powerhouse North Dakota State in 2016 and 2017; Northern Iowa is on board in 2015 and 2016, while Big Sky Conference rival Montana State is a designated nonconference game this year and in 2015.
Said Chaves last week, “Certain teams in the FCS world are having trouble scheduling other FCS schools,” giving Eastern a better chance to schedule them.
Eastern still needs two nonconferences games in 2018 and three in 2019, when NCAA rules will allow a 12-game schedule. (FCS teams are allowed to play a 12th game every six years.)