On a busy soccer Saturday (Champions League Final, Mexico v Ecuador at Qwest, Sounders v Real Salt Lake) the University of Washington released its soccer schedule for the coming fall. It is a schedule that should help their RPI come tournament selection time with Dawgs playing 2010's #4 (Cal), #6 (SMU), #8 (UCLA), #21 (Tulsa) and #34 (Florida Gulf Coast) all ranked higher than they were.
Coach Jamie Clark sees this as a schedule to prepare his team for something beyond the regular season (linked above)
"Playing in the Pac 12 guarantees us one of the toughest schedules in the country each year," said new head coach Jamie Clark. "Our team wants to measure itself versus the best and we are fortunate that our conference does just that."
The PAC12 lacks a full slate of teams, in fact only 5 actual members have men's soccer teams, so the Huskies are adding to their schedule with local sides Gonzaga, Seattle U and Portland. This doesn't just reduce their costs, but also helps them recruit locals with only Oregon State operating a PAC12 team. While the MLS Academy system continues to grow most of those players will go onto college rather than directly to MLS, and this should raise the quality of play at the college level. With lower costs and bigger budgets due to the new PAC12 TV deal more schools should explore adding teams, not for the greater good of the sport, but because there is a greater chance they produce professionals in this sport than any other non-revenue sport.