The Washington Times - October 24, 2008, 01:08PM

Had one interesting note from Patriot League media day I meant to pass along regarding American.

The Eagles, who were picked to win the league for the second straight year, face the sort of home/road imbalance that many teams outside the top 10 or so conferences must contend with.


American gets 11 home games and 17 away from Bender Arena. Take out conference games and it it’s a 4/10 split.

On paper, that stinks. But the Eagles have done some strategic scheduling that has the potential to pay off in the long term.

Yes, there are 10 nonconference road games. But five of them are against Howard, Georgetown, George Washington, UMBC and Maryland.

That might not be fun competitively, since Georgetown is a likely NCAA tournament team, UMBC won the America East last year and Maryland will wish to avoid a repeat of last year’s home loss to the Eagles.

But the physical and financial toll won’t be as a severe after a rough November. In a seven-week stretch starting Nov. 30, American will travel more than an hour or so from campus just once —- a Dec. 29 visit to Manhattan that comes a week after its most recent game.

There’s a lot of reasons to like the Eagles to make a run at another Patriot League title, most notably Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer. A schedule that doesn’t run them into the ground before Christmas can only help.

—- Patrick Stevens