The Buccaneers schedule for the 2012 season was released yesterday so if you have yet to see it, here it is, as posted by Buccaneers.com
|Sun.||Sept. 9||CAROLINA||4:15 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 16||at N.Y. Giants||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 23||at Dallas||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 30||WASHINGTON||4:15 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 7||Bye Week|
|Sun.||Oct. 14||KANSAS CITY||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Sun.||Oct. 21||NEW ORLEANS||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Thurs.||Oct. 25||at Minnesota||8:30 PM||NFLN|
|Sun.||Nov. 4||at Oakland||4:05 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Nov. 11||SAN DIEGO||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Sun.||Nov. 18||at Carolina||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Nov. 25||ATLANTA||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 2||at Denver||4:05 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 9||PHILADELPHIA||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 16||at New Orleans||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 23||ST. LOUIS||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 30||at Atlanta||1:00 PM||FOX|
Fans wasted no time debating where the Bucs will wind up given the contests, opinions ranging from another 4-12 season to the Bucs winning the NFC South. The biggest issue for those believing it will be another dismal season is the fact they are basing their assumptions off the 2011 team. Throw that out the window, and while you’re at it, toss out 2009 and 2010 as well. This is not and will not be remotely close to the Bucs we have known the last few years. Yesterday, coach Schiano had day one of his three day voluntary mini-camp. As widely reported, he wasted no time setting the tone with what is sure to be known as a daily mantra; details. Though the media was only allowed to view the first 30 minutes, a Tweet by Stephen Holder from the Tampa Bay Times added plenty of insight on how different things are at One Buc Place.
Given the need to impress the new head coach, just how voluntary the camp is can be left to debate. However, the fact most of the team stayed late gives insight into a new level of commitment fans can expect.
All of this is relevant because no matter how tough a game may look at first glance, it is important to understand there is no barometer from which to gauge this current Bucs team against. There is an understanding of the opponents talent levels, but to say this team cannot compete with the best is unfounded. Of course, saying this team can compete with the best is also unfounded. Still, an argument can be made that no other team has made such drastic changes for the better.
As Pat Yasinskas pointed out in his NFC South Blog for ESPN, the Bucs have the second toughest road schedule in the division, just behind that of the New Orleans Saints. However, the Bucs also have the division’s easiest home schedule, their opponents combining for a .461 winning percentage last season. What his analysis does not point out, is overall, the Bucs have among the leagues easiest strength of schedule based on overall records. Also, the current plan to “ground and pound” matches up well against a majority of the Bucs 2012 opponents.
So before any opinions are firmly drawn, take a minute to consider that it is nearly impossible to gauge things until we see the Bucs in action. In reality, the final analysis is there is no analysis to truly be made. At least not yet.