UMass' 2011 football schedule is set, regardless of FBS decision
Published: Friday, March 25, 2011, 5:53 PM Updated: Friday, March 25, 2011, 9:19 PM
AMHERST - The University of Massachusetts has announced an 11-game football schedule, but it could grow to 12.
As the Minutemen review a likely move to the Football Bowl Subdivision, they released their 2011 slate of games as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.
Even if UMass declares it is moving up to the FBS, the listed schedule will not change. Announcing the 2011 schedule with Football Championship Subdivision teams does not prohibit UMass from making the switch at any time.
If UMass does move up in the upcoming weeks, it would have the option of adding a 12th game for 2011. That would be in accordance with FBS rules.
The timetable thus would begin for a three-year transition to the FBS, with the current FCS schedule in place for 2011, and a mixed FBS and FCS slate for 2012.
In 2013, the Minutemen would move to a full FBS schedule and become bowl-eligible. The school is seriously considering such a move, probably to the Mid-American Conference, and an announcement could be coming soon.
In the meantime, the team will prepare for a season that will open on a Thursday night and include a game at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium for the second straight year.
Times of all games will be announced at a later date.
UMass will open on Thursday night, Sept. 1, against Holy Cross at Fitton Field in Worcester. They are then off until Sept. 17, when they open their home season and CAA schedule against Rhode Island at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.
It might be the last Amherst visit for age-old rival Rhode Island, at least as a CAA member. The Rams' final season in the CAA will be in 2012, after which they will move to the Northeast Conference in 2013.
On Sept. 24, the Minutemen will play their annual game against an FBS opponent when they meet Boston College at Chestnut Hill.
The following week, they will travel to Norfolk, Va., for a new opponent. Old Dominion is joining the CAA, as is Georgia State, which is not on the schedule.
An Oct. 8 home game against Central Connecticut completes their non-conference play. After a road game at Delaware the following week, UMass will play New Hampshire at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 22.
The first such meeting at the Patriots' stadium drew 32,848 IN 2010. This year will technically be a UMass home game.
The Minutemen finish with games at Richmond, at home against Villanova, at Maine and home against James Madison.
UMass was 6-5 last year under Kevin Morris, who will begin his third season as coach. The Minutemen have a new defensive coordinator this season in Frank Forcucci, who served on the UMass staff from 1999-2003.