UMass Announces 2012 Football Schedule
March 29, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - Home games against Ohio, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Central Michigan highlight the UMass football program's Mid-American Conference schedule as announced by the league office on Thursday. The MAC schedule will officially begin on Sept. 22 as the Minutemen head to Miami. In all, UMass will play an eight-game MAC schedule with non-conference games at Connecticut, at home against Indiana, at Michigan and at Vanderbilt.
The Football Bowl Subdivision era will officially begin on Aug. 30 at UConn. Season tickets are on sale now and can be ordered by calling 866-UMASS-TIX, going to www.UMassAthletics.com or by going to the Mullins Center Box Office. All home games in 2012 and 2013 will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
Times for games will be set at a later date. The game against Central Michigan at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 23 is part of a flex package for ESPNU/ESPN3. The televised league game on that date will be determined 12 days in advance.
UMass will be a member of the East Division of the MAC along side Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami and Ohio. The league's West Division will be made up of Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan.
The 2012 season will mark the first meetings between UMass and nine schools on the gridiron. It will also be a renewal of two series which were last played in the late 1990's as the Minutemen will face UConn and Buffalo once again. UMass and former Yankee Conference/Atlantic 10 rival Connecticut will meet for the first time since 1999 - the year before the Huskies transitioned to the Football Bowl Subdivision. Likewise, the Minutemen will face Buffalo for the first time since 1998 when the Bulls were also in their final year at the FCS level.
As part of the transition process, UMass will not be eligible this season to win the MAC Championship or qualify for a one of the league's five bowl games. The Minutemen will be eligible for both during the 2013 season which will mark the conclusion of UMass two-year transition process in moving from the Football Championship Subdivision to the FBS level.
The 2012 season will be the 130th for the UMass football program. UMass had been a FCS member since 1978 when the division was first formed. In that time span, UMass won 22 conference championships, made eight (8) NCAA Tournament appearances winning the 1998 National Championship Title and played in the NCAA Championship game three times (1978, 1998, and 2006). UMass was a member of the Yankee Conference, the Atlantic 10 and most recently the Colonial Athletic Association.
Leading UMass into the FBS Era will be Charley Molnar who was announced as the program's new head coach on Dec. 8, 2011 after serving as the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame. A 28-year coaching veteran, Molnar is most well known for developing dynamic and prolific offensive attacks at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and Central Michigan. In his time at those schools, the Morristown, N.J., native helped them to a 59-20 record and seven straight bowl games including Cincinnati's historic 2009 season where the Bearcats won the Big East Conference Championship, played Florida in the Sugar Bowl and finished 3rd in the BCS rankings.
OFFICIAL MAC RELEASE: MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES 2012 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Cleveland, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced its 2012 football schedule today with a minimum of nine regular-season national television games on ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 highlighting the conference schedule.
The 2012 season will also once again feature a six-week over-the-air syndication package in September and October produced and distributed by ESPN Regional Television (ERT). The six games, which can also be seen on ESPN Game Plan and ESPN3, will be announced in June.
The regular season will conclude with the 15th MAC Football Championship game on Friday, Nov. 30 at Ford Field in Detroit on ESPN2. This will mark the ninth MAC Football Championship game at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, Super Bowl XL, and the 2009 NCAA Men's Final Four.
Most of the television exposure will occur with nine mid-week league games during the season which will be televised by ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 as the conference race unfolds in both the East and West divisions. Four games will air on ESPN2, four games on ESPNU and one on ESPN3.
This season will also feature the debut of UMass as the newest member of the MAC. UMass will begin conference play for the 2012 football season and will be eligible for the conference football championship game and a bowl game beginning in the 2013 football season.
For the fifth year in a row, league schools will face a formidable non-conference slate of opponents from the following Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A) conferences - ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 and SEC. In addition, the conference will also face independents Army and Navy, as well as Boise State from the Mountain West Conference.
A total of 12 of the schools' non-conference games will feature an opponent from the Big Ten (Illinois, Indiana (2), Iowa (2), Michigan, Michigan State (2), Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue). The MAC will match up with a foe from the SEC (5--Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt), Big 12 (1--Kansas), ACC (2--Clemson, Virginia Tech), Big East (8-- Connecticut (3), Cincinnati (2), Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida), PAC-12 (1-Arizona), Mountain West (2--Boise State, Wyoming), WAC (2--Idaho, New Mexico State), Conference USA (2--Central Florida, Marshall) and Sun Belt Conference (1--Florida International).
MAC programs continue to increase the number of home or neutral site games against FBS Automatic Qualifying (AQ) Conferences. This season the MAC will host eight games against FBS AQ conference foes including--Northern Illinois hosting Iowa in a neutral site game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sept. 1; Indiana (Big Ten) at UMass (Sept. 8); Michigan State (Big Ten) at Central Michigan (Sept. 8); UConn (Big East) at Western Michigan (Sept. 22); Kansas (Big-12) at Northern Illinois (Sept. 22); South Florida (Big East) at Ball State (Sept. 22); Cincinnati (Big East) at Toledo (Oct. 20); and Pittsburgh (Big East) at Buffalo (Oct. 20).
In addition, Akron will host Central Florida (C-USA) on Aug. 30; Bowling Green will host Idaho (WAC) on Sept. 8; Ohio will host New Mexico State (WAC) on Sept. 8; and independent Army will visit Eastern Michigan on Oct. 20 and Navy will visit Central Michigan on Oct. 13.
Current MAC schools that hold full membership and the year they joined are -- East Division: University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947). The University of Massachusetts (2012) competes in the East Division in football only.
The conference office is based in Cleveland, Ohio.