UMass announces huge slate of future football games; will play BYU, Army and Hawaii in upcoming seasons



Last modified: Saturday, October 11, 2014

AMHERST — With independence on the horizon, the UMass football program officially announced games spanning the 2016-2022 seasons.

The release was highlighted by four-game series with fellow independents BYU and Army, and a two-game series against Hawaii.

UMass will face the Cougars in Provo, Utah, in 2016 (Oct. 8) and 2017 (Nov. 18) and will host them in 2018 (Nov. 10) and 2019 (Nov. 23). It’s likely those games will be at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The Minutemen are at Army in 2019 (Nov. 9) and 2021 (Nov. 12), and will host the Cadets in 2020 (Nov. 21) and 2022 (Nov. 20).

Playing in Honolulu will be the longest trip the Minutemen have ever taken, just over 5,000 miles and spanning six time zones. UMass is at Hawaii in 2016 (Nov. 26) and will host the Warriors in 2017 (Oct. 7). NCAA rules allow any school playing a game at Hawaii to schedule 13 regular season games. The Minutemen, which have seven road games set for 2016, could schedule four more home games, although athletic director John McCutcheon was skeptical.

“I don’t think we’d want to do that, going 13 games in a row,” he said.

The Tennessee game (Nov. 4, 2017), which was reported earlier this week, will come with a $1 million guarantee.

UMass renews its rivalry with Appalachian State, whom it faced in the 2006 FCS Championship game. The teams will meet in Boone, North Carolina, on Oct. 29, 2016, and in Amherst or Foxborough on Oct. 28, 2017. App State joined the FBS this season and plays in the Sun Belt Conference. Another FBS newcomer, Charlotte, which officially moves up next year, is at UMass on Sept. 22, 2018 and hosts the Minutemen on Sept. 14, 2019.

While the Minutemen are leaving the Mid-American Conference, they’ll still play Ohio University. The two-game series will be played on Sept. 30, 2017, and Sept. 29, 2018, with UMass hosting the first game.

Troy joins the Minutemen’s schedule in 2016 in Alabama and completes the series in 2018 at either Amherst or Foxborough.

The slate marks a change in philosophy to some degree. After scheduling almost exclusively games against Power 5 conference opponents for the first few seasons in FBS, the Minutemen have moved to schedule some lesser caliber foes. Besides Tennessee, the only games against Power 5 teams from 2016-22 are against Florida (2016), Boston College (2016) and Colorado (2021).

UMass is becoming an independent after turning down the MAC’s ultimatum to join the league in all sports or be ejected in football. McCutcheon said the Minutemen will be independent for at least the 2016 and 2017 seasons. While UMass is seeking a new home for its football program, he said it wouldn’t be realistic to enter a new league that quickly. He tried to limit the game commitments after 2017 to protect the program’s scheduling flexibility should a conference invitation come for 2018. McCutcheon said if an offer to join a league came, he’d seek to work with the opponent to move any conflicting games. If that wasn’t successful, UMass would have the option of paying the buyout clause in the contract.

UMass has nine games scheduled for 2016 and 2017. NCAA rules require a team to play at least five home games and only two of the games scheduled in 2016 are at home — UConn and Rhode Island.

“The 2016 season is still a work in progress. We have to get three home games,” McCutcheon said. “That’s going to be a challenge with the shortness of where we are in the scheduling process for football.”

Because most leagues are playing strictly conference games from mid-October into November, finding late season games can be tough for independents. UMass was able to schedule at least two November games in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and one each in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

McCutcheon said the Sun Belt, which has 11 teams, was willing to accommodate UMass. The odd number of schools means at least one Sun Belt team each week isn’t playing a league game.

“We had conversations with the Sun Belt and they were willing to work us into the later schedule when they built their conference schedule,” McCutcheon said. “We still have that option (in the future). We could have scheduled more of those games further out than we have. But we didn’t want to get overcommitted too much further than 2018.”

The following is a break down of games scheduled for each year after UMass becomes an independent:

2016

Scheduled: Sept. 3 at Florida; Sept. 10 vs. UConn; Sept. 17 at Boston College; Sept. 24 vs. Rhode Island; Oct. 1 at Old Dominion; Oct. 8 at BYU; Oct. 29 at Appalachian State; Nov. 5 at Troy; Nov. 26 at Hawaii.

Needs: UMass had to schedule at least three home games to reach NCAA mandated five home games. It could add four because of the Hawaii rule.

2017

Scheduled: Sept. 2 at UConn; Sept. 9 vs. Old Dominion; Sept. 16 at Temple; Sept. 23 at Indiana; Sept. 30 vs. Ohio; Oct. 7 vs. Hawaii; Oct. 28 vs. Appalachian State; Nov. 4 at Tennessee; Nov. 18 at BYU.

Need: Three games, at least one at home.

2018

Scheduled: Sept. 1 at Boston College; Sept. 15 at FIU; Sept. 22 vs. Charlotte; Sept. 29 at Ohio; Nov. 3 vs. Troy; Nov. 10 vs. BYU.

Need: At least six games, including two at home.

2019

Scheduled: Sept. 14 at Charlotte; Nov. 9 at Army; Nov. 23 vs. BYU.

Need: At least nine games, including four at home.

2020

Scheduled: Nov. 21 vs. Army.

Need: 11 games, including at least four at home

2021

Scheduled: Sept. 11 at Colorado; Nov. 20 at Army.

Need: 10 games, including five at home.

2022

Scheduled: Nov. 12 vs. Army.

Need: 11 games, including at least four at home.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage


 


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