UMass to face Georgia in football and men's basketball

UMass schedules football, basketball games with SEC school in 2017 and beyond

  • Georgia mascot Uga X walks on the field before the Bulldogs’ Spring Game. AP file photo

  • UMass football will visit Georgia’s Sanford Stadium in 2018 and play ‘between the hedges.’ AP file photo

  • Sanford Stadium is shown in the second half of an NCAA college football game between Georgia and Troy Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

To add to his school’s future football and men’s basketball schedules, UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford turned to an old rival.

Bamford, who was the associate athletic director at Georgia Tech before being hired at UMass, announced the Minuteman football and men’s basketball teams will be facing Georgia, Tech’s biggest rival, in upcoming seasons.

The Bulldogs will host the Minutemen at Sanford Stadium on Nov. 17, 2018. Georgia will pay UMass, $1.5 million for the football game.

The two schools will play basketball in Amherst during the 2017-18 season and in Athens, Georgia in 2018. The basketball dates have yet to be finalized. The two schools have never played in either sport.

“I am pleased we have scheduled a 2018 football game ‘between the hedges’ at Georgia,” Bamford said in the UMass release referencing the Bulldogs’ legendary shrubbery around Sanford Stadium. “It will be a great experience for members of our football program and will provide us increased visibility against an SEC opponent in an area of the country where Coach (Mark) Whipple and his staff are recruiting prospective student-athletes. In addition, we are also thrilled to schedule a home-and-home basketball series with the Bulldogs in future years.”

UMass has 11 FBS games scheduled for the 2018 season. It will likely add an FCS game to complete the slate.

The 2018 schedule currently includes road games at: Boston College (Sept. 1), Georgia Southern (Sept. 8), Florida International (Sept. 15), Ohio University (Sept. 29), Connecticut (Oct. 27). UMass hosts: Charlotte (Sept. 22), South Florida (Oct. 6), Coastal Carolina (Oct. 20), Troy (Nov. 3) and BYU (Nov. 10).

Georgia’s Sanford Stadium, which hosted soccer during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics holds 92,746 fans. A 2015 USA Today story ranked Georgia at the nation’s No. 6 best atmosphere for a college football game.

UMass has only played in two larger stadiums – Michigan and Penn State – but the Minutemen will play at Tennessee in 2017 at Neyland Stadium, which is larger.

Georgia is the sixth SEC team, UMass has scheduled since becoming an FBS team in 2012 joining Florida, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com.