Around the country, schools are starting up their spring practices, raising excitement for the upcoming season. While UMass’ spring camp doesn’t start until March 20, that doesn’t mean we have to wait until then to start getting excited.
UMass’ schedule has been out for some time, and now seems as good a time as any to take a look at how the schedule shapes up for the 2017 season. Here it is:
|at Coastal Carolina
|vs. Old Dominion
|vs. Georgia Southern
|vs. Appalachian State
|at Mississippi State
|vs Maine(at Fenway Park)
It’s the Minutemen’s second go-round as an FBS Independent, and like last year, their independent status sees them trekking all around the country in their six road games. They go as far west as Provo and as far south as Florida. While they don’t have any games at Gillette Stadium this year, they do take on the Maine Black Bears at Fenway Park on November 11.
Coach Mark Whipple will try to improve on the Minutemen’s 2-10 record from last season. While it’s certainly a doable task, it’s by no means an easy one, as the Minutemen have a tough slate ahead of them filled with formidable foes.
One interesting feature of the schedule is that UMass will start its season earlier than most teams, during college football’s “zero week”. This August 26 matchup with Hawaii will allow UMass to have a bye week later in the season, and give the team a chance to rest. The home match-up with Hawaii is one of UMass’ most winnable games, as they have a chance to avenge their 46-40 loss to the Rainbow Warriors in the final game of last season.
Welcome to the Show
UMass’ second game of the season will be the first ever FBS game for Coastal Carolina. However, even though Coastal is new to the FBS, that doesn’t mean that the game will be easy for UMass. Coached by former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia, the Chanticleers are a tough matchup, and no doubt will be fired up. Add in the fact that it’s a road game for the Minutemen, and they could be in for a fight.
Chance for SEC-cess?
Sorry, that pun was terrible. UMass once again has a couple of SEC schools on the schedule, in Tennessee and Mississippi State. Last year, UMass played a couple of SEC teams close, losing 34-28 to South Carolina, and 47-35 to Mississippi State. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that UMass could pull off an upset in one of these games, especially since they return a lot of talent from last year. UMass has 14 returning starters, including quarterback Andrew Ford, last season’s leading rusher Marquis Young, and last season’s leading receiver Adam Breneman on offense, as well as sack leader Da’Sean Downey, and leading tackler Steve Casali.
UMass Meets the Green Monster
Lastly, while there aren’t any games at Foxboro this year, UMass and former FCS rival Maine will face off in Fenway Park on November 11, which has the potential to be an extremely cool spectacle, and, ideally, a win for the Minutemen. It’s one of three games at Fenway this season, as Brown will play Dartmouth the day before UMass takes the field, and UConn will play Boston College the next week. It will be interesting to see how the field conditions are for the UMass-Maine game in the wake of the Brown-Dartmouth game.