Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Takeaways from the 2015 football schedule

Today, the athletics department at Wofford College released the 2015 football schedule. Here are a few thoughts about how we fared this year, peppered with a few statistics and memories, bitter or not.

Two FBS opponents:
This upcoming season will mark the first time since 2009 that the Terriers are slated to face a pair of higher-division foes. Although it didn't end well in that fateful 3-8 campaign, it shouldn't by any means be too overwhelming this year. Wofford opens the slate at Clemson, which will be a short trip and a provider of some valuable local exposure. The last time these two programs encountered each other, it was a true dogfight until the second half, when the Tigers bowed up defensively and pulled out a 35-27 victory. 

Two weeks later, the Terriers must endure a long trip to Moscow, Idaho, to take on the Vandals, a program which has fallen on hard times lately. In fact, the expansion Sun Belt member finished 1-10 in each of the last three seasons -- only five triumphs have been posted since 2011 -- and has gone through three different head coaches in that span, the latest of which is Bobby Petrino's brother, Paul. This year's contest should provide this Terrier squad with a nice trip and an excellent opportunity on the gridiron.

Another shot at GWU: I would rather not bring this up again, but Wofford is in the midst of a rough two-game losing streak against the Runnin' Bulldogs. Hearkened by a rain-soaked 3-0 loss in 2013, the skid was lengthened last season with a third-quarter collapse and inevitable seven-point setback. The Terriers will get another chance to settle the score with a Sept. 26 matchup.

A refreshing change: Instead of non-DI opponents this year, we get a game against another FCS squad, and at home to boot. For the first time in over sixty-five years, Wofford will encounter the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, which hail from Cookesville, Tenn. I had almost forgotten about this.

Home sweet SoCon: The Terriers had a bit of a lackluster slate last season. The good news is, sites shift, and this year will bring a good (or at least a better) conference schedule. It's good that we have teams like Western Carolina and Chattanooga at home. We do, however, have them on back-to-back Saturdays; though a homecoming matchup with the Mocs does sound rather nice. We have an open date on Nov. 7, which directly precedes two home contests -- against Samford and Furman -- that close out the regular season.

On the road, Wofford will face the second-year members (Mercer, VMI) and The Citadel.

The full schedule:
Sept. 5 - at Clemson (Clemson, S.C.)
Sept. 12 - Tennessee Tech (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Sept. 19 - at Idaho (Moscow, Idaho)
Sept. 26 - Gardner-Webb (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Oct. 3 - at Mercer (Macon, Ga.)
Oct. 10 - at The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.)
Oct. 17 - Western Carolina (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Oct. 24 - Chattanooga (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Oct. 31 - at VMI (Lexington, Va.)
Nov. 7 - OPEN
Nov. 14 - Samford (Spartanburg, S.C.)
Nov. 21 - Furman (Spartanburg, S.C.)

In short, I like this schedule. Our conference slate is rather favorable, and the non-conference slate -- whether it be the "money games" or the home encounters with Gardner-Webb and Tennessee Tech -- has its own share of excitement.

And, if you're wondering, I already can't wait for football season.

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