Maine defensive back Jamal Clay (15) wraps up Massachusetts running back Stacey Bedell (23) during their NCAA football game in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday Sept. 7, 2013. Maine defeated Massachusetts 24-14. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
To get some of its high-profile conference games televised, the Mid-American Conference has annually moved games off Saturday and to a weeknight, when ESPN or one of its networks would carry the game.
It its first two seasons in the league, the University of Massachusetts didn’t figure to be enough of a draw to land one of the weeknight slots.
But in the MAC schedule that was released Friday afternoon, the Minutemen will play twice in prime time, including one in Amherst, during Mark Whipple’s first year back as the program’s head coach.
UMass will host Ball State on Nov. 12, at 8 p.m., on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. It’s the program’s first ever Wednesday game. The following week, the Minutemen will travel to Akron for an 8 p.m. Tuesday game on either ESPN networks.
The 2014 schedule features UMass’ return to Amherst for three games. The Minutemen will play an evenly split slate between a renovated McGuirk Stadium and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
The team’s Sept. 27 game against Bowling Green will be the first game back at McGuirk, which will feature a new facilities building and new press box, which are scheduled to be completed this summer. In addition to Bowling Green and Ball State, UMass will host Buffalo in Amherst on Nov. 28, the annual MAC day-after-Thanksgiving tilt.
UMass opens the season on Aug. 30 against Boston College at Gillette, and plays Colorado there the following week (Sept. 6). Band Day is remaining in Foxborough as the school will host high school musical marchers from the region on Oct. 18 (Eastern Michigan).
The Minutemen will play nonconference games on the road at Vanderbilt (Sept. 13) and Penn State (Sept. 20).
Including Akron, UMass’ MAC road games are all in Ohio as they play at Miami (Oct. 4), Kent State (Oct. 11) and Toledo (Oct. 25).
Other than the weeknight games, none of the kickoff times have been determined.
SPRING GAME — Perhaps preparing for midweek MAC play, UMass will host its annual spring football game under the lights at McGuirk on April 16.
Spring football practice begins March 9.
Date Game Location
Aug. 30 vs. Boston College, Gillette Stadium
Sept. 6 vs. Colorado, Foxboro, Mass. Gillette Stadium
Sept. 13 at Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn.
Sept. 20 at Penn State, University Park, Pa.
Sept. 27 vs. Bowling Green, McGuirk Stadium
Oct. 4 at Miami (Ohio), Oxford, Ohio
Oct. 11 at Kent State Kent, Ohio
Oct. 18 vs. Eastern Michigan, Gillette Stadium
Oct. 25 at Toledo Toledo, Ohio
Nov. 12 vs. Ball State, McGuirk Stadium, 8
Nov. 18 at Akron, Akron, Ohio, 8
Nov. 28 vs. Buffalo, McGuirk Stadium
All game times TBA unless noted