2012 NEC Football Composite Schedule
- There should be no shortage of excitement come Week 1 of the 2012 Northeast Conference football schedule.
All nine NEC teams will take to the gridiron during that first week of college football, and six of them will face either a FBS opponent or a FCS program that found itself ranked in the AFCA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll at the conclusion of the 2011 campaign.
Stiff competition is not something NEC teams will face only in Week 1.
In addition to the always-intense intra-league matchups that ultimately decide the recipient of the NEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs, the 2012 schedule contains a healthy number of premium out-of-conference opponents. One-third of the non-conference opponents NEC teams will face this fall either have FBS status or finished no lower than 16th in the final 2011 AFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
More than 50 percent of the NEC’s non-league opponents hail from either the Patriot League or the vaunted CAA.
NEC teams will most-frequently meet members of the Patriot League during non-conference play. Two of the eight matchups between the two peer leagues will feature defending Patriot League champion Lehigh. Representatives from the NEC and CAA will clash on the gridiron on seven occasions in 2012, including a pair on Opening Weekend.
becomes the first to kick off the 2012 slate when it visits Sun Belt (FBS) member Florida Atlantic on August 31. Walt Hameline’s Seahawks will become the second-ever NEC program to face a NCAA FBS member, joining Central Connecticut, which played at Western Michigan during the 2007 campaign.
One day after Wager sets it all in motion, Robert Morris
will face the defending NCAA FCS champion in Fargo, ND. Joe Walton’s Colonials will lift the lid off 2012 against North Dakota State on September 1 in the FargoDome, the same venue where the two teams clashed in a 2010 NCAA FCS playoff matchup.
will visit Lehigh, which earned the No. 6 national ranking in 2011, and Central Connecticut
will travel to Stony Brook, which was the Big South winner last year and wound up at No. 16 in the national rankings.
With Robert Morris way out in the Dakotas, the remaining two-thirds of the NEC’s Keystone State contingent will be kick off the new campaign down in Virginia on September 1. Duquesne
, which earned a share of the 2011 NEC title, has a date with Old Dominion. The Dukes’ opener comes against a program that ranked amongst the Top 10 nationally last year and is in the process of transitioning from the CAA to the FBS Mid-American Conference. Saint Francis (PA)
will take former national champion James Madison, which wound up ranked 14th at last season’s end.
, which represented the NEC in the 2011 NCAA FCS Championship bracket, will raise its NEC championship banner on September 1 against cross-state rival, and perennial Patriot League contender, Colgate. Bryant
will kick off its first season as a postseason-eligible NCAA Division I member against Pioneer League member Marist. Sacred Heart
opens in Baltimore at MEAC member Morgan State.
The first Northeast Conference contest of the 2012 slate will come on September 8 when Robert Morris hosts Albany and Saint Francis (PA) welcomes Bryant. One will have to wait until Week 5 for the first full docket of NEC play.
For the third year running, the Northeast Conference champion will receive automatic access to the NCAA FCS Championship bracket (2011
: Albany, 2010
: Robert Morris).
The NEC will once again sponsor a five-game football television package that will guarantee all nine teams at least one exposure. The 2012 NEC Football Television schedule will be unveiled in the coming days.
The league will host its annual preseason media teleconference to preview the upcoming season on Thursday August 2. In addition to the announcement of the preseason coaches’ poll results, the teleconference will also feature Q&A segments with each of the conference’s nine head coaches. Media members can e-mail Rventre@northeastconference.org
for log-in information.
Fans won’t be able to dial into the call and hear their favorite team’s coach speak live, but they do have the opportunity to pose questions via Twitter. Fans can tweet questions @NECFootball
. A number of the best questions will be posed to the NEC head coaches during the call and their responses will be tweeted for all to see.