Football to Play Bowl-Winning Ole Miss and Arizona in 2009

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Football to Play Bowl-Winning Ole Miss and Arizona in 2009

Post by dbackjon » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:05 am

The Northern Arizona football team will play two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams and an always challenging Big Sky Conference slate that includes home games against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) runner-up Montana, Eastern Washington, Idaho State and Northern Colorado, Athletics Director Jim Fallis announced Thursday.
“We are excited to put a schedule together that provides our student athletes and fans with the unique opportunity to experience the always tough Big Sky along with a home game with regional rival Southern Utah, while being able to compete against two bowl teams in UA and Ole Miss” said Fallis. “I also commend Coach Souers and his staff in accepting the challenge to play two quality BCS teams and assisting the department in these challenging economic times.”

The Lumberjacks will open the season at Arizona on Sept. 12, starting the season against a team that is coming off a win in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2008. The Lumberjacks will host Southern Utah in the home opener on Sept. 19 before opening Big Sky play against Montana on Sept. 26. The Grizzlies went 14-2 last season and lost in the FCS Championship game to Richmond.

Northern Colorado will complete a three-game homestand on Oct. 3 before NAU embarks on road games at Montana State (Oct. 10) and at Portland State (Oct. 17). The Lumberjacks return home to play Idaho State in the annual Homecoming contest on Oct. 24.

The Lumberjacks will break from Big Sky play on Nov. 7 to travel to Oxford, Miss., to face Ole Miss of the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels went 9-4 last season and defeated Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas on Jan. 2. NAU quarterback Michael Herrick played his first two seasons at Ole Miss before transferring to NAU prior to the 2008 season.
The game with Ole Miss will be the first for NAU against an opponent from the Southeastern Conference.

It will mark the second time in four seasons NAU has faced two FBS schools in the same season. The Lumberjacks played both Utah and Arizona State in 2006. Since 1999, NAU has faced 11 FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams including Arizona (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007), Arizona State (2003, 2006, 2008), New Mexico (1999, 2000), Oregon State (2001) and Utah (2006).

NAU completes its regular season road schedule at defending Big Sky Champion Weber State on Nov. 14 before hosting Eastern Washington on Nov. 21 in the regular season finale.

NAU had completed the 2009 schedule but recently made changes when the opportunity with Ole Miss was presented. NAU moved its contest with Eastern Washington to the open week at the end of the schedule to fit the Ole Miss game and canceled a contest with Fort Lewis.

2009 Northern Arizona University Football Schedule
Date, Opponent, Site, Time
Sept. 12, at Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., TBA
Sept. 19, SOUTHERN UTAH, FLAGSTAFF, 3:05 p.m.
Sept. 26, MONTANA, FLAGSTAFF, 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 10, at Montana State, Bozeman, Mont.,1:35 p.m., MDT
Oct. 17, at Portland State, Portland, Ore., TBA
Oct. 24, IDAHO STATE (HC), FLAGSTAFF, 3:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 , at Sacramento State, Sacramento, Calif., 2:00 p.m., PDT
Nov. 7, at Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss., TBA
Nov. 14, at Weber State, Ogden, Utah, TBA
Nov. 21, EASTERN WASHINGTON, FLAGSTAFF, 3:05 p.m. ... 8&sid=2887

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Re: Football to Play Bowl-Winning Ole Miss and Arizona in 2009

Post by king » Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:12 pm

Wow :shock: , what a challenge this will be for NAU. I know Fallis did it for the financial gain that playing Ole Miss and Arizona will bring. Nau is hurting for money and these two pay checks should help out the situation. The question is, how much will this hurt the Lumberjacks football wise?

In my opinion, this schedule will be brutal for the boys and may cause more injuries than a normal season brings. Ole Miss and Arizona are big time football programs and will tare the Lumberjacks apart leaving them weak and defenseless against the rest of the conference. I hope this Lumberjack team has some deapth because they will need it. It will be a long and painful season for NAU, they better stay focused and prepare well for it. Expect another mediocre football season out of NAU. They don't have a chance in hell this season.

but as always, I will be there cheering and supporting my team.

Go Jacks

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Re: Football to Play Bowl-Winning Ole Miss and Arizona in 2009

Post by TheCatInTheHat » Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:55 am

I think you have to make a distinction between Ole Miss and UofA.

The Board of Regents got the whole alternating annual series with the Jacks and one of the other Arizona schools going to begin the season in 2002, and this will be the eighth straight year of that. Sure, it's a money game, but it also makes tons of sense. There are tons of NAU alumni in Phoenix and Tucson, it's an easy trip for fans in Flag, and it's even pretty easy for alumni in California. UofA or ASU get a better gate than they'd get for the usual kind of team they'd start their season with, there's state-wide interest with the game on FSN-Arizona, and the Jacks get their shot at being Appalachian State. It's like the old lottery slogan: you can't win if you don't play. There's no pressure or great expectation for NAU to win, so they can play loose and see what they can do. Any success they have builds confidence for the season. Whatever they get done against Pac-10 schools, they can get done in the Big Sky. The games have mostly been one-sided, but the Jacks haven't embarrassed themselves, and I don't recall any horrible injuries from those games. In 2004, it was 21-3 at Arizona. If Murrietta could have hit a few more plays, the Jacks would have been right in a very competitive game. That was a respectable 18-point loss. Last year at ASU was a 17-point loss. By the way, it's been a while, but NAU has 8 wins and 3 ties against the other Arizona schools in football.

As far as the game at Ole Miss, that may be a questionable decision. The SEC is notorious for paying off teams they "should" beat multiple times in a season, because they have such good attendance against anybody they play. CBS and ESPN fall all over themselves talking about how "tough" it is in the SEC. Well, yeah, it's probably the toughest league. But, they only play 8 out of 12 or 13 games in that league. Try playing 9, like the Pac-10 does. Last year, Ole Miss played Sanford, Louisiana-Monroe, and Memphis non-conference, all at home. Take those three away, and they were 5-4 in their regular season. But, with their padded schedule, even in that "so-tough" SEC, they were comfortably in a bowl game. So, I hate to see NAU take the money and contribute to that approach and give Ole Miss a breather late in the season. Also hate to see them tired out from traveling halfway across the country and back and get more banged-up at that point (when everybody's a little banged-up at that time of year), with more games to play.

But, I think that's a whole different scenario than playing one of the other Arizona schools to start the season.

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