Colgate's Nate Eachus is expected to be a top contender for the Walter Payton Award in 2011.
May 26, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - The 2011 Patriot League football schedule kicks off with the first-ever night game at Fitton Field on Sept. 1 and ends with a trio of Patriot League contests on Nov. 19, with plenty of challenging non-League affairs in addition to the always-competitive League contests packed into the 12-week slate.
The composite schedule is now available at the Patriot League website here.
The 2011 schedule includes at least one Patriot League game on nine of 12 weeks, including the final eight weeks of the season. The League slate opens early when Colgate visits Holy Cross and Lafayette heads to Georgetown on Sept. 10. The League schedule picks back up with Fordham at Colgate and Georgetown at Bucknell on Oct. 1, Lehigh at Bucknell on Oct. 8 and Lehigh at Fordham on Oct. 15. The final five weeks of the season all feature a full slate of three Patriot League contests.
For the second straight season, Patriot League games involving Fordham University will not count towards the League standings for either team. The Rams are ineligible for the Patriot League title and automatic playoff berth due to the awarding of athletic merit aid that began with the class that entered in the fall of 2010.
The season begins on Sept. 1 with the first two of what promises to be a very tough slate of non-League contests for the seven Patriot League schools. On that Thursday night, Fordham heads to BIG EAST foe Connecticut while Holy Cross welcomes Massachusetts in the first-ever night game at Fitton Field.
Fordham's opening contest is the first of two against opponents from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), as the Rams also head to Army for a matchup on Oct. 29.
Holy Cross' season opener against Massachusetts begins a five-game slate of games pitting Patriot League teams against opponents from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Defending Patriot League champion Lehigh hosts perennial playoff contender New Hampshire on Sept. 10, while Holy Cross visits the Wildcats on Oct. 1. In addition, Colgate visits Towson and Fordham travels to Rhode Island on Sept. 24.
The majority of the non-League slate will once again be played against opponents from the Ivy League, with the conferences set to face off 16 times in 2011. Lafayette, Holy Cross and Bucknell will each play three games versus foes from the Ancient Eight, while Lehigh, Fordham and Colgate face a pair of Ivy League opponents.
Patriot League teams will also play five games against opponents from the Northeast Conference, three against foes from the Pioneer League and a pair versus Big South members. Lafayette will give the Patriot League a rare game against an opponent from the Missouri Valley Football Conference when it opens the season at North Dakota State on Sept. 3.
The non-League slate includes six games against opponents ranked in the final Sports Network top 25 last season, with a pair against New Hampshire (No. 7) and Penn (No. 18) and one versus North Dakota State (No. 9) and Liberty (No. 21).
The Patriot League will celebrate its 25th Anniversary season in 2011, which will include a 25th Anniversary team to be released during the summer. The "unofficial" start to the season comes at Patriot League Football Media Day on August 2, right before the start of fall practice.
To view the week-by-week 2011 Patriot League composite schedule, go here.