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There have been rumours for years that UMass might make the jump. Looks like it is going to happen.

In a move that would alter the college sports landscape in New England, UMass plans to upgrade its football program to Football Bowl Subdivision status.

Moreover, the Amherst school has had talks with the Patriots about playing several home games each season in Foxboro at Gillette Stadium, which in effect would give Greater Boston two competing FBS programs, the other being Boston College.

According to several sources, UMass would take its program, currently in the Football Championship Subdivision, to the Mid-American Conference, whose football schools include Temple, Bowling Green and Miami of Ohio.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a MAC spokesman would say only that the conference is “exploring” the possibility of adding the Minutemen for football.

UMass would play a “provisional” FBS schedule in 2011 and ’12, and make the full jump to FBS status in ’13.

Athletic director John McCutcheon, while saying “it would be premature” to announce that the Minutemen gridders are moving up, noted that, “We continue to evaluate where we are with our program.”

In what now appears to have been a dress rehearsal for future seasons, the Minutemen played New Hampshire at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 23. The game was billed as the “Colonial Clash,” with UNH rolling to a 39-13 victory before a crowd of 32,848. The two teams are scheduled to meet again at Gillette Stadium next season.

“But we’re interested in having additional games there — in whatever format or conference or alignment we may be in,” McCutcheon said. “It’s a great venue, it’s close to our alumni base, and for a number of our alumni it’s a great way to reach out to them by playing some games there.”

Patriots spokesman Stacey James would say only, “The Kraft family has been very supportive of football at all levels of competition throughout New England. They are proud to have hosted Pop Warner, high school and college football games at Gillette Stadium. College football has a rich history in New England, and I know that the Krafts would welcome the opportunity to celebrate the college game’s rivalries and traditions at Gillette Stadium.”

Though this was clearly a down season for UMass football (6-5, 4-4 Colonial Athletic Association), the Minutemen rocked the college sports world Sept. 18 when they nearly knocked off perennial national power Michigan.

Playing before a crowd of 110,187 at Michigan Stadium, the Minutemen jumped out to a 17-7 lead in the first half before losing 42-37. The Wolverines were ranked 20th at the time.

An upgraded UMass program would have the potential to establish a natural in-state rivalry with BC. The schools have played each other in football only twice since 1982, with the Eagles winning 29-7 in 2004 and 24-14 in ’07. Both of those games were played at the Eagles’ Alumni Stadium.

While the Minutemen would be competing with Boston College for the loyalties of Greater Boston sports fans if they were to play home games at Gillette Stadium, it’s possible that a UMass presence in the market would bring about a renaissance in college football in the area. Though the Eagles have had some strong teams over the years and have sent a number of players to the NFL, the area hasn’t really been college footballcrazy since the 1981-84 days of Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie.

The Minutemen currently play their home games at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium. It seats 17,000 for football, which is fine for FCS but would be unacceptable for FBS.

McCutcheon said the school is evaluating a variety of options that include expanding or possibly replacing McGuirk Stadium. It remains unclear, however, just how many home games an upgraded UMass football program would play in Amherst and how many it would play nearly 95 miles away in Foxboro.

However this plays out, college football in Massachusetts would become a lot more interesting.

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/columnists/view/20101130umass_eyes_move_to_join_bc_in_fbs/srvc=sports&position=also

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Dumb Move, at least in CAA they can win a national championship, Mid-American is crap conference

The MAC is the best UMass can do as they really missed the boat when UConn made the jump to the Big East. UMass should have made the decision back then.

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The MAC is the best UMass can do as they really missed the boat when UConn made the jump to the Big East. UMass should have made the decision back then.

MAC buys them nothing, have to go to a Conference like BE to play for something meaningful, the amos alonzo stagg bowl wont get it done

CAA has quality football teams

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  • 2 weeks later...

MAC buys them nothing, have to go to a Conference like BE to play for something meaningful, the amos alonzo stagg bowl wont get it done

CAA has quality football teams

Tend to agree asomf. Umass has been succesfull playing in a good FCS league. The only reason they should consider moving up is if they have the opportunity to make a lot of money in the process. The only reason I see UMASS making this move now is because they want to eventually join the Big East (who they asked for an invite after TCU joined), but were denied because they didnt already have a solidified FBS team. Also they wanted to give Nova a chance to upgrade to FBS...Which they have till april to make a decision on or the league will look elsewhere for a 10th football team.

If UMass can solidify themselves as a solid FBS football program in the MAC by the end of the 2012 season... And Nova doesn't work out, or the BE adds another team by then and want to seek a 12th... Umass would be able to make a strong case. Still a bit of a strange move though considering the risk/reward. IOTW: Sucking in the MAC is by far worse than being competitive in the CAA. Wheras sucking in one of the BCS conferences is at least just as good as, if not better than, being competitive in the CAA.

Edited by gangreenman
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Tend to agree asomf. Umass has been succesfull playing in a good FCS league. The only reason they should consider moving up is if they have the opportunity to make a lot of money in the process. The only reason I see UMASS making this move now is because they want to eventually join the Big East (who they asked for an invite after TCU joined), but were denied because they didnt already have a solidified FBS team. Also they wanted to give Nova a chance to upgrade to FBS...Which they have till april to make a decision on or the league will look elsewhere for a 10th football team.

If UMass can solidify themselves as a solid FBS football program in the MAC by the end of the 2012 season... And Nova doesn't work out, or the BE adds another team by then and want to seek a 12th... Umass would be able to make a strong case. Still a bit of a strange move though considering the risk/reward. IOTW: Sucking in the MAC is by far worse than being competitive in the CAA. Wheras sucking in one of the BCS conferences is at least just as good as, if not better than, being competitive in the CAA.

UMass didnt even make the playoffs the last 2 years and they want to move up? LOL at least Nova won a NC. Their Recruits will not get better going to MAC. the trend is players moving to CAA (Devlin Corp Paulus Flacco) from FBS teams

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UMass didnt even make the playoffs the last 2 years and they want to move up? LOL at least Nova won a NC. Their Recruits will not get better going to MAC. the trend is players moving to CAA (Devlin Corp Paulus Flacco) from FBS teams

LBS can chime in on this but we both have no idea why UMass is going to make the jump at this point in time. The Commonwealth has been cutting back on funding the UMass system for years so we have no idea where the money is coming from to fund this multi-million dollar move.

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MAC buys them nothing, have to go to a Conference like BE to play for something meaningful, the amos alonzo stagg bowl wont get it done

CAA has quality football teams

I have to disagree afso.

While I have to think it is a bit of a gamble by UMass, UCONN and Nova (if they go) will be the only IAAs team moving straight into a BCS conference from the IAA. The only reason they will is because of their long standing membership in the Big East. Even the low hanging fruit of BCS conferences, ACC and Big East, would poach lower hanging fruit in CUSA before accepting a member straight from IAA.

If UMass moves up, it can become a solid program and possibly become a an attractive member for future Big East expansion.

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I have to disagree afso.

While I have to think it is a bit of a gamble by UMass, UCONN and Nova (if they go) will be the only IAAs team moving straight into a BCS conference from the IAA. The only reason they will is because of their long standing membership in the Big East. Even the low hanging fruit of BCS conferences, ACC and Big East, would poach lower hanging fruit in CUSA before accepting a member straight from IAA.

If UMass moves up, it can become a solid program and possibly become a an attractive member for future Big East expansion.

UMASS cannot even make playoffs at FCS level, going to MAC will not help them recruit better, NOVA has a good Football team, but do not think they could draw big crowds to games though for BE. The Quality of football in CAA is very good, the league is getting very good players from FBS.

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UMASS cannot even make playoffs at FCS level, going to MAC will not help them recruit better, NOVA has a good Football team, but do not think they could draw big crowds to games though for BE. The Quality of football in CAA is very good, the league is getting very good players from FBS.

I do not disagree with any point. I agree with all of them.

New England is a dry hole for football recruiting on the IA level. Most decent prospects go other places.

http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2010/Internet/attendance/FCS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf

The FBS standard is to average 15K once every two seasons. Nova is 44th in FCS attendance at 8500. UMass is at 13K. That is probably due to the Colonial Clash than actual fan base. I am sure Kraft would be willing to let UMass use the Razor for a UMass/UCONN or UMass/BC which is likely to draw more than the 32K the Colonial Clash did.

CAA is the SEC of the FCS. Unfortunately, they were put together similar to the Big East when it adopted football with teams strewn together from Maine to Virginia. With each of the northern schools dropping football, the conference has become more southern centric as the travel has increased for the northern schools.

With URI gone in two seasons, the northern school membership is down to three teams that are more then a stones throw from the Mason Dixon line. UNH and UMaine are at their level and will be in the NEC or Patriot League (if they adopt scholarships) within 5 years.

For UMass, with a semi successful D1 BB program, I can see them having aspirations on moving up. A move similar to UCONN's. Now, they do not have a landing spot like UCONN, but they could position themselves with the eventual dissolving of the current bowl system and shift in conferences.

IMHO TCU's move to the BE is a move to position themselves for an eventual move to the Big12 or SEC when the 16 team mega conferences become reality. A UMass move would be a positioning to become a ACC/BE member in the future. It is now or never for them.

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I do not disagree with any point. I agree with all of them.

New England is a dry hole for football recruiting on the IA level. Most decent prospects go other places.

http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/2010/Internet/attendance/FCS_AVGATTENDANCE.pdf

The FBS standard is to average 15K once every two seasons. Nova is 44th in FCS attendance at 8500. UMass is at 13K. That is probably due to the Colonial Clash than actual fan base. I am sure Kraft would be willing to let UMass use the Razor for a UMass/UCONN or UMass/BC which is likely to draw more than the 32K the Colonial Clash did.

CAA is the SEC of the FCS. Unfortunately, they were put together similar to the Big East when it adopted football with teams strewn together from Maine to Virginia. With each of the northern schools dropping football, the conference has become more southern centric as the travel has increased for the northern schools.

With URI gone in two seasons, the northern school membership is down to three teams that are more then a stones throw from the Mason Dixon line. UNH and UMaine are at their level and will be in the NEC or Patriot League (if they adopt scholarships) within 5 years.

For UMass, with a semi successful D1 BB program, I can see them having aspirations on moving up. A move similar to UCONN's. Now, they do not have a landing spot like UCONN, but they could position themselves with the eventual dissolving of the current bowl system and shift in conferences.

IMHO TCU's move to the BE is a move to position themselves for an eventual move to the Big12 or SEC when the 16 team mega conferences become reality. A UMass move would be a positioning to become a ACC/BE member in the future. It is now or never for them.

IMO it is fun for the team to play for a NC, UMAss will never be a player in BE, if they get lucky enuff to get in. UNH has a better program and i would imagine they are happy with CAA. CAA is jsut getting better too as players being recruited to play for FBS are now realizing playing in SEC of FCS will get them noticed in NFL draft

Have a merry Xmas to you and your family, BTW it was awesome seeing Niagara kick NU's a$$ in Matthews

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IMO it is fun for the team to play for a NC, UMAss will never be a player in BE, if they get lucky enuff to get in. UNH has a better program and i would imagine they are happy with CAA. CAA is jsut getting better too as players being recruited to play for FBS are now realizing playing in SEC of FCS will get them noticed in NFL draft

Have a merry Xmas to you and your family, BTW it was awesome seeing Niagara kick NU's a$$ in Matthews

I agree, UNH is a better program and would be happy to remain in the CAA. I am just wondering if they can afford to make those trips without some northern teams in the NEC, Patriot League or Stony Brook becoming a football member of the CAA. At what point does the cost outweigh the benefits?

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you and yours.

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