“I think it is a schedule that is different than in the past because we have some home games to start the season and we haven’t had a lot of those in the past,” Bisons’ coach Jeff Forehand said. “We don’t go on the road until the fourth weekend of the season.
“I think it is a good schedule. From a recruiting standpoint we want to play the bigger schools. We are also able to mix in some really good teams that are coming to play us at home on the weekends before the conference season starts. It is good to play good teams at home.”
Two of the highlights on the home schedule are visits from a pair of SEC teams _ Mississippi State March 16 and Tennessee March 23.
“Mississippi State is coming here early because they are playing Vanderbilt later in the week,” Forehand said. “This is our time to play UT at home. After we go to Knoxville twice they come here.”
The Bisons will travel to Oxford, Miss., March 11-13 to face the University of Mississippi.
“We are going into an SEC venue that is arguably one of the top five in the country in attendance,” Forehand said. “It is a really good place to experience the atmosphere that we would get in a regional.
“It is exciting for us to play Ole Miss three times. I’m sure they will be ranked pretty high.”
The Bisons will start the season at home with Dayton beginning Feb. 18 at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium. Bradley visits Feb. 19 and 20. Dayton also plays on the 19th in a double-header day for the Bisons. Western Kentucky plays one game March 23 followed by a three-game series with Marshall.
After making a short trip to Murfreesboro for a game with Middle Tennessee State March 1 the Bisons play four more games at home. Purdue is in town for a three-game series March 4-6 and Morehead State stops by March 9 for one game.
“We have 11 of our first 12 games at home,” Forehand said. “We have never had that many games in a row at home to start. We play 32 games at home. When I first came here we were playing 22 games at home.
“Last year we played three games at home to start the season against Murray State and they beat us three times. We then went on the road to Tulane and took three on the chin. We looked up and we were 0-6. I would like to think that having so many home games at the start of the season will let us get out of the chute quicker than we did last season.”
The Bisons will play home-and-home series with Tennessee Tech, Middle Tennessee State, UT-Martin and Austin Peay. Rounding out the home schedule is a visit from Alabama A & M April 12.
The Atlantic Sun Conference portion of the season begins on the road at Kennesaw State March 18. The Bisons will play home A-Sun series with North Florida (April 1-3), USC Upstate (April 15-17), Belmont (April 29-May 1), Campbell (May 6-7) and Stetson (May 13-15).
The Atlantic Sun Tournament will be held at Lipscomb May 24-28.
“In the past we have bitten off more than we could chew,” Forehand said. “It was tough at times. Every time the schedule goes in you think you could lose or win every game because the parity is so good.
“It is difficult to get teams to play you at home when you are a smaller school, but we were able to do it. Our facility is a great place to play so we should be able to bring good teams here. I think we did a pretty good job of scheduling this time.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.