Feb. 24, 2014
DAVIS, Calif.- The UC Davis football team will face its toughest schedule ever this fall, squaring off against an 11-game slate that features five home games, Pac-12 champion Stanford and three NCAA Div. I Championship Subdivision playoff opponents, it was announced on Monday afternoon.
The Aggies, who won five of their final eight games last season and finish tied for fourth in the rugged Big Sky Conference, will host Fort Lewis College (Sept. 6), Eastern Washington (Sept. 27), Montana State (Oct. 11), Northern Colorado (Nov. 1) and Sacramento State (Nov. 22) at Aggie Stadium.
Season tickets for the 2014 season will go on sale on Apr. 2. Additional information is available here.
"This is a exciting schedule for our fans as well as our team," said Aggie head coach Ron Gould. "We're looking forward to filling Aggie Stadium and making it a very difficult place for our opponents to play."
UC Davis will travel for matchups against Stanford (Aug. 30), Div. I Football Bowl Subdivision member Colorado State (Sept. 13), Portland State (Oct. 4), Montana (Oct. 18), Northern Arizona (Nov. 8) and Cal Poly (Nov. 15).
The schedule is being regarded as the most difficult in school history when considering the perennial strength of the Big Sky Conference as well as Stanford - one of the top collegiate football teams in the country - and Colorado State.
Stanford, the marquee name on the schedule, is also the opener and will be played at Stanford Stadium which has been renovated into one of the finest facilities in the country since the last time UC Davis played there in 2005. The Cardinal, which went to four straight Bowl Championship Series games since 2009, including the last two Rose Bowls, finished 11-3 last year and has gone 34-7 since 2011.
UC Davis' last visit to The Farm in 2005 produced a memorable 20-17 Aggie win.
Fort Lewis, a Div. II program which finished 4-7 last year, visits Aggie Stadium for the home opener. The Skyhawks and UC Davis have never met in football. Another first-time opponent, Colorado State, also provides the Aggies their second early season FBS foe when they host UC Davis in Ft. Collins. The Rams went 8-6 in 2013 and staged an improbable comeback to beat Washington State, 48-45, in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in December.
Two home games over the next three overall will kick off the eight-game Big Sky season in which the Aggies will go up against the top three finishers and five of the top eight. Eastern Washington, which won the 2010 national championship and advanced to last year's semifinal, will make its first-ever appearance in Davis. The Eagles have won all three previous meetings including a close 31-28 matchup in Cheney, Wash., in 2012.
Longtime foe Portland State will face UC Davis for the the fifth time during the Aggies' Div. I era but will host them for the first time in the past three. The Vikings own an 8-4 series advantage but the teams have split the last six games.
Montana State, which has shared the Big Sky championship three of the past four seasons, will square off against UC Davis in the annual homecoming game. The Bobcats and Aggies have played just four times with Montana State winning the last three. Their in-state rival, Montana, will then host UC Davis the following week on Oct. 18. The Grizzlies returned to the FCS playoffs in 2013 and posted a 10-2 overall record while finishing ranked No. 8 in the final Sports Network poll.
Northern Colorado provides the penultimate home opponent for the Aggies at the start of November as the Bears try to rebound from a 1-11 record which includes a 34-18 loss to UC Davis in Greeley, Colo., last October. UNC's last visit to Aggie Stadium in 2008 provided one of the most thrilling moments in Aggie history when former receiver Bakari Grant hauled in Greg Denham's last-play desperation heave that resulted in a 34-30 win.
Northern Arizona is the final 2013 playoff team on UC Davis' schedule and will host the Aggies in Flagstaff, Ariz. The Lumberjacks went 9-3 last year and earned the Big Sky's fourth berth to the postseason. Their matchup at Aggie Stadium last season was one of the most exciting of the year with NAU needing a fourth-quarter comeback to win, 21-10.
UC Davis' annual rivalry games take center stage over the final two weeks of the regular season and begin with the Aggies' trip to Cal Poly on Nov. 15 for the Battle for the Golden Horseshoe. UC Davis and Cal Poly have been battling since 1939 and the Aggies have a slim 19-17-2 all-time series lead. They've won three of the past five meetings but the Mustangs have captured the last two.
The 61st annual Causeway Classic will bring an exciting and challenging regular season to a close on Nov. 22. The Aggies, who won 34-7 at Hornet Stadium last season, hold a 43-18 series lead (the teams met once during the Div. II playoffs). They've won the last four after Sacramento State captured two straight. Overall, UC Davis has been victorious 12 of the past 14 matchups.
"We have a very challenging task ahead of us but it's one that we embrace," said Gould. "We're looking forward to competing against great teams each week. The Big Sky is a championship conference. It's a heavyweight fight every week."
UC Davis finished 5-7 overall last year for first-year head coach Ron Gould but, after an 0-4 start, rebounded impressively to go 5-3 in the Big Sky and tie for fourth. Among the Aggies' wins was a 21-3 victory at Southern Utah, which went on to earn a bid to the FCS playoffs.
Game times for the season will be announced in the spring.