Aug. 9, 2005
DAVIS, Calif. --- The UC Davis football team prepares to face its toughest schedule ever when the Aggies open preseason practices on Thursday morning under 13th-year head coach Bob Biggs as they ready for the season-opener on September 3 against New Hampshire at Toomey Field.
The Aggies, who have posted 35 consecutive winning seasons, will conduct skill testing on Thursday morning and then continue with a second practice in the afternoon. The team will go through drills once each day Friday through Sunday before putting on full pads for the first time on Monday. UC Davis is to host its annual Blue-Gold scrimmage at Toomey Field on August 26 at 7 p.m.
"It's always exciting this time of year," said Biggs. "The players have worked very hard. They're motivated and know what challenges they have ahead of them, so we're anxious to get to it."
With five returning starters on offense and five on defense, UC Davis will look to continue its winning tradition while continuing to build a program that begins its third year of a four-year reclassification to NCAA Division I-AA. UC Davis posted a 6-4 record last season, finishing second in the first-year of the Great West Football Conference with a 3-2 mark.
The schedule is a difficult one for the Aggies who will face a pair of Division I-AA playoff teams in New Hampshire and Eastern Washington (Nov. 19) as well as a matchup at Pac-10 member Stanford on September 17. It'll be the first matchup between the Aggies and the Cardinal since 1932, although UC Davis did face the Stanford reserves four times between 1946 and 1950 and two years ago the programs had a preseason scrimmage at Stanford Stadium.
The Aggies have been picked to finish second in the Great West Football Conference by the league head coaches while the media has tabbed them third. They also received votes on Monday in the preseason poll by The Sports Network with four opponents - No.4 Eastern Washington, No.7 New Hampshire, No.17 Cal Poly and No.22 North Dakota State - earning rankings.
The Aggies will also face Big Sky Conference teams Portland State (Sept. 10) and rival Sacramento State (Sept. 24) along with a road game at Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 5). Five Great West Football Conference games round out the challenging schedule. UC Davis will have byes on Oct. 2 and Nov. 12.
Matt Doughtery, executive director of I-AA football for The Sports Network, rated the Aggies' nonconference schedule the second-toughest in the country. Biggs said the schedule has never been tougher.
"It seems like I keep saying that every year," he said. "I think, top to bottom, this is the toughest shedule we've ever had at UC Davis but that's good. It's a good measuring stick of where we need to be in a couple of years."
UC Davis becomes and active member of NCAA Division I-AA football in 2007.
UC Davis opened the 2004 campaign with a 5-0 record, jumping to as high as No.21 in both The Sports Network media poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The Aggies highlighted the second half of their season with a last-second 35-31 win at No. 5 Cal Poly on October 30 which handed the Mustangs their first loss of the season.
Biggs enters the season with a 102-36-1 overall record, securing his 100th career win last year at Northern Colorado.