Charleston Southern has announced its 2011 football schedule, one that includes five home games and six road games. The slate also features a pair of FBS opponents, marking the fourth year in a row that CSU has faced two opponents from the Bowl Subdivision.
“Once again our schedule reflects the vision of the University in obtaining national recognition in integrating faith in learning, leading and serving,” said Head Coach Jay Mills. “Opening with two FBS opponents coming off impressive bowl victories and top-25 national rankings ensures recognition to Charleston Southern on the national scale.”
The first three games will all take place on the road, all three in the state of Florida, and in four of the five nonconference games, the Bucs will be facing the opponent for the first time in program history.
The season opens on September 3, 2011, when the Bucs travel to Orlando to face the University of Central Florida of Conference USA. The 2010 Liberty Bowl champions will mark the third time in the past four years in which the Bucs have started the season against an FBS foe. It will also mark the eighth time in nine seasons in which CSU has begun the year on the road, with last year’s season-opener at home against North Greenville serving as the exclusion in both cases.
From there, the Bucs remain on the road to face Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., on September 10. It is the first time in CSU history that they have faced either of the two schools from the Sunshine State. FSU is coming off an appearance in the ACC Championship game, and a victory over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A bowl. ESPN analyst Robert Smith has said they are a team that can contend for a national championship in 2011.
The third and final game of the road trip is the renewal of an old rivalry as CSU takes on Jacksonville on September 17. The Bucs hold a 5-1 all-time record against the Dolphins, but the two have not faced off since 2005 when CSU won 16-10 in Charleston. The Dolphins finished last season with a school record 10 wins and won the Pioneer League championship, finishing the year ranked 21st in the final Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Poll.
The home-opener for 2011 season will be another new face as CSU hosts Norfolk State on September 24. NSU was 6-5 last year, including four-straight wins to end the season.
Homecoming festivities will surround the second home game of the year as CSU hosts Wesley College on October 1. The transitioning NCAA Division II school wrapped up an undefeated regular season in 2010 and made it to the NCAA semifinals before finally being defeated.
With the nonconference part of the schedule out of the way, the Bucs will have an open week on October 8 before finishing the year with six-straight Big South Conference opponents, beginning with a trip to Lexington, Va., to face VMI on October 15.
“Our hope is that a preconference schedule will prepare us for the challenge of an ever-competitive Big South Conference schedule,” said Mills.
Tri-Big South Champion Liberty comes to Charleston on October 22 before the Bucs travel to Gardner-Webb to close out the October portion of the schedule.
The Bucs will also get the other two teams that tied for the Big South crown at home in 2011, facing Stony Brook (November 5) and Coastal Carolina (November 12) in back-to-back weeks.
For the first time since 2002, the first year of the Big South and the year before CCU began a football program, the Bucs and Chanticleers will not face off in the season finale. Instead, it will be the a trip to Clinton, S.C., to face the Blue Hose of Presbyterian College that will wrap up the 2011 regular season on November 19.
Sept. 3 @ UCF
Sept. 10 @ Florida State
Sept. 17 @ Jacksonville
Sept. 24 Norfolk State
Oct. 1 Wesley College (Homecoming)
Oct. 8 OPEN
Oct. 15 @ VMI *
Oct. 22 Liberty *
Oct. 29 @ Gardner-Webb *
Nov. 5 Stony Brook *
Nov. 12 Coastal Carolina *
Nov. 19 @ Presbyterian Coll. *
*-Big South Conference Opponent