ALBANY, Ga.- The Albany State University Golden Rams have unveiled their football schedule for the 2016 season, ASU Athletics Director Dr. Richard H. Williams and interim head coach Dan Land announced Friday afternoon. Highlighting the nine-game slate is a game with a familiar non-conference opponent, six SIAC conference games, two classics, and matchups with three teams that made appearances in the 2015 NCAA Division II football playoffs.
"Albany State has generated a challenging schedule that will provide a lot of excitement during the 2016 season," said Williams. "Our Golden Rams are making great preparations, and they are ready to deliver some solid football action this season."
Land believes the competition is stiff, but he believes Albany State will benefit from the tough tasks on his team's schedule.
"To get better as a team during the course of the season, it's important to play against good programs," Land said. "All the teams on our schedule have good coaches, good players and winning attitudes. "We have a tough schedule, but we'll definitely put in the hard work this offseason and prepare for each of them."
The Golden Rams, who finished their 2015 season at 6-4, will kick off the season onSept. 3 in Albany, Ga in a road game with the Valdosta State University Blazers. Valdosta State, a member of the Gulf South Conference, went 9-3 and made the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs last season. Last year, ASU lost to the VSU 21-13 in Albany.
Albany State will open SIAC play and continue a rivalry when it faces the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers on Sept. 10 in the 3rd Annual White Water Classic in Phenix City, Alabama. Tuskegee, who made an appearance in the 2015 NCAA Division II quarterfinals, finished last year with a 10-3 overall record and defeated the Golden Rams 27-14 in last season's classic. The Tuskegee game is the first of two SIAC West Division crossover games.
Albany State returns to actions on Sept. 17 against the Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. The Fire program is a member of the Sun Conference that competes at the NAIA level. SEU finished with a 6-2 overall record last season.
ASU will play its first home game on Sept. 24. Golden Rams will host the University of West Georgia, who made a trip to the NCAA Division II semifinals in 2015. The Gulf South member recorded a 12-2 record last year.
Before an open date on Oct. 8, the Golden Rams will host the Miles College Golden Bears on Oct. 1. Albany State defeated the SIAC West Division opponent 29-16 in last year regular season meeting in Fairfield before losing to the Golden Bears 20-7 in the SIAC title game. MC finished the 2015 season with a 7-5 record.
The Golden Rams will take on four SIAC East Division opponents beginning Oct. 15. They will battle with the Maroon Tigers of Morehouse College in Atlanta. Albany State defeated Morehouse 38-0 in the 2015 contest. The Maroon Tigers were 5-5 last season.
Albany State will then journey back home to take on the Clark Atlanta University Panthers on October 22. The contest will serve as the university's annual homecoming celebration. ASU beat CAU 26-14 in route to the Panthers' 1-8 overall record.
Albany State will back on the road on October 29. ASU will visit the Benedict College Tigers in Columbia, S.C. The Golden Rams defeated Benedict 35-9 in last year's meeting, and the Tigers finished with a 0-10 overall record.
The two biggest rivals in the SIAC, Albany State and Fort Valley State University, will close its regular seasons in the 27th Annual Fountain City Classic on November 5 at the A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Georgia. The Golden Rams defeated the Wildcats (5-4 overall last season) 21-17 in the 2015 classic game. The FCC is touted as one of the biggest and best HBCU football classics in the nation.
The winners of the SIAC East and West divisions will play for the 2016 SIAC Championship game in Montgomery, Ala. on November 12.
For more information about the Golden Rams 2016 football schedule, contact Stan McCormick at (229) 420-7013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.