Carrollton, GA – The University of West Georgia announced Tuesday the release of its 2017 football schedule. New head coach David Dean and his Wolves will this fall face a challenging, 11-game slate of Division II opponents. The schedule includes eight Gulf South Conference opponents, with three non-conference contests against opponents from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"We are really excited about having seven opportunities to play in front of our home fans," says Dean of the new schedule. The new coach calls his team's schedule, especially the eight GSC games, "challenging."
In a departure from recent seasons, UWG will this season play a pair of Thursday night home games. The first is the August 31 season opener vs. Fort Valley State. The Wildcats' visit to Carrollton is the first ever meeting in football between the two state schools. Nine days later the Wolves welcome another SIAC opponent to University Stadium as the Miles Golden Bears come to visit.
West Georgia's first road game of the season is also the 2017 Gulf South Conference opener: a September 16 trip to Delta State. "You know you're always going to be tested at Delta State. They're always talented and so athletic," says Dean of the Statesmen.
Following the Delta State trip, UWG is back home a week later for Homecoming 2017 as Albany State visits Carrollton. The date with the Rams is the final non-conference game of the year.
A stretch of seven straight league contests begins September 30 as UWG entertains North Alabama. One week later the Wolves welcome Valdosta State to town for the annual renewal of UWG's most played rivalry. Dean acknowledges that the back-to-back task facing the Lions and Blazers means "you're playing two of the premier Division II teams in the country. That will be a big challenge."
The visit from North Alabama will also be noteworthy as it is the Lions' final trip to Carrollton as a member of the GSC. The UNA program is making the move to Division I following the 2017-18 academic year.
Next, the Wolves are set for a pair of consecutive road games: October 14 at West Alabama, and October 21 at Mississippi College. UWG then returns home October 26 to face Shorter in the season's second Thursday night contest.
"Those long, back-to-back trips to West Alabama and Mississippi College will be tough," said Dean, noting that his team will be, essentially, duplicating its route on back-to-back weekend. He adds, "We then follow that with a Thursday night home game against Shorter. That stretch will be a challenge for us."
The regular season's final road game is November 4 when the Wolves visit Melbourne, Fla., to play Florida Tech. UWG concludes its regular season a week later as West Florida pays its first visit ever to University Stadium.
Preparations for the 2017 season are already well underway at UWG. The pace intensifies this week as Dean and his squad takes the field for the beginning of spring football practice. Drills open this Thursday and will conclude with the March 16 spring game.