“We are very excited about the 2012 schedule,” Nicholls third-year head coach Charlie Stubbs said. “It’s very challenging, which is what we want. Playing this kind of demanding schedule will make us stretch and grow to our potential as we strive to improve as a program.”
Nicholls will open up the 2012 slate on the road for its first three games, starting on Sept. 1 when the Colonels head to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State.
“I spent six years there as a coach, and I know it will be an exciting trip for our players to travel to the Pacific Northwest to compete against a Pac-12 school,” Stubbs said.
The Beavers finished with a 3-9 record last season, which included a 29-28 overtime loss against FCS Sacramento State in their 2011 opener.
The Colonels’ next two games come against South Alabama (Sept. 8) and Tulsa (Sept. 15). South Alabama defeated Nicholls in 2010, 39-21, as the Jaguars were making the transition to the FBS.
Starting in the 2012 season, South Alabama will be a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
The matchup against Tulsa, out of Conference USA, will be the first meeting between the programs.
“We played South Alabama a few years ago, and we’re anxious to compete against them,” Stubbs said. “Next we’ll take on Tulsa, which is another program that I’m familiar with after spending five seasons there. I know that they’ll be a major test for our program, but it’s something that will help us as we get closer to conference play.”
With Oregon State, South Alabama and Tulsa on the schedule, it marks the first time in program history that Nicholls faced three FBS opponents in the same season.
“I know that the players are excited about opening up with these challenging non-conference games,” Stubbs said. “I know our athletes and coaches are competitors, so we’re not just going there to play them, but we’re going there to compete to beat them. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of improving in all areas in order to achieve our goals.”
“As a program, we play these games for several reasons,” Stubbs added. “First, it helps out with recruiting tremendously. Potential recruits see our non-conference schedule, and many of them may have aspired to play at those types of schools, so now they get an opportunity to go in there and see where they really stack up. And these games really help out (the) program financially, not just with football, but the whole athletic program. I look at it as an opportunity for our kids and the athletic department to be able to have the things that we need in order to compete.”
Before heading into conference play, Nicholls will play its home opener against Evangel Crusaders on Sept. 22. The Colonels defeated the Crusaders in their 2011 home opener, 42-0.
Nicholls begins its Southland Conference schedule against two teams that qualified for Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, Central Arkansas and national runner-up, Sam Houston State. The Colonels travel to UCA (Oct. 6) before hosting the Southland defending champion Bearkats on Oct. 13.
The next two games will be on the road against Stephen F. Austin (Oct. 20) and Northwestern State (Oct. 27) before wrapping up the season with two of three games at home. The Colonels host McNeese State on Nov. 3, and following a trip to Lamar (Nov. 10), will take on rival Southeastern Louisiana (Nov. 15).
“I know the conference schedule will be super challenging, and we will be tested early,” Stubbs said.
The complete 2012 schedule is available at www.geauxcolonels.com. Check back on the site for official game times.