ORONO, Maine — After months of pushbacks and delays, the University of Maine's football team now has a date to circle on the calendar.
UMaine announced Tuesday a six-game conference-only schedule beginning March 6. The Black Bears will face three Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponents on the road and will host three conference games in Orono.
The 2021 Spring schedule begins at the University of Delaware on March 6. The first home game will be the following week against the University of Albany on March 13.
UMaine will play at Stony Brook University on March 20, host Villanova University on April 3, travel to the University of Rhode Island on April 10, and host the University of New Hampshire on April 17.
The CAA introduced a North and South Division for this season. Teams in the North Division, including UMaine and its opponents, will play each other once. The South Division will be made up of four teams: Elon, James Madison, Richmond, and William & Mary. Those teams will play each other twice.
Townson University announced earlier this month it will not compete in the spring season.
Each team is awarded a bye week in the shortened season to allow the conference to postpone and makeup games in case of COVID-19 postponements.
According to a release from UMaine, "The CAA team with the best overall conference record will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Should the divisional champions finish with the same conference record, a tie-breaking procedure will be used to determine the automatic qualifier."
Each school is allowed to schedule up to two additional non-conference games which can be played as early as Jan 23., per NCAA guidelines.
The 2021 FCS playoffs are scheduled to begin on April 24.
The showdown for the Brice-Cowell Musket will be played for the 109th time this year. The rivalry game against UNH will be played in Orono for the first time since 2018 when the Black Bears trumped the Wildcats 35-7.
UMaine Head Football Coach Nick Charlton added a statement in the program's schedule release:
"Our football family is extremely excited for the opportunity to compete for a championship in the coming months. Since last July's postponement, our players and staff have looked to play a competitive schedule that also will allow for a viable turnaround prior to fall of 2021. Currently, half way through our fall ball practices, with our first scrimmage this Saturday (Oct. 31), our team is competing and now working towards a major Division-I season. Playing in the best FCS conference in the country, pursuing potential non-conference matchups, and with a legitimate playoff opportunity at stake, we promise Black Bear Nation we will be ready to compete this spring."