Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) It should be a ‘September to Remember’ for the Mocs football team given their schedule. They’ll play two perennial playoff contenders in Jax State and James Madison with a trip to Rocky Top scheduled in between.
When Rusty Wright got the Mocs job, maybe he didn’t see what his team’s first four games were going to look like before starting the rugged SoCon slate.
On Tuesday, Herosports.com ranked Chattanooga’s strength of schedule as the second toughest in the nation. UTC opens at home against Eastern Illinois on Thursday, August 29th. Chattanooga then travels to JSU on September 7th. They visit the Vols on September 14th before hosting James Madison on September 21st.
In the Herosports.com preseason rankings, three of the Mocs opponents are in the top ten. James Madison is number one. JSU is sixth, and Wofford is ranked 8th.
Said Wright:”Well that’s one poll I would rather not be number one in for sure. But yeah I think it’s good. You’re going to get two of the top five teams in the country at our level coming into Finley.”
Reporter:”Is there a science to scheduling at all or?”
Said Mocs athletic director Mark Wharton:”There’s a certain science. There’s a lot of arguing up on the fourth floor about who we should go after or who not to go after and why and those types of things. And then the dates. Trying to keep a home open. An open weekend in the middle of the season rather than on the front end or the back end.”
Road trips to Jacksonville State and Knoxville should be popular with UTC fans.
Said Wharton:”You know Jacksonville State’s home game atmosphere is unbelievable. We have a lot of people that really like that trip. Again we are trying to work with Knoxville to play once every five years.”
Said Wright:”People want to see what playoff atmosphere is like when we play Jacksonville State and James Madison at home. You’re actually playing a hopefully a playoff game in September.”
Reporter:”Would you rather have everybody say oh they’ve got a tough schedule or oh they’ve got an easy schedule?”
Said Wright:”Sure you want them to say you’ve got to play a tough schedule. You know you are playing good people. Like I said in September playing that schedule. Then in October and November it’s going to help us when we get into the conference for sure.”
There’s only one FBS game on tap this year in Tennessee, but that could change in the future.
Said Wharton:”In the 2024 and 2025 we play 12 games. We are looking really hard at trying to do that. A high level FBS, and then a group of five. So we won’t play Alabama or Auburn in the same year, but we are looking at trying to mix that up.”