For the first time in its history, the Nevada football team will play against a school from the Southeastern Conference as the Wolf Pack will take on Texas A&M next season, the school announced today as part of a handful of scheduling moves.
Included in the moves: Nevada has entered into a two-game series with Buffalo as the Pack will travel to New York in 2015, with a return visit from the Bulls to Mackay Stadium in 2016. Nevada and UCLA mutually agreed to end an agreement that had scheduled games between the teams in 2015 and 2016. Nevada and BYU mutually agreed to remove a 2019 trip by the Wolf Pack to Provo, Utah from the schedule. - The Wolf Pack’s scheduled game at Idaho in 2015 has been moved to a later date, most likely in 2021 or 2022.
“The landscape of college football is ever-changing and there was a need to restructure our future schedules,” athletics director Doug Knuth said. “We continue to work toward a scheduling model and competitive balance from which we will benefit the most. Also, with financial guarantees coming from the Texas A&M game and the Notre Dame game in 2016, we are able to provide important resources and improvements to our program.”
Said Nevada head coach Brian Polian: “I am pleased with the adjustments that we have accomplished in our future schedules. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to scheduling, not the least of which is how tough and competitive the Mountain West is, year-in and year-out.”
The Nevada-Texas A&M game is slated for Sept. 19, 2015 and will mark Nevada’s first road game of the season after opening at Mackay Stadium with UC Davis and a visit from Pac-12 foe Arizona. Nevada will then travel to Buffalo to play the Bulls on Sept. 26.
In 2016, Nevada will again open at home, with a matchup against Cal Poly. Nevada will then make its second-ever trip to Notre Dame before coming home to face Buffalo. The Wolf Pack will close out the non-conference schedule that year with a trip to Purdue.
“From a football point of view, the Texas A&M game offers our players and fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Kyle Field, one of college football’s great atmospheres,” Polian said. “Having spent a season in College Station, I can attest to what a unique place it is to play a game. It also gives us a chance to have a presence in the state of Texas, where we have committed recruiting resources and have found some success.
“The Buffalo series was born from a desire to schedule a ‘Group of Five’ opponent for a home-and-home series. They were also looking for a series and there were some previous relationships and history that enabled us to put this together. We fell like the series benefits both programs.”
There are a number of storylines with the Nevada-Buffalo series as the Bulls previously played at Mackay in 2004, with the Wolf Pack taking a 38-13 victory. Buffalo’s head coach at the time was Jim Hofher, who is now Nevada’s assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. New Wolf Pack graduate assistant coach Steven King played on that 2004 team. And Polian was raised in Buffalo as his father was the general manager of the Buffalo Bills in the 1980s and ‘90s and he later coached at Buffalo, in 1998 and later from 2001-03.
This will be Nevada’s second-ever meeting with Texas A&M. The teams played in 1950 when the Aggies were part of the Southwest Conference and Texas A&M won 48-18. Nevada has twice played current SEC member Missouri but those games came in 2008 and 2009 when the Tigers were a Big 12 school.