ORONO, Maine - University of Maine athletic director Blake James announced on Monday the school and Syracuse have signed a contract to face each other on the gridiron during the upcoming season. The game will be played on Sept. 26, 2009, in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. The Carrier Dome is one of the most exciting venues in all of college sports as it is home to Syracuse's football and basketball programs.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the Maine football program," James said. "Syracuse is a program rich in tradition. Coach Jack Cosgrove and his staff have done an excellent job in the past getting the Black Bears ready to face Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools, and I feel strongly they will do the same in getting ready for this game. I hope that all of Black Bear Nation shares in the athletic department's excitement."
Maine's showdown against the Orange in 2009 will mark the sixth-straight season the Black Bears will be facing a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent. The Black Bears are 1-6 all-time against FBS schools (formerly I-A), including a 9-7 win over SEC-foe Mississippi State in 2004. Syracuse marks the third Big East opponent Maine will face in its history, as the Black Bears also took on Rutgers during the 1991 season and Connecticut in 2007.
The seven previous FBS schools Maine has faced, include: Hawai'i (1990), Rutgers (1991), Mississippi State (2004), Nebraska (2005), Boston College (2006), Connecticut (2007) and Iowa (2008). The last four FBS opponents Maine has faced went on to compete in a post-season bowl game following the regular season. Three of those teams (Nebraska, Boston College and Iowa) went on to win their respective bowl games that season.
Maine is coming off a thrilling 2008 season which saw the Black Bears qualify for the NCAA FCS playoffs. Maine finished the season ranked 16th in the final FCS Coaches Top 25 Poll, and 18th in the final Sports Network poll.