For the first time in school history, the Toledo Rockets will open the home football schedule against archrivals, the Bowling Green Falcons.
After road games at Arizona Sept. 1 and Wyoming Sept. 8, Toledo will host BGSU at the Glass Bowl Saturday, Sept. 15, the 77th meeting between the schools and the first time the game will serve as UT’s home opener.
Among UT’s other five home games will be a Saturday, Oct. 20, battle with Big East opponent Cincinnati, the first appearance by the Bearcats in the Glass Bowl since 1993.
Toledo also will host Coastal Carolina Saturday, Sept. 22; Central Michigan Saturday, Oct. 6; Ball State Tuesday, Nov. 6; and Akron Saturday, Nov. 20. The Ball State and Akron games will be carried on ESPN2.
The Rockets’ conference road games will be at Western Michigan Saturday, Sept. 29; at Eastern Michigan Saturday, Oct. 13; at Buffalo Saturday, Oct. 27; and at Northern Illinois Wednesday, Nov. 14. The NIU game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
“Our schedule is very challenging but also very exciting for our players and fans,” said Matt Campbell, who will enter his first full season as the Rockets’ head coach. “The Glass Bowl should be rocking for our home opener and all season long. I know our players and coaching staff can’t wait for the season to begin, and I’m sure our fans feel the same way.”
Toledo’s season opener at Arizona will mark the debut of Rich Rodriguez as the head coach of the Wildcats. The Rockets knocked off a Rodriguez-coached Michigan team in 2008.
A week later, the Rockets head to Wyoming, which is coached by former Rocket assistant Dave Christensen.
Toledo was picked to finish first in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division in voting performed by 17 members of the league’s media contingent in an annual preseason poll.
The Rockets received seven first-place votes and a total of 87 points in the annual poll to edge Northern Illinois (83 points) and Western Michigan (79). Ball State (42), Eastern Michigan (34) and Central Michigan (32) rounded out the voting.
Toledo also received three votes to win the annual Marathon MAC Football Championship Game between the winners of the West and East divisions. Ohio, which was picked to repeat as East Division champs, received five votes to win it all.
“It says a lot about our program,” Campbell said. “But it’s just a preseason poll. Obviously, we hope to be there at the end of November.”
Toledo is coming off a 9-4 season in 2011 (7-1 MAC), including a 42-41 victory over Air Force in the Military Bowl. The Rockets return three All-MAC players, along with quarterbacks Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens, and junior wide receiver Bernard Reedy, the 2011 Military Bowl MVP.
Rocket football season ticket orders are being taken; call 419.530.GOLD (4653). UT students are admitted free with ID; faculty and staff may purchase tickets half off with ID.