ASU head football coach Mike White
ALBANY — Mike White still feels the sting, and so do his players.
It’s been less than four months since the Albany State football team was blown out by North Greenville in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs, but the pain is still fresh from the Rams’ 63-14 loss — White’s most lopsided defeat in his 12-year coaching career.
The Rams now have a shot to avenge that loss.
Albany State’s 2012 schedule was released Thursday evening, and the Rams will open up the season Sept. 1 at home against the Crusaders.
“I think that definitely catches the eyes of the players and gets the coaches’ attention,” White said. “They really beat up on us.”
The rematch with North Greenville, which went on to rout Mars Hill in the second round of the playoffs before falling to Delta State in the quarterfinals, is just one of several marquee matchups the Rams have on their 2012 schedule — but noticeably absent is bitter rival Valdosta State.
The Rams renewed their rivalry with the Blazers last year, playing them for the first time since 2007. On Thursday, White said he hopes both schools can get their schedules “straightened out” so the teams can face each other annually.
“I hope we can get that worked out for a lot of reasons,” White said. “For traveling purposes as much as anything.”
White would love to see some short road trips on the schedule, especially given the Rams’ two other non-conference games in 2012. ASU will travel to North Carolina in back-to-back weeks to play Wingate on Sept. 8 and then Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University on Sept. 15, and both teams have playoff experience.
Wingate was knocked out of the playoffs in 2010 by ASU, and Elizabeth City lost an opening-round game last season to California (Penn.).
The Rams are 2-0 against Wingate and are coming off a 49-28 win against the Bulldogs last season but are traveling for the first time to Wingate’s Irwin Belk Stadium. ASU has never played Elizabeth City, which was the CIAA runner-up last year.
Without a bye week (again), the Rams dive right into conference play in the fourth week of the season. They open up with three West Division foes — reigning conference champ Miles at home, Kentucky State on the road and Lane at home — and then wrap up the regular season with four East Division games against annual opponents Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, Benedict and Fort Valley State.
The Rams will play in three Classics this season: The Music City Classic in Macon on Oct. 6 against Lane, the Augusta City Classic on Oct. 27 against Benedict and the 23rd annual Fountain City Classic on Nov. 3 against Fort Valley State.
On Wednesday, however, White was fully focused on his team’s progress this spring, which he said has been promising.
“We have a lot of young players that we need to work on,” White said. “We are getting ready to have a good year. Last year we didn’t like the way we finished, but we think we will have what we need to have a better season. So instead of thinking about who we are playing or who is on our schedule, we are concerned about ourselves.”
ASU finished 8-4 last season and advanced to the playoffs for the eighth straight year. The Rams will play their annual Blue and Gold spring scrimmage March 23.
Albany State football's 2012 schedule
Date Opponent/Location Time
9/1 vs. North Greenville* 7 p.m.
9/8 at Wingate (N.C.) University TBA
9/15 at Elizabeth City (N.C.) State TBA
9/22 vs. Miles College 7 p.m.
9/29 at Kentucky State TBA
10/6 vs. Lane College in Macon 7 p.m.
10/13 vs. Morehouse College TBA
10/20 vs. Clark Atlanta (Homecoming) 2 p.m.
10/27 at Benedict College TBA
11/3 vs. Fort Valley St. in Columbus 2 p.m.
11/10 Conference title game in Atlanta TBA
*Dr. Joseph Winthrop Holley Memorial Game
Denotes conference games
(All BOLD denotes home games)