Posted: Sep 19, 2019
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- During the first of two bye weeks this year, Cal Poly has announced its 11-game 2020 football schedule.
The slate features another Pac-12 matchup, this time at Cal, a second newcomer to the Mustang schedule in ULM (formerly Louisiana-Monroe), another home game versus San Diego and four Big Sky Conference games at home, including Weber State and UC Davis.
The 2020 Cal Poly football schedule, released Thursday by Director of Athletics Don Oberhelman and head football coach Tim Walsh, is highlighted by the Mustangs' third game ever against a Pac-12 school. Cal Poly played at Arizona State in 2015 and at Oregon State last week.
"Another very difficult schedule, starting off with two FBS schools in Louisiana-Monroe and a now nationally-ranked Cal program, will make it an interesting beginning to 2020," said Walsh, in his 11th season with the Mustangs. "Then follow it with Big Sky powers Montana, Montana State and Weber State and we will definitely have our work cut out for us."
The Mustangs and Bears will play Sept. 12 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, the first meeting ever between the two schools. Another first meeting will take place between Cal Poly and ULM in the season opener Sept. 5 at Monroe.
Like the Bears, the Warhawks are a Football Bowl Subdivision member, elevating their program from the Football Championship Subdivision in 1994. ULM claimed the 1987 FCS title with a 43-42 win over Marshall inside Idaho State's Minidome (now Holt Arena).
Including this year, Cal Poly has played an FBS school in 14 of the last 15 seasons, including two FBS teams in a year seven times, the last in 2013 versus Colorado State and Fresno State. The Mustangs have won five games against FBS schools — New Mexico State in 1997, UTEP in 2003, San Diego State in both 2006 and 2008 and Wyoming in 2012.
Cal Poly will play five regular season games inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, opening with the University of San Diego on Sept. 19 and following with Big Sky Conference contests against Weber State on Oct. 3, UC Davis on Oct. 24, Idaho State on Nov. 14 and Northern Arizona on Nov. 21.
The Mustangs' four Big Sky games on the road are Sept. 26 at Montana, Oct. 10 at Montana State, Oct. 31 at Portland State and Nov. 7 at Sacramento State.
"Four of the first six away is a difficult way to begin, but we have always played one of the most difficult schedules in the FCS and this will be probably the most difficult," Walsh said. "Home games against Pioneer League power San Diego and Big Sky contenders Weber State, Northern Arizona and our rival, UC Davis, will be good, but the first six games will be telling and, in the Big Sky, anyone can beat anyone on any given day."
San Diego, Montana State, UC Davis and Weber State were 2018 Football Championship Subdivision playoff qualifiers. Last season, Cal Poly played eight teams ranked at one time or another in FCS Top 25 polls, winning four of its last six games en route to a 5-6 record.
This season's schedule is just as tough as Cal Poly is playing three straight and four of six on the road in the first half and is facing all three teams which shared the Big Sky title — Eastern Washington, Weber State and UC Davis — in 2018.
The Mustangs will have a bye on Oct. 17.
Cal Poly will not play Big Sky members Idaho, Northern Colorado, Eastern Washington and Southern Utah in 2020. The Mustangs, who open 2019 Big Sky play next Saturday at Southern Utah, are 30-26 in their first seven seasons in the Big Sky, capturing the conference crown in 2012.
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