Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Morning Wood: UMass moving to SEC in 2019

Minutemen have been Independent for two years

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By Frat Bro, Worships Tom Brady during his free time

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After two years as an Independent, the Massachusetts football team has found a conference.

Athletic Director Ryan Bamford announced Sunday that UMass will be joining the Southeastern Conference following the 2018 season.

“It’s been a long process, but we are proud to announce our move to the SEC following next season,” Bamford said. “We feel we are ready for the competition, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

The Minutemen have faced off with SEC opponents each of the last two seasons, going 0-5, though nearly coming away with an upset victory over Tennessee this past season, falling 17-13.

UMass has one game this season scheduled against SEC teams, traveling to Athens, Georgia to take on the Bulldogs.

“We know what level we are capable of playing at,” UMass coach Mark Whipple said. “After a few years as an Independent, we are ready to have a set schedule each year. We look forward to going out and competing against some of the best teams in the country.”

The SEC is considered one of the top conferences in football, as last year’s national championship game featured two of its prized teams, Alabama and Georgia. With the move, the Minutemen will put themselves in a position where they can show their talent and get absolutely slaughtered against premiere college football teams on a weekly basis.

“We’ve come a long way the past few years,” Bamford said. “The SEC is a great conference with great talent. We hope to one day make it to the National Championship game the way Alabama and Georgia did this year. That is the goal and one of the main reasons for the switch.”

The Minutemen moved to Division I in 2013, and joined the Mid-American Conference where they stayed for two years before going Independent. Whipple feels the time spent in the MAC has prepared the team when they make the move to the SEC, because those two things are totally comparable.

“We got a feel for conference play during our time in the MAC,” Whipple said. “We know the SEC will be a challenge, but we feel we are ready for it. We hope to get some wins and develop some rivalries. Getting a win in Georgia this year would definitely do a lot for our confidence heading in.”

In order to prepare for the bigger conference, UMass has scheduled a scrimmage before the 2019 season with the New England Patriots.

“Anytime you can schedule a scrimmage with a team like the Patriots you have to take it,” Bamford said. “They’re a first class organization, and we want to see how close we are to being able to compete with the best. There’s no better way to do that than going up against the five-time Super Bowl champions led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.”

Asked if he thought his team could compete with an NFL team, Whipple didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

“We can compete against anyone,” Whipple said. “I don’t care who it is, we will give it our all. Brady will be 42 by the time the game happens, and we feel our speed and youth will give him trouble.”

Frat Bro can be reached by sled dogs as he lives in the Alps.

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