The University of Maine’s football team will play the University of New Mexico for the first time ever and will face Boston College for the 10th time next season.
And UMaine will receive $750,000 for the two games.
UMaine is one of few Football Championship Subdivision teams that plays two higher-level Football Bowl Subdivision teams each year. Most play only one, if that. The income helps fund the football program, provides top-notch competition and is a valuable recruiting tool.
UMaine will earn a $400,000 payout from Boston College and $350,000 from New Mexico.
“Our team is always excited for our FBS games every year,” UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said. “We have played more FBS games than any FCS program in the last decade. We embrace and relish the opportunity to compete at a high level. Both games will be great matchups for our program and will be tremendous opportunities.”
Over the last decade, beginning with the 2010 season, UMaine has played 17 games against FBS opponents, going 3-14 against them. Seven of the losses were by 15 points or less.
FCS teams are allowed a maximum of 63 scholarships while FBS teams can have as many as 85. This allows FBS schools to attract better players because they have more resources and funding, they play in larger stadiums and get more media exposure.
FBS schools also provide more of a pipeline to the National Football League.
The Black Bears will venture to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sept. 3 and bus to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, two weeks later for a Sept. 17 showdown with the Eagles.
Boston College leads the all-time series 6-3 including back-to-back wins in 2014 (24-3) and 2015 (40-10) in their last two meetings.
Boston College, which is in the Atlantic Coast Conference, would have been invited to play in a bowl game for the fifth straight year last fall but the Eagles opted out due to the pandemic.
The team was 6-5 overall and 5-5 in the ACC last fall including a 34-28 road loss to Clemson, which reached the FBS playoff semifinals where it was ousted by Ohio State.
The BC Eagles have been picked to finish third among seven teams in the ACC’s Atlantic Division this season behind Clemson and North Carolina State and ahead of Florida State, Wake Forest, Louisville and Syracuse.
UMaine head coach Nick Charlton is a Boston College graduate with a degree in philosophy and a master’s in administrative science and he is also a former BC grad assistant coach.
New Mexico is in a rebuilding mode under second-year head coach Danny Gonzales, who was the finalist for the 2018 Broyles Award that goes to the nation’s top assistant coach when he was the defensive coordinator for Herm Edwards at Arizona State University.
Gonzales, a former New Mexico player and assistant coach who was also an assistant at San Diego State, guided the Lobos to a 2-5 record overall and in the Mountain West Conference last fall. Three of their losses were by 10 points or less.
The two MWC victories matched the total of conference wins for the previous three seasons combined (2-22).
The Lobos have been picked to finish last in the six-team Mountain Division of the MWC this fall.
UMaine is playing Northern Illinois (Sept. 25) and the University of Massachusetts (Nov. 13) for its FBS games this season.