UMass-UNH coming to Gillette Stadium


Our own college football guy Mark Blaudschun had the story back in January, and the Patriots made the official announcement moments ago … College football is coming to Gillette Stadium for the first time.

Colonial Athletic Association rivals Massachusetts and New Hampshire (Thanks to Don Treeger of the Springfield Republican for the picture) have signed up to play their games in 2010 (Oct. 23) and 2011 in Foxborough. And so now the question becomes whether this is just the start of a larger trend at Gillette.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it an emphasis to make his new Taj Mahal a college football capital, and it hosted BYU-Oklahoma, Arkansas-Texas A&M, Baylor-Texas Tech, the Big 12 Championship Game and the Cotton Bowl in its first year. The new Yankee Stadium has similar plans, with Army set to host Notre Dame, Air Force, Rutgers, and Boston College over the next five years in the Bronx, and the newly created Pinstripe Bowl launching this winter.

Could Patriots owner Robert Kraft have similar plans? Blaudschun mentioned Notre Dame (which is scheduled to visit Cowboys Stadium, in addition to its game vs. Army at Yankee Stadium) as a possibility down the road.

Logistically, it’d be harder to host such a game for the Patriots, because of the dearth of big-time college football around here, and a comparative lukewarm overall interest in the sport in this area. But as a big fan of the college game (and the game at all levels), I’d be fired up to see them to work to this end. I sense Kraft feels the same way.

“We are extremely excited to bring college football to Gillette Stadium,” the Patriots owner said in a statement. “We look forward to creating a tremendous atmosphere for these two great New England rivals, their students, alumni and fans. We have celebrated many memorable moments at Gillette Stadium and hope that the memory of playing in the inaugural college football game at Gillette Stadium will last a lifetime for all of the game’s participants.”


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