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2012 Massachusetts Football Preview

Each Wednesday, up through August, I’ll cover a different Big Ten team or Michigan non-conference opponent. This week, I’m covering the Massachusetts Minutemen, the third game on Michigan’s schedule in 2012.

To see all of our football previews, click here.

2012 Massachusetts Minutemen Football Preview

2011 Record: 5-6 (3-5 CAA)

Head Coach: Charley Molnar, first season

Projected Returning Starters: 15

Spring Game: April 28th

Notes: Massachusetts replaces Temple in the MAC in 2012. The Minutemen are in the first year of their transition to FBS, being ineligible for the post-season, including the MAC Championship. Charley Molnar, offensive coordinator under Brian Kelly at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and, most recently, Notre Dame, takes over for the fired-Kevin Morris. Coach Molnar signed a five-year contract with UMass and will receive a base salary of $250,000, with plenty of chances to enhance that salary up to $500,000 per season. Because many of the incentives are performance-based, don’t expect Molnar to earn $500,000 this season.

BVTSB Take: In 1998, the Minutemen won the the-Division I-AA Championship, under current Cleveland Browns quarterback coach Mark Whipple, with an overall 12-3 record. Since that time, they won four conference championships, three with the Atlantic 10 and one with the CAA. For those not familiar with UMass, they play their home games at the McGuirk Alumni Stadium, a 17,000-seat stadium in Hadley, Massachusetts. Currently, the stadium is undergoing renovations and will be unusable for 2012 and 2013. The Minutemen will instead play at Gillette Stadium for those seasons, and will play a minimum of four home games at Gillette Stadium though the 2016 season. Massachusetts opens at Connecticut then plays Big Ten opponents Indiana and Michigan in Foxborough and Ann Arbor, respectively. UMass plays at Vanderbilt later in the season. Massachusetts returns starting quarterback Kellen Pagel, a transfer from Bowling Green. The Minutemen lose their starting running back and their top three wide receivers. Things will be tough for the Minutemen, to expect more than a few wins would be overly optimistic.

2012 Early Projection: 1-11

To see the 2012 MAC composite schedule, click here.

What are your thoughts on Massachusetts football? Tweet to us @BVTSB.