With the 2014 season-opener a week away, the Cal Poly football team released its schedule for the 2015 season, a slate of games that includes a visit to Pac-12 country to face Arizona State and a recently finalized home-and-home with FCS power Northern Iowa.
The Mustangs open the upcoming season next Thursday at FBS New Mexico State. The following season, Cal Poly will open with a bye before visitng the Sun Devils on Sept. 12, 2015.
Arizona State won the Pac-12 South Division last season and is ranked 19th in the preseason Associated Press poll.
Northern Iowa will visit Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Sept. 19, 2015, and Cal Poly will make a return trip to Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 2017.
Northern Iowa, which is ranked ninth in the preseason Sporting News FCS poll, has won 33 conference championships in program history and advanced to the FCS national championship game in 2005.
The 2015 season will also include Big Sky Conference road trips to Montana State, Eastern Washington, Southern Utah and UC Davis. The Mustangs will also travel to Montana for a nonconference game.
Idaho State, Portland State, Sacramento State and North Dakota will come to San Luis Obispo in Big Sky play.
Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh called it the toughest schedule he’s faced since playing New Mexico, Cal and Oregon as the head coach of Portland State in 2006.
“Arizona State, Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington, Montana and Montana State — it’s not going to get any tougher than that,” Walsh said in a news release. “We have our work cut out for us, no question.”
Cal Poly men’s soccer voted third in Big West North
The Cal Poly men’s soccer team was picked to finish third in the Big West Conference’s four-team North Division, and the Mustangs landed three on the preseason all-conference team when results of the preseason coaches’ poll were released Thursday.
Junior forward Matt LaGrassa, junior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton and sophomore winger Justin Dhillon were on the 11-player all-Big West preseason team.
LaGrassa, a 2013 all-Big West first-team honoree, finished eighth in the conference with six goals last season. Hamilton, fourth in Cal Poly history with a 1.40 goals-against average, finished second in the conference with 67 saves last season. Dhillon is coming off a season where he ranked seventh in the Big West with six assists and was named to the conference all-freshman team.
Having lost head coach Paul Holocher to an abrupt resignation last week, the Mustangs do return eight starters from a team that finished 3-5-2 in the Big West and 10-9-2 overall.
Cal Poly received 19 points in the preseason poll to finish behind UC Santa Barbara, which had 32 points and all eight first-place votes, and UC Davis with 20 points. Sacramento State was fourth with nine points.
In the conference’s South Division, defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Northridge was first with 30 points and six first-place votes. Defending South Division regular-season winner UC Irvine was second with 24 points. UC Riverside (14 points) and Cal State Fullerton (12 points) rounded out the poll.
Cal Poly opens the season with a two-match road trip at Davidson on Aug. 29 and North Carolina State on Aug. 31.
The Mustangs open their 11-match home slate at Spanos Stadium on Sept. 5 against Northern Illinois at 7 p.m.