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Notre Dame is among future UMass foes in football

Massachusetts Jonathan Hernandez ran past Rhode Island's Evan Shields during a game on Sept. 17, 2011.

The Republican, David Molnar/Associated Press

Massachusetts Jonathan Hernandez ran past Rhode Island's Evan Shields during a game on Sept. 17, 2011.

The University of Massachusetts has signed agreements to play several elite football programs in upcoming seasons, including Notre Dame, Penn State, Florida, Kansas State, Colorado, and Wisconsin, in addition to Boston College, the school announced.

The Minutemen, first-year members of the Mid-American Conference and Football Bowl Subdivision this fall, open the 2012 season with a Thursday night game against Connecticut Aug. 30 before hosting Indiana at Gillette Stadium in their home opener Sept. 8.

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Also included on the nonconference schedule are Big Ten power Michigan (Sept. 15) and Vanderbilt (Oct. 27) of the Southeastern Conference.

In 2013, UMass will play at Wisconsin and Kansas State in addition to a home meeting with Vanderbilt as part of a four-game series with the Commodores over the next eight years.

Home games at Gillette Stadium against BC and Colorado, along with games at Penn State and Vanderbilt, are scheduled for 2014.

The BC and Colorado games are part of a three-game agreement. UMass’s meeting with Penn State is just for 2014.

The Minutemen have a return game at Colorado along with a trip to Notre Dame scheduled for 2015.

In 2016, UMass will play at Florida and BC, while the 2017 schedule features a return game at Indiana.

As part of a two-year transition, UMass will not be eligible to win the MAC championship or qualify for one of the league’s five bowl games until 2013.

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