Football schedule revised

Portland State’s 2001 football schedule has had a slight revision. The Sept. 9 game at Troy State has been canceled, replaced by an Oct. 6 trip to S.W. Texas State.

The Vikings’ schedule maintains a national-caliber feel as it was necessary for PSU to change one Southland Conference opponent for another. Troy State, the Southland champion, recently backed out of an agreement with PSU to sign a five-year deal with Middle Tennessee State. TSU, which is moving up to NCAA 1-A status in 2001, preferred to face another 1-A school rather than 1-AA Portland State. As a result, PSU will receive a $30,000 buyout from TSU.

In the meantime, PSU was able to schedule an Oct. 6 meeting against another Southland school, Southwest Texas State. The Bobcats were 7-4 last season and finished the year ranked 24th in the nation. Southwest Texas State is located San Marcos, Texas.

PSU, which battled its way into the NCAA 1-AA playoffs for the first time in 2000, will strive to do so again against an equally difficult schedule. Portland State was 8-4 in 2000 and finished the year ranked 15th.

The Vikings will still have six home games and five road games in 2001. The season opens at Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 1. SFA (6-5 in 2000) is also a Southland Conference team located in Nacogdoches, Texas. The following week will be open as PSU prepares for its Big Sky Conference and home opener on Sept. 15 with Sacramento State. It will be the first college football game played in newly-renovated PGE Park.

PSU also plays Northern Arizona (Sept. 29), Weber State (Oct. 20) and Montana State (Nov. 3) in home conference games. The Vikings have three Big Sky road games, traveling to Idaho State (Oct. 13), playing at 1-AA finalist Montana (Oct. 27) and Eastern Washington (Nov. 10).

Portland State hosts two non-conference home games in 2001. The first is the Vanport Football Classic against Grambling State (Grambling, La.). PSU welcomes the Tigers to town for a Sept. 22 date at PGE Park. Numerous events will surround the game to honor the memory of the city of Vanport and PSU’s origins as Vanport College. Grambling State, coached by former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams, was 10-2 in 2000, and completed the year ranked 13th.

The other non-conference game will be against Cal State-Northridge. The Matadors’ Athletic program, which currently competes in the Big Sky, moves to the Big West Conference in 2001. CSN was 4-7 in 2000.

PSU’s 2001 opponents had a combined 69-57 record in 2000. Four of the teams ended the year nationally-ranked: Montana (2nd), Grambling State (13th), Weber State (18th) and Southwest Texas State (24th). The Vikings will not make a return trip to 2000 opponent Hofstra as originally planned. Hofstra had to drop the game after joining the Atlantic 10 Conference for the 2001 season.

After playing its 2000 schedule at Hillsboro Stadium, PSU returns to PGE Park (formerly Civic Stadium). The Vikings had to play at Hillsboro due to renovations to the stadium. PGE Park has been the home field for the Vikings since 1967.

The NCAA 1-AA playoffs begin on Nov. 24 with a 16-team field selected by the NCAA.