Cowboys get new FB schedule

Published 11:27 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

For the third, and hopefully, final time before the season actually kicks off, McNeese State’s football schedule for the upcoming season is out. 

The Southland Conference was forced to update the league schedule thanks to the return of Stephen F. Austin Wednesday. The league posted the new schedule Thursday.

After spending three years in the Western Athletic Conference, the Lumberjacks officially announced their move back to the SLC. In the summer of 2021, SFA officials helped lead a group of four Texas schools to league the Southland for the WAC.

Email newsletter signup

With the Jacks back, the Cowboys and the rest of the league moved forward with the new schedule.

“We are all excited about the upcoming football season,” said McNeese Athletic Director Heath Schroyer. “I think adding SFA is tremendous for our league for so many reasons. However, adding them this late has made all of the existing members tweak some things.

“However, the most important thing is we are 90 days from kick-off and I couldn’t be more excited to get back on the field and winning football games.”

For McNeese, the changes appear subtle, but there is no home game in October. McNeese will be away from Cowboy Stadium from Sept. 21 until Nov. 2.

“We have brought together a very good roster and we are excited to show our fans this team,” said McNeese head coach Gary Goff. “I think it is great for the conference to get a program like SFA back. It will benefit us all.”

As for the tough portion of the schedule, Goff said, “It will be tough not being at home for that stretch. I’m disappointed for our fans that they won’t get to see our team for that month, but it is something we will have to work through. 

“Nobody is ever happy with their entire schedule.”

The SLC didn’t do McNeese any favors for sure. Thanks to last season’s cancellation by Northwestern State, the Cowboys, the leader in football attendance, had just nine home games in two years.

Incarnate Word, for example, has seven just this season.

The Cowboys will still have five home games and seven road, opening the season on one of the ESPN networks at Tarleton State Aug. 24. A week later they will play their home opener against Southern, giving them a rare two games before Labor Day.

All five of the non-conference games will remain the same.

McNeese will play Texas A&M in College Station on Sept. 7. It will be likely on the SEC Network, giving the Cowboys two nationally televised games over the first three weeks.

The big change is on Sept. 14. At first that was to be when the Cowboys traveled to Stephenville, Texas to play Tarelton. That became an open date when it was moved to Week Zero for television.

Now it will serve as the SLC opener as McNeese will host its old rivals from SFA. The Cowboys hold a 20-13-1 record against the Lumberjacks, winning the last three in the series.

Following that will be a home game against Alcorn and then a final non-conference battle at Weber State, the only plane trip of the season. After an Oct. 6 game at Houston Christian, the Cowboys will have their first of two bye weeks. The second comes on Nov. 9, the original date of the HCU game.

The biggest of changes comes on Nov. 2 for homecoming. Originally scheduled to be played against Southeastern, McNeese will now host Texas A&M-Commerce on that date. The Cowboys will not play SLU this season as SFA’s late addition forced all schools to miss playing one league foe this year.

Updated 2024 McNeese Football Schedule

Aug. 24   at Tarleton State (2:30 p.m., ESPNU)

Aug. 31   Southern (7 p.m., ESPN+)

Sept. 7    at Texas A&M (11:45 a.m., SECN)

Sept. 14  *Stephen F. Austin (7 p.m., ESPN+) 

Sept. 21  Alcorn State (7 p.m., ESPN+) 

Sept. 28  at Weber State (TBA, ESPN+)

Oct. 5      *at Houston Christian (6 p.m., ESPN+)

Oct. 12    Bye Week

Oct. 19    *at Incarnate Word (TBA, ESPN+)

Oct. 26    *at Nicholls (TBA, ESPN+)

Nov. 2      *Texas A&M-Commerce (7 p.m., ESPN+) 

Nov. 9      Bye Week

Nov. 16    *at Northwestern State (TBA, ESPN+)

Nov. 23    *Lamar (7 p.m., ESPN+) 

*SLC games