Vanderbilt has finalized its 2014 non-conference football schedule.
The Commodores will host Temple and Old Dominion in addition to previously announced games against Massachusetts and Wake Forest, athletic director David Williams confirmed on Wednesday night. All four games will be at Vanderbilt Stadium.
Vanderbilt will open the season against Temple. The game is tentatively set for Aug. 30. Old Dominion comes to Nashville on Nov. 1. Both contests are one-year deals.
Williams said Southeastern Conference officials have put more of an emphasis on scattering non-conference games throughout the season, instead of stacking all four games in the opening month. But he said it can be tricky to secure opponents since most try to schedule non-conference games early in the season.
“We’re trying to work on an approach where we can spread our four non-conference games throughout that period of time,” Williams said. “So it is really hard to find a school. Old Dominion was a school that basically because of them starting [a Football Bowl Division program] they could actually play us in a November. That was something very hard to find.”
Vanderbilt is in the second year of a four-year series with UMass. The Minutemen play in Nashville on Oct. 4, 2014. The Commodores head to Foxborough, Mass., to play in New England’s Gillette Stadium — the temporary home of UMass — this upcoming season and in 2015.
The last game of a seven-year series against Wake Forest will be held on Nov. 29, 2014. The teams began the series in 2007.
Temple is in its second year of its second stint in the Big East — now the American Athletic Conference. The Owls were 4-7 last year. Old Dominion began a football program in 2009 and begins its first FBS season this year. The Monarchs will join Conference USA in 2014. They went 11-2 in 2012 and reached the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Old Dominion will play FBS teams for the first time this year with games against East Carolina, Maryland, Idaho, Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Vanderbilt will be the Monarch’s first game against an SEC team.
“It is going to be a major challenge,” Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder said on Wednesday at Conference USA Media Day when asked about playing FBS teams. “We have a team that is up for the challenge. There is a lot of excitement around our program. A lot of guys that like to have been recruited by BCS conference schools and maybe were just a little bit overlooked. Here is your opportunity to prove you belong at that level and you deserve an opportunity to play that level of competition. So here it comes.”
UMass enters its second season in the Mid-American Conference and first as a full-fledged FBS member. The Minutemen went 1-11 in 2012, which included a 49-7 loss at Vanderbilt.
Wake Forest was 5-7 last year and ended the season with a 55-21 loss to the Commodores. The teams again close the regular season this year with a game in Nashville on Nov. 30.
Vanderbilt opens the 2013 season on Aug. 29 against Ole Miss and plays non-conference games against Austin Peay, UAB, UMass and Wake Forest.