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UAlbany football is thinking ahead

UAlbany football is thinking ahead

Great Danes scheduled to play Hawaii in 2023
UAlbany football is thinking ahead
UAlbany will play at Hawaii in 2023.
Photographer: Marco Garcia/USA TODAY Sports

ALBANY — There is planning ahead.

And, then, there is what the University at Albany football program has done.

The school confirmed this week the Great Danes will play at Hawaii, an FBS program — in 2023.

“It gets here fast,” UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said at Thursday’s spring practice. “Trust me.”

That game will take place Sept. 2 against the Rainbow Warriors, a game which brings with it a $150,000 guarantee for UAlbany — plus money for airfare.

The trip will take a UAlbany program to Hawaii for the first time, but Gattuso pointed out no players on this year’s team — and, perhaps, next year’s team — will make that trip.

“There’s not a kid on this team who is going to play in that game,” Gattuso said, “and the kids coming in [2019], they’d have to redshirt to play in that game.”

UAlbany typically schedules one game per season against an FBS program, which represents a chance for the Great Danes — an FCS program — to play up in competition and also collect a hefty check. In 2016, too, UAlbany walked away from its guarantee game against Buffalo with a victory.

This upcoming season, UAlbany will play at Pittsburgh. The Great Danes are also scheduled to play at Central Michigan in 2019, UMass in 2020 — that one was confirmed this week, too — and Syracuse in 2021. The Great Danes do not have a confirmed FBS opponent yet for 2022.

Gattuso credited UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson and deputy athletic director Jerry Koloskie with making sure the Great Danes are set with FBS opponents for years to come. Guarantee games, Gattuso said, are difficult to find only a season or two in advance.

“We want to be five years, six years out,” Gattuso said. “It makes life a lot easier than if you are looking for a game late.”

Reach Michael Kelly at mkelly@dailygazette.net or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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