PROGRAM SCHEDULE PROPAGANDA: UNRELEASED
THIS IS WHY WE FIGHT: THE SCHEDULE
Playing an eight-game conference schedule -- not including the Patriot League's expanded postseason tournament -- makes things difficult for Bucknell and its conference peers to build out a slate with differing opponent flavors. The result is a schedule that features all kinds of familiar faces and a handful of nonconference dates that support -- rather than accelerate -- the Patriot League aspect to the Bison's reality.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
Five in Two
March 7: at Lehigh; March 10: Fairfield; March 14: Holy Cross; March 17: at Brown; March 21: at Boston University
Those five games don't look impossibly daunting, but Bucknell will play those five dates within a 14-day span, traveling for three and leading off the stretch with two highly valuable and challenging games against Lehigh and Fairfield. Fatigue is possible through that portion of March, thus heightening the need to take care of business early against Holy Cross and Boston University to hopefully have an opportunity to rest legs. That is a lot of lacrosse -- almost a game every third day -- in an important part of the season, serving as the pivot point between a four-game February crunch and the team's final five dates on the regular season calendar. Coming out of that stretch in decent shape is going to help define The Herd's prospects for the 2015 season.
February 28: Colgate; March 7: at Lehigh; March 10: Fairfield
This three-game push -- home to the Raiders (the Bison's second Patriot League game of the year) and the Stags; away to the Mountain Hawks (a team that Bucknell hasn't beaten in its last four tries) -- is arguably the toughest back-to-back-to-back stretch that The Herd will deal with next spring (in terms of consecutive games against strong competition). The two games against Patriot League foes are significantly important, but the entire look of this three-game gauntlet creates pressure to come correct over a week and a half. These meetings can make Bucknell tough as nails or tear them to shreds (or something in between), and how the Bison handle a condensed spurt of adversity can ultimately determine Bucknell's relevancy.
Rumbles of Thunder
February 7: at Delaware; February 14: Bryant; March 10: Fairfield; March 17: at Brown; April 4: at Mount St. Mary's
There isn't a Duke or Hopkins or Denver on the out-of-conference portion of Bucknell's schedule, but the Bison aren't facing a nonconference slate of poundable cornmeal. With the exception of Mount St. Mary's -- which is transitioning from a disastrous 2014 season in which the Mountaineers were as young and inexperienced as any team in the nation -- The Herd will face a solid run of non-Patriot League competition. These dates have the potential for manufacturing RPI points, even if the names aren't at the forefront of the nation's consciousness.