NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Eight days and counting for the Old Dominion football team. That’s when the Monarchs open the season with a home contest against Hampton University.
The transition from FCS to FBS is over as ODU prepare for its first season as a member of Conference USA. Coach Bobby Wilder, who built the team from scratch when he was hired in 2007, is ready to get down to business.
“We’re an FBS program, hopefully competing for a championship and a bowl game,” Wilder said. “It’s been an incredible run, there’s a lot of good days ahead of us.”
ODU is picked to finish fifth out of seven teams in the East Division of Conference USA. But like 2011, when the Monarchs moved up to the CAA, nobody really knows what to expect.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke is now a senior, and with games against teams like NC State, Marshall, Vanderbilt and Rice, he knows things will not be easy.
“Every week it’s going to be physically harder on all of us,” Heinicke said. “We have something to play for this year, if we lose three games in a row, that’s fine. If we lose a total of five games, that means we won seven and we have a chance to go to a bowl game.”
ODU’s first CUSA game is September 20th at conference champion Rice.