Marietta College has a very challenging 2012 football slate to say the least.
The Jeff Filkovski-coached Pioneers are scheduled to kick off their season against Case Western Reserve University at Don Drumm Stadium at 7 p.m. Sept. 1.
This will be a first-time opponent for Big Blue.
Last season, the Greg Debeljak-led Spartans of Cleveland were 9-1 overall while the Pioneers were 3-7.
Bear in mind, though, that these are the Spartans of Case Western Reserve and not Michigan State. Last season, the Cleveland-based school beat schools like Oberlin, Hiram, Denison, etc.
In its 2011 lid-lifter, Case did defeat John Carroll University, 24-17, at University Heights. MC, of course, has never beaten the JCU Blue Streaks on the gridiron.
Case Western Reserve's only setback last season was to the visiting University of Rochester (N.Y.) Yellow Jackets, 17-7.
After Case, Marietta goes on the road two weeks later to play Capital University in its Ohio Athletic Conference opener at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15.
The Crusaders, who beat MC 24-3 in 2011, are always tough.
Then, the following Saturday at 7 p.m., the Pioneers will be playing host to the University of Mount Union.
OMG, not those Purple Raiders again!
Larry Kehres was a visiting fan during the May 10-12 Ohio Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament at Don Schaly Stadium.
The legendary University of Mount Union football coach was accompanied by Leonard Reich, assistant to the Athletic Director for Communications and Marketing.
Kehres, also the school's Director of Athletics, was in Marietta of course to cheer on No. 2-seeded and Paul Hesse-coached Mount Union in the tournament.
Unfortunately for the Purple Raiders, though, they didn't fare very well as they went 1-2 in the double elimination event, beating John Carroll but falling to Heidelberg University twice.
Kehres is scheduled to return to Marietta when his powerhouse football team plays the Pioneers at Don Drumm Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22.
The Purple Raiders have not lost to MC on the gridiron since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.
You can do the math on that one, and, oh yeah, Kehres wasn't the Mount Union coach then, either, because he's never lost to the Pioneers.
Last fall, the Purple Raiders blanked Big Blue, 62-0, in Alliance.
After Mount Union, Marietta returns to the road for a four-hour bus trip to Tiffin, the home of the Heidelberg University Student Princes, on Sept. 29.
Filkovski has ties to Heidelberg, having coached there at one time in his career. The Berg has a pair of dynamite running backs, and could be a team to keep an eye on in the OAC.
Marietta is then scheduled to play John Carroll, Ohio Northern, Wilmington, Baldwin-Wallace, Otterbein, and Muskingum in that OAC order. Ohio Northern, Otterbein and Muskingum are all home games.
Last season, MC defeated Wilmington and Otterbein, along with non-conference opponent Thiel.
Marietta College football will be here inside of three months as the Pioneers' season begins Sept. 1, and it won't end until Nov. 10 - and who knows, maybe beyond.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org