Hampton University's 2011 football schedule is highlighted by trips to Old Dominion and Bethune-Cookman and home games against Florida A&M and Princeton.
The Pirates open Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play against the Rattlers on Sept. 10 before traveling to defending conference champion B-CU on Sept. 24.
"I kind of like it," third-year coach Donovan Rose said of the early conference start. "It lets you know right away. You've got to come ready to go."
The Pirates, who return starting quarterback David Legree and the 2010 MEAC rookie of the year in 600-yard rusher Antwon Chisholm, went 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the conference last season.
In 2010, HU had four home games. The Pirates will play seven at Armstrong Stadium in 2011, with a pair of road trips to nearby Norfolk. The Pirates and the Monarchs, 28-14 winners last year, meet for the second time on Sept. 17, and the annual Battle of the Bay is Oct. 15 at Norfolk State.
"It's really like nine," Rose said. "That's pretty good."
HU plays host to Princeton on Oct. 8 in the return game from a contest the Pirates won 48-27 in New Jersey in 2007.
The 2011 HU schedule:
Sept. 3: vs. Alabama A&M, 6 p.m.
Sept. 10: vs. Florida A&M, 6 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Old Dominion, 6 p.m.
Sept. 24: at Bethune-Cookman, TBA
Oct. 8: vs. Princeton, 1 p.m.
Oct. 15: at Norfolk State, TBA
Oct. 22: vs. North Carolina Central, 2 p.m.
Oct. 29: at Savannah State, TBA
Nov. 5: vs. Howard, 1 p.m.
Nov. 12: vs. Delaware State, 1 p.m.
Nov. 19: vs. Morgan State, 1 p.m.