As long as affiliate members Fordham and Georgetown do not budge from the schedules, there's some exciting times ahead next year - including visits from two Top 25 programs to Murray Goodman next year.
And for 2012... what if Lehigh were able to schedule an away game against... Rutgers? (more)
Tentatively, the 2011 season will feature some real interesting games in the local area.
Nearby Monmouth will be the site of Lehigh's season-opener - which will be ideal for Lehigh fans and families who want to combine a trip to the Jersey Shore and Lehigh football on Labor Day weekend. (With any sort of luck, Snooki will be making a guest appearance.)
Then it's a home game vs. New Hampshire, the return trip for last year's game at Cowell Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire. It will be a great challenge - a similar challenge to last year's home opener versus the defending National Champs. (The Wildcats hope to be defending national champs by that point, as they face off against Delaware this Friday in a nationally-televised game on ESPN.)
A trip to Princeton follows, playing the Tigers in their home opener, and then another perennial Top 25 team will visit as Liberty of the Big South will come to Bethlehem. Liberty should be an interesting opponent not only because of their top football team, but due to the fact that they bring a really large contingent of rabid fans to their games, including a mammoth marching band. If you want to see a filled Murray Goodman stadium when it's not Lehigh/Lafayette, September 24th will be a great day to head to the stadium.
The home schedule is rounded out with a visit from Yale on October 1st, three away games against Fordham, Bucknell and Colgate - with a bye week sandwiched in there - followed by three home games in November against Holy Cross, Georgetown, and "that school in Easton" in the 147th meeting.
Tentative 2010 schedule
Sep 3 at Monmouth
Sep 10 New Hampshire
Sep 17 at Princeton
Sep 24 Liberty
Oct 1 Yale
Oct 8 at Bucknell
Oct 15 at Fordham
Oct 22 OPEN
Oct 29 at Colgate
Nov 5 Holy Cross
Nov 12 Georgetown
Nov 19 Lafayette
The 2012 schedule is not complete yet - but has some very intriguing possibilities.
Tentative 2011 schedule
Sep 1 OPEN
Sep 8 OPEN
Sep 15 Princeton
Sep 22 OPEN
Sep 29 Fordham
Oct 6 Columbia
Oct 13 at Georgetown
Oct 20 Bucknell
Oct 27 OPEN
Nov 3 at Holy Cross
Nov 10 Colgate
Nov 17 at Lafayette
Five home games are already filled, and three conference away games (assuming there are no changes due to Patriot League expansion or the scholarship decision affecting the other schools). Three openings appear to be available in the future.
Tentatively, an away game at Liberty and an away game at Central Connecticut State (unconfirmed) will be two of those games.
It's that third opening that could be filled - assuming football scholarships are on their way - by an FBS team.
Many FBS teams have their schedules already filled, including Army, Navy, Penn State and Boston College. In addition, Temple, Buffalo and UConn's schedules are also tentatively filled for 2012 as well.
But there is one school that is missing a 12th game and has - currently - open dates around the same time Lehigh's. That school is Rutgers.
I could imagine a game vs. Rutgers electrifying Lehigh fans - a rekindling of the "Middle Three" rival from the 1950s, an easy bus trip from Bethlehem, and a big-time atmosphere in a neat venue to watch college football.
Here's the local, noteworthy FBS teams that have openings in their 2012 schedules around the same days as Lehigh's open dates:
Sep 1: Rutgers, Pitt, West Virginia
Sep 8: Rutgers
Sep 22: Pitt, West Virginia, Duke
Oct 27: Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse, Duke
Just imagine for a moment the excitement those teams might generate around campus.