As a nod to the faith that United Football League brass has in the region, the fledgling Virginia Destroyers will open the league's third season at home versus Hartford in a matchup of former NFL head coaches.
The Destroyers and head coach Marty Schottenheimer will face the Colonials, coached by Jerry Glanville, on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, the league announced Thursday.
"I will be in Virginia for the season kickoff and am excited both to witness the birth of professional football in the region and to see how these two veteran coaches match up against each other," UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue said in a statement released by the league.
The Destroyers will play four home games and a total of eight games in the UFL's 10-week season. Virginia's other three home games are Omaha on Sept. 2, Sacramento on Sept. 24 and Las Vegas on Oct. 14. The five teams play each other home-and-home, and each team has two bye weeks.
The league championship is scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 21-23. The Destroyers' core group was the defunct Florida Tuskers, who played for the UFL title each of the first two seasons.
"My feeling has always been, when looking at a schedule," Schottenheimer said, "it's more about when you play people, rather than who you play. If you play a team that's playing well, irrespective of their record, that's more difficult than it might appear. Conversely, if you play someone that hasn't been playing well, it presents an entirely different set of challenges."
Schottenheimer pointed to road trips to Sacramento and Las Vegas in consecutive weeks in mid-September as particularly daunting, but believed that will be a valuable test of the team's character.
The most notable aspects of the UFL schedule are its early starts and a handful of games on Sundays. Last year, the league started Sept. 18 and held its championship game the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
League officials hope that the earlier start will allow it to gain traction with the public, since the first several weeks are before college and high school seasons begin. And even should the NFL resolve its labor dispute and play a regular preseason schedule, UFL officials believe that its regular-season games compare favorably to NFL preseason games, in which teams' stars generally sit out.
The UFL's earlier conclusion also will allow its players more time to catch on with NFL teams for an extended stretch of their regular season.
The UFL schedule features at least one Sunday game in five of the first six weeks, including two Sunday games on Sept. 18 -- what would normally be an NFL weekend.
The Destroyers also are scheduled to play two Friday home games -- Sept. 2 against Omaha and Oct. 14 against Las Vegas. Both will conflict with full prep schedules.
The UFL and the Destroyers make clear in their releases that all dates are subject to change.
Destroyers' players report to training camp July 9, and the first practice is scheduled July 16.
Here's the Destroyers' complete schedule.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times