SALEM, OR - Coach Mark Speckman and the Willamette University football team will face some new foes this season in a schedule packed with Division III football teams.

After opening the season at home in McCulloch Stadium against in-state rival Western Oregon University, (Sept. 2 @ 7 p.m.), the Bearcats will host Gustavus Adolphus the following Saturday (Sept. 9 @ 1:30 p.m.). The Golden Gusties, out of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) were 3-7 last season and will open their season here against the Bearcats.

Then the Bearcats take to the road, traveling to Thousand Oaks, CA to take on California Lutheran on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. The Kingsmen are coming off an 8-1 season in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

"Adding two DIII schools from conferences where we've had a hard time getting games is very exciting for us," said Willamette's Coach Speckman. "We've got a nine-game schedule this season and all but one of our games are against DIII schools from within our region. This will be a true test of our ability to play with anyone in the country on the DIII level."

After taking on Cal, the Bearcats play Menlo College, a newcomer to the Northwest Conference for the 2006 season. That game will be played on Sept. 23rd in Atherton, CA at noon.

From there it's on to face archrival Linfield in McMinnville for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 30th.

After a bye week the Bearcats return home for an NWC encounter with UPS at 6 p.m. on Oct. 14. Another bye week follows before the Bearcats travel to Whitworth for a NWC game scheduled for 1 p.m. on Oct. 28.

November finds the Bearcats hosting Lewis & Clark on the 4th at 1 p.m. and traveling to Pacific Lutheran University on Nov. 11 to take on the Lutes at 1 p.m. in Puyallup, WA.

The first round of the Division III playoffs is scheduled for November 18.

"We are playing one less game than we have in years past, and that's disappointing because we would prefer to play a full schedule," said Speckman. "But once again we are playing top-notch, competitive schools. We work hard to find quality competition as we continue to work toward building one of the top football programs in Division III. This schedule helps us along that path."