The 2013 Arkansas-Pine Bluff football schedule is anything but ordinary.

The 2013 Arkansas-Pine Bluff football schedule is anything but ordinary.

For the first time in years, the Golden Lions will not play a game in Little Rock. And the two nonconference opponents this coming season are new faces to the schedule.

It was previously announced that UAPB would begin the season Aug. 31 against two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State in Jonesboro and play the next week at traditional Southland Conference powerhouse McNeese State. But the other nine games — all in SWAC play — were revealed Tuesday, and UAPB is left with two open dates as the schedule extends to the fourth weekend in November.

Football Championship Subdivision teams can now play up to 12 regular-season games, adding an extra week to the schedule, but UAPB is only slated for 11. Missing from this year’s schedule is Tennessee State’s return visit to Pine Bluff as part of a home-and-home deal.

UAPB athletic director Lonza Hardy Jr. said Tuesday when his school and Tennessee State arranged the deal last year, the original plan was for the Tigers to visit Pine Bluff in 2013. But Tennessee State had already completed its schedule for the upcoming season, and the game will be scheduled for 2014 at the earliest.

Tennessee State won the first game of the home-and-home deal, 40-13, in Nashville last September. It was UAPB’s only road loss in a 10-2 SWAC championship season.

UAPB has played a game in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium for many years, including the past seven in the Delta Classic 4 Literacy. But War Memorial is absent from the 2013 schedule.

UAPB does, however, have five home games for the season, one more than this past season. The Golden Lions will host Alabama State and Alcorn State on Sept. 14 and 21, Texas Southern on Oct. 12, Southern for homecoming on Oct. 19 and Grambling State on Nov. 9.

The Lions will travel to Jackson State on Oct. 5 in a rematch of the SWAC championship game, which UAPB won 24-21 in overtime last December.

“We’re looking forward to this upcoming season,” coach Monte Coleman said in a press release. “We understand that there is a target on our backs and we are preparing mentally as well as physically to defend our crown.”

Hardy hopeful deal will come at week’s end

Hardy said Tuesday he is optimistic a new contract for Coleman will be completed by the end of this week.

Hardy said neither side has had any disagreements during talks about a new deal. In fact, he and Coleman have said they agreed on the length of the deal.

“We’re just getting funds and everything in place,” Hardy said. “There have not been any disagreements. We want to reward him the way he wants to be rewarded. We’ve been on the same page.”

Coleman has completed his original five-year deal with the university, which he signed after the 2007 season, but he has continued to work during the offseason, landing 16 signees for next season.

2013 UAPB football schedule

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Aug. 31, at Arkansas State, Jonesboro

Sept. 7, at McNeese State, Lake Charles, La.

Sept. 14, vs. Alabama State, Pine Bluff

Sept. 21, vs. Alcorn State, Pine Bluff

Sept. 28, OPEN

Oct. 5, at Jackson State, Jackson, Miss.

Oct. 12, vs. Texas Southern, Pine Bluff

Oct. 19, vs. Southern (homecoming), Pine Bluff

Oct. 26, at Mississippi Valley State, Itta Bena, Miss.

Nov. 2, OPEN

Nov. 9, vs. Grambling State, Pine Bluff

Nov. 16, at Alabama A&M, Huntsville, Ala.

Nov. 23, at Prairie View A&M, Prairie View, Texas