With a move to the Southern Conference and the addition of scholarships coming in 2014, the Mercer football program will play its first season in the non-scholarship Pioneer League. It's hard to know what really to expect from the Bears in their first season after a long break from football, but let's take a shot.
Aug. 31 Reinhardt: While the Bears make their long-awaited return after shutting down the program in the 1940s, the Eagles are starting their program this season. That should make for an interesting opener. ... Mercer 35, Reinhardt 21.
Sept. 14 Warner: Another game against a first-year program helps get the Bears off on the right foot. ... Mercer 27, Warner 10.
Sept. 21 Berry: A third straight home game, against a start-up program keeps Bobby Lamb undefeated as the Bears' head coach. ... Mercer 34, Berry 14.
Sept. 28 Drake: The Bears get their first real test against the Bulldogs, who went 8-3 overall and 7-1 in the Pioneer League last year. ... Drake 30, Mercer 13.
Oct. 5 at San Diego: The Bears head cross country to face a program that was once coached by current San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. ... San Diego 35, Mercer 14.
Oct. 12 Valparaiso: The Bears get their first Pioneer League victory in front of the home folks. ... Mercer 27, Valparaiso 20.
Oct. 19 Carnegie Mellon: The Tartans won their final three games of the 2012 season, but even with that they finished just .500. ... Mercer 30, Carnegie Mellon 27.
Oct. 26 at Campbell: The Bears aren't able to break through for a conference road win against the Camels. ... Campbell 23, Mercer 17.
Nov. 2 at Davidson: Lamb's team isn't able to get a second straight road victory in conference play. ... Davidson 26, Mercer 23.
Nov. 9 Jacksonville: The Bears and Dolphins add to their longtime rivalry that has been pretty heated in other sports. ... Jacksonville 24, Mercer 14.
Nov. 16 at Marist: The Bears come up short in their final road game of the season. ... Marist 24, Mercer 20.
Nov. 23 Stetson: Mercer wraps up its first season in strong fashion with another win over a first-year program. ... Mercer 28, Stetson 21.