I thought the scheduling debate had already been settled?
Guilty as charged, only this time coaches weighed in on whether or not to play FCS-level opponents at the SEC spring meetings. It seems the SEC will let every school decide for itself whether or not to play them, differing from the Big Ten, which agreed not to play them.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp said the Gators wouldn’t play FCS-level opponents in the future.
“I think more anything that [football playoff] is part of it, and our fan base, as much as anything, wants to see better opponents,” Muschamp said.
The Gators, of course, lost to an FCS school for the first time in history against Georgia Southern, but Muschamp cited the fan base wants better opponents, hinting at attacking the attendance decrease.
Nick Saban, however, says that even though he advocates playing Big Five conference opponents only, sometimes schools have no choice.
“We try not to do it now, but sometimes it’s all that we have left to schedule 12 games,” Saban said. “It’s not by choice that we want to do it. The first people that need to be taken for consideration — who get no consideration — are the fans and people who support the program.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt advocates playing FCS opponents, mostly because of the FCS’ budget needs.
“What I’m learning is if we as BCS teams — or whatever you want to call us these days — if we don’t have those games with the FCS schools, a lot of them have a very difficult time making their budgets,” Richt said. “I think college football is too important at all levels to hurt them by setting criteria that would not allow you to play them.”
Every SEC football team’s schedule will feature an FCS opponent in 2014, but that could change in the future, especially on Florida’s schedule. The Gators haven’t scheduled an FCS team in 2015 and beyond, and it seems Florida is the first SEC school to do away with future FCS opponents.
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