With only eight conference games, SEC teams turn to FCS programs to fill out the 12-game schedule. Critics of the SEC frequently call out Alabama, Georgia and others for playing FCS teams. Georgia coach Kirby Smart is a big supporter of the Bulldogs and others playing FCS teams.

With Georgia set to take on Murray State this Saturday, the FCS topic came up at Smart’s Tuesday press conference. The Racers are an FCS program in the Ohio Valley Conference.

“Well, I mean I think it’s the lifeblood of a program. If you went and poll them, they would tell you without some of the bigger schools, they wouldn’t have a program,” Smart said. “It’s their opportunity to fund their program. I have been a huge salesman in the game and sport of football. I hope one day my son that plays football will have an opportunity to go play somewhere and the more opportunities they have I think it gives kids a wonderful chance to get a free education. If we don’t play FCS teams, there’s probably going to be some of them flip and go under especially the way television is today and attendance has dwindled. That’s the lifeblood of our program. I certainly want to try help support them, not at the cost of our fanbase not getting what they want. There’s a medium in there.”

Georgia is paying Murray State $500,000 to play Saturday in Athens.