SEC paid dearly in 2015 paycheck games
Johnny Paycheck’s only No. 1 country hit was “Take This Job and Shove It” in 1977.
Well, there’s a good chance some SEC teams were muttering the words “Take This Paycheck and Shove It” after their experiences in so-called “Paycheck” games in 2015.
Paycheck games are matchups between Power 5 teams and non-Power 5/FCS ones whereby the bigger schools pay the smaller ones up to seven figures for the opportunity to feast on potential cupcakes while the potential cupcakes get the chance to pull off major upsets.
A couple of SEC teams suffered some costly and embarrassing losses while a couple more were taken to the wire this season in Paycheck games. Here’s a look at those ugly affairs:
Toledo 16, Arkansas 12: As if this final score wasn’t bad enough, the Razorbacks paid the Rockets $1 million to come into Fayetteville and stun the Hogs. Arkansas, which was at least a 3-touchdown favorite, lost despite outgaining Toledo 515-318. After bombing against the Rockets, the Razorbacks lost three of their next four games but then win four straight to salvage their season. In case you were wondering, Toledo beat Temple 32-17 in the Boca Raton Bowl to finish 10-2.
Citadel 23, South Carolina 22: According to this tweet by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the Gamecocks paid the Bulldogs $275,000 and 2,500 tickets for the privilege of handing South Carolina its first loss to an FCS school since the Citadel came into Columbia and pulled off a similar upset 25 years ago. Who knows? Maybe Steve Spurrier resigned when he did because he saw this result coming.
Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20 (OT): The Tigers rode a dramatic TD catch in the final minute and Peyton Barber’s touchdown run in overtime to avoid what would have been one of the biggest upsets in college football history. (After all, the Tigers were 41-point favorites). But the result is not the worst part about this matchup. It turns out that Auburn ended up paying Jacksonville State a total of $1.025 million for this game and a scheduled one in 2013 that was never played due to SEC expansion after Texas A&M and Missouri joined the conference. The Tigers definitely had reason to be million-dollar crybabies after this fiasco.
Florida 31, East Carolina 24: The Gators may have won the game, but first-year coach Jim McElwain was definitely not happy with their performance. “It was embarrassing. It was embarrassing to our administration, our university,” McElwain said. “And almost came back to bite us in the end. There were some decent things that went on. But there were a heck of a lot worse bad things than there were good things.” Speaking of bad things, chomp on this: Florida paid ECU $1.2 million for this game. Yeesh!
Florida 20, Florida Atlantic 14 (OT): Despite finishing 10-3 during the regular season and clinching a spot in the SEC Championship Game, the Gators had several stinkers this year and this was definitely one of them. Florida needed a touchdown pass from Treon Harris to Jake McGee in overtime to beat a team that finished 3-9 this season. What’s worse, not only were the Gators 31-point favorites, they had to pay FAU $1 million for the privilege of being nearly upset. Yikes!