Did you know Savannah State had a football team before last week? I will admit, I did not.
Now those Tigers — yes, that’s their nickname — have popped up on the schedule of two legitimate BCS teams.
One week after Oklahoma State’s schedule release revealed that the Cowboys will open the season against Savannah State on Sept. 1, Florida State announced Savannah State will replace West Virginia as its opponent on Sept. 8. On Feb. 3, the Mountaineers backed out of their contracted game to be played in Tallahassee on that same date.
“West Virginia’s announcement at the 11th hour really put us in a very difficult position,” FSU athletic director Randy Spetman said. “We contacted every BCS school that had an opening in hopes of replacing WVU with a BCS opponent, but none of those few schools could make it work either because of our dates or theirs. It is important for our fans to realize that the schools we contacted during the search did not pass on the 2012 game out of concern for the competition, but because of challenges they faced with schedule changes this late in the year.
“We worked with Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Pitt to name a few along with our current non-conference opponents and television partners, but reached a point where our options simply dried up. We might have been able to play on the road at some BCS schools this season, but that would cost our fans and the university one of just seven chances to play a home game and also would have a negative impact on our local economy.”
Sept. 8 on WVU’s schedule remains open for the time being.
Conference realignment obviously played a role in OSU and FSU resorting to playing a team like Savannah State. My trusty colleague Berry Tramel has already illustrated just how bad this program is.
But credit the Tigers for signing up to play the Cowboys and Seminoles. The school will get a big chunk of cash for playing these games, which will help fund the football program. In fact, taking a severe beating at the hands of two major-conference teams (we assume) should actually help Savannah State become more competitive in the long run.
Shouldn’t do much for quality football in Stillwater on Sept. 1 and Tallahassee on Sept. 8, though.