The 2014 State football schedule has been released (here).
Once again, the non-conference schedule looks very similar to the past several years, and, understandably, isn’t one that fuels excitement among those of us who have invested for over a decade in LTRs and season tickets: Georgia Southern (Sun Belt, I-A transition year), Old Dominion (C-USA), @ South Florida (American), Presbyterian (I-AA).
2013 – Louisiana Tech (C-USA, 4-8), Richmond (I-AA), Central Michigan (MAC, 6-6), East Carolina (C-USA, 10-3)
2012 – Tennessee (neutral), @ Connecticut (formerly Big East, 5-7), South Alabama (Sun Belt, 2-11), Citadel (I-AA)
2011 – Liberty (I-AA), South Alabama (then I-AA), @ Cincinnati (Big East, 10-3) Central Michigan (MAC, 3-9)
2010 – Western Carolina (I-AA), @ Central Florida (C-USA, 11-3), Cincinnati (Big East, 4-8), @ East Carolina (C-USA, 6-7)
Understanding that the conference schedule is dictated by the ACC, SFN emailed AD Yow to ask her to comment briefly about the current non-conference scheduling philosophy and also the limitations. Whether or not you agree with her comments, as usual, she was accessible and candid, and at the very least, there appears to be a plan.
Based on her response, the current non-conference scheduling policy can be described simply as pragmatic.
Paraphrased by SFN, here was her response:
We inherited five home games in 2014, and seven home games are needed to break even [SFN has noted in the past that very few programs cover operational expenses with gameday-related revenues, which is why TV revenue is so important]. I-AA Presbyterian was inherited from the “previous administration” while Old Dominion and Georgia Southern are both I-A now.
Louisville replaces Maryland in 2014, and we’ll also play Clemson and Florida State — likely all three are Top 15 teams. We’re at both Syracuse and Carolina (we lost to both at home in 2013) and we have Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech at home.
Based on the current state of our program — off a 3-9 (0-8) season — this is a challenging schedule.
Over time the strength of schedule should “naturally” improve; we’ll begin playing Notre Dame every few years, “Duke is no longer Duke,” and the league is discussing “alternate scheduling models” with the ADs [SFN notes the latter comment may refer to the nine-game league schedule we anticipated and/or the elimination of divisions].
She also noted that we’re in a “rebuilding process” — “I hate to use that term, but there is no denying that our recruiting outcomes in prior years means we are in a rebuilding mode” — and we need to enhance recruiting, so it’s necessary to put our athletes in a position to win and regain confidence.
“I believe our fans will appreciate that we have a strategy.”
Now, we ask the SFN Community: What do you think?