Florida State football is trying to line up some major neutral site games against SEC powers Alabama and Auburn, sources told Tomahawk Nation.
The game against Alabama would likely be to open the 2017 season in the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium. Florida State won its last meeting against the Crimson Tide 21-14 in 2007, Nick Saban's first as head coach of the Crimson Tide and Jimbo Fisher's first as offensive coordinator of the Seminoles. Since then, the teams have combined to win four Nationl Titles in a seven-year span. Sources are quite confident in the game against Alabama happening.
The game against Auburn seems less certain than the one against Alabama, but the target is 2019 in Jacksonville. Recently, Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett discussed how the changes the Jacksonville Jaguars and the city are making to the stadium and the surrounding area will make it more enticing for major college football teams.
"I think with everything that's going on at FSU and Jimbo (Fisher) being willing to now go play some really good teams, I think you can probably see us host a neutral site game with FSU in it probably '18-'19," he said.
Florida State last played Auburn in the 2013 season, defeating the Tigers 34-31 in the final BCS National Championship Game. Auburn does not have a major conference opponent in 2019 as the Cal series was pushed back.
There is no guarantee that the games will happen until the contracts are signed, and indeed, Florida State had been hopeful in recent years that it would get games scheduled with Georgia and South Carolina, only to have the discussions prove fruitless.
One non-conference game that did work out recently is the September 5, 2016 game against Ole Miss to open the season in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Florida State is beginning to make major renovations and upgrades to Doak Campbell Stadium, including but not limited to expanding the club seating options, so early season games away from Tallahassee might become more frequent, both as options for fans who aren't close to the rather remote city, and to serve as a buffer in case of construction delays. Florida State has already begun the process of a bond issue to pay for some of the upgrades, and will also look to more private fundraising options.
A previous version of this article indicated that Auburn was playing TCU and Texas in the coming years. That is incorrect and the link to the information has also been removed.