Jacksonville State will be Florida State Seminoles football’s 2020 non-conference opponent.
There was initially some confusion about whether individual teams would still be allowed to play a non-conference game like the Southland Conference is doing, but it was eventually determined that Southern Conference teams could play non-conference but that Samford would not, leaving FSU with a hole in their schedule.
Given Florida State’s difficult ACC schedule and the likely desire to open the season with a game that would allow the players to work the kinks out for their first live action in a new scheme, it stands to reason that FSU would look to see if they can replace Samford with another FCS opponent.
Assuming FSU is looking at the same date of September 19th and not for one of their byes on October 3rd or 31st, who could be a the potential replacement?
All thirteen FCS conferences have canceled or postponed their seasons, but below are the ones that would allow non-conference games as of August 14th.
We took it a step further and highlighted in bold the possible matches that no longer have a game scheduled for September 19th:
Campbell, Gardner-Webb, North Alabama
Missouri State, South Dakota, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State
Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Murray State, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UT Martin
Chattanooga, The Citadel, Furman, Mercer
Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Stephen F. Austin
Based on this and regional geography, Jacksonville State and Mercer seem like the most likely teams. Furman is also a possibility.
There’s always a chance, however slim, that FSU might opt to schedule an FBS team.
There are six conferences still left standing as of the date this is written — the ACC of course, as well as the SEC and the Big 12, and three smaller conferences in the American, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt. That’s 76 total teams. Technically every team in the Big 12 and the SEC are open on September 19th, but that’s because their schedules don’t start until September 26th. It seems unlikely they would add FSU to the front of their schedule. That leaves the three smaller conferences.
We went through and cross-referenced all of their schedules, and here’s our best estimate of the FBS teams that now have an open slot that day:
That’s it. With a lot more possibilities and an easier game, it makes more sense for FSU to pursue another FCS matchup — and now that you know who would be available, who would you like to see them play?