One of the many curious things about college football is that fans often are just as interested (if not more interested) in what will happen in the future than what is happening right now. I’m talking mostly about recruiting and scheduling, of course.
With this post, I’m going to wildly speculate on potential scheduling options for The Citadel. This is something Jeff Hartsell briefly mentioned Tuesday. The Citadel will play eight Southern Conference games each season. In 2011 and 2012, that means the Bulldogs will play three non-conference games (11-game regular season). In 2013 and 2014, the calendar will allow for a 12-game regular season for FCS schools, meaning The Citadel can play four non-conference games.
Each year one of The Citadel’s non-conference games has to be a road “guarantee” game against a BCS opponent, for budgetary reasons. Also returning to the Bulldogs’ schedule in 2011 is VMI. The battle for the coveted Silver Shako will resume at Johnson Hagood Stadium, with the teams alternating home-and-home for six years. It is my understanding that those years are consecutive, although I haven’t been able to confirm that yet.
Another non-conference game each season will take place against a non-conference opponent that won’t demand a return trip — in other words, teams like Chowan and Webber International (or more preferably, Presbyterian and Newberry). I’ll call this game the Designated Home Opener, or DHO.
The 2011 non-conference schedule will feature VMI (home), South Carolina (away), and a DHO to be determined (home).
The 2012 non-conference schedule will feature VMI (away), North Carolina State (away), and a DHO to be determined (home). In that season, the Bulldogs will only play five games at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Starting in 2013, things get a little interesting. Again, assuming the VMI series is for six consecutive years (assumptions always being dangerous), The Citadel’s non-league slate would feature VMI (home), Clemson (away), a DHO (home), and another team to be determined.
The 2014 season would include a road game against VMI, a DHO, and two games to be determined (with one of them definitely having to be a guarantee game).
That leaves Larry Leckonby with important decisions to make about scheduling in 2013 and 2014. Do you add a second BCS guarantee game in those seasons? Or do you add a second DHO-type team?
There is another possibility, one that would be very popular with alumni, and that is to schedule a game against Army or Navy (or Air Force, I suppose, although I don’t think there is nearly as much interest in that potential matchup).
A quick scan at future schedules for Army and Navy shows that there is a spot possibly available for an FCS opponent in 2013 for Army and 2014 for Navy (in 2014, Army has scheduled Fordham, which would have been a tough ticket seven decades ago; Navy is playing Delaware in 2013). Of course, there is a chance that none of the academies would be interested in playing The Citadel anyway.
Scheduling a service academy or a second BCS school would be more problematic in 2014, as the VMI game would be played on the road that year. I don’t know that Leckonby wants to put the team in position to play only five home games and seven road contests, with two of those being against FBS opponents (and that’s assuming he can find two FBS opponents).
One of the things that will be a factor is attendance at Johnson Hagood Stadium. If The Citadel continues to have disappointing numbers at the gate, Leckonby may be more likely to eschew a possible sixth (or seventh) home game to grab a more lucrative road guarantee.
Another possibility would be a series like the one The Citadel had with Princeton, a two-game home-and-home (in 2013-2014) against an FCS school from outside the SoCon. That seems a less likely option to me, but you never know.
We’ll see what happens. All of the above is mostly uninformed guesswork by yours truly, of course, and should be taken with a grain of salt, assuming that it even deserves the grain.
Filed under: Football, The Citadel | Tagged: Air Force, Army, BCS, Chowan, Clemson, Delaware, FBS, FCS, football scheduling, Fordham, Jeff Hartsell, Johnson Hagood Stadium, Larry Leckonby, Navy, Newberry, North Carolina State, Presbyterian, Princeton, Silver Shako, South Carolina, Southern Conference, The Citadel, VMI, Webber International |