College Football, Week 8: Tuesday notes and observations

Brent Thompson’s Monday press conference

Starting around the 17:00 mark of Brent Thompson’s Monday presser, there is an interesting question-and-answer discussion of recruiting, focusing on the impact the “free COVID year” has had. Over about five minutes, Thompson goes over a lot of the aspects involved, and not just from The Citadel’s perspective.

According to Thompson, his staff has offered about 80% fewer players this year than in a typical year. Considering that, as the coach notes, The Citadel is a “high school recruiting program”, it looks like this will be another very difficult year for prep prospects.

Time to talk about future non-conference schedules…

In a normal year, The Citadel has three non-conference games. One is always a “money” game against FBS opposition. At least one of the other matchups must be played at Johnson Hagood Stadium, because otherwise there would only be four home contests in a season.

During the 2024 season, FCS teams have the option to play 12 regular-season games because of the way the calendar falls, and The Citadel will indeed fulfill that quota. How, you ask? We’ll get there in a moment.

First, the 2022 campaign. The Bulldogs will open the season in Buies Creek, North Carolina, playing at Campbell on September 3.

The next non-conference tilt is also in the state of North Carolina, in Boone against Appalachian State. That matchup was originally supposed to take place on September 24, but was moved forward one week, to October 1. That change was apparently requested by App, and as a result The Citadel’s payout was for the game was increased, from $325,000 to $350,000.

The final out-of-league game of the 2022 season will be a home game for the Bulldogs, and it will be very late in the year – November 12, to be exact. The Citadel’s opponent will be Virginia University of Lynchburg (VUL), which is not a D2 school or even in the NAIA. Rather, VUL is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

VUL, an HBCU with about 500 undergraduate students, has five FCS schools on its schedule this season. It has played three of them so far. Combined score of those three games: 154-27. The winless Dragons have also played Mars Hill and Erskine, among others.

I am honestly not sure of the last time The Citadel played a program that was not in the NCAA or the NAIA. It is possible that it hasn’t happened since before World War II.

The fact the game is on November 12 is also odd. I can only assume The Citadel had difficulty finding a home opponent to fill out its slate. VUL will receive $40,000 to make the trip to Charleston.

In 2023, The Citadel will again play only five home games. The FBS opponent that season will be Georgia Southern, and it will be the season opener (September 2). The payout for that contest is $320,000.

The following week (September 9), Campbell will play the Bulldogs in Johnson Hagood Stadium, completing a two-game agreement.

Two weeks later, on September 23, The Citadel will travel to Orangeburg to play another set of Bulldogs – South Carolina State. That will be the first of a two-game series between the two schools; the return matchup will be held in Charleston in 2024.

As mentioned earlier, 2024 is a 12-game regular season. The home game against South Carolina State will be on September 7. The following week, on September 14, The Citadel will host North Greenville. The Crusaders will receive $40,000 for their appearance (matching the VUL payout, so that appears to be the going rate for such games).

The other two non-conference contests will be road games for The Citadel. The first is the season opener, on August 31, at Charleston Southern. I am on record as saying that scheduling this contest is a serious mistake that does not reflect well on The Citadel’s department of athletics. This is the first of a two-game agreement (more on that later).

On November 23, The Citadel will play at Clemson, completing a contract that included the 2020 matchup between the two schools. The payout for the contest is $475,000, plus an additional consideration – besides the standard 300 complimentary tickets, the military college has the option to request an additional 2,000 tickets for sale.

The Citadel has only one scheduled non-conference game so far for the 2025 season. That is a matchup with Mississippi, now scheduled for September 6. The payout is $500,000.

In 2026, the return matchup for the two-game contract with Charleston Southern will take place in Charleston on September 19.

That contest was originally supposed to be played on September 5, but CSU apparently asked for the game to be moved (presumably to pick up an FBS opponent). Charleston Southern agreed to pay The Citadel $20,000 to change the game date. The contract addendum making the adjustment was completed on May 5 of this year.

Less than three weeks later, The Citadel signed an agreement to play at Charlotte on September 5, for a payout of $305,000; The Citadel will also receive 600 tickets for sale.

I’ll post my normal stats breakdown either later today or perhaps on Wednesday…

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