Georgia State’s football games in 2013 at Alabama and West Virginia fulfill not only a revenue goal for the athletic department as it continues its transition to the FBS level, but they also fulfill a philosophical goal that athletic director Cheryl Levick has for the fans and the team.
The Panthers will receive $550,000 to play in Morgantown, West Va. on Sept. 14 and $700,000 to play at Alabama on Oct. 5. The Tide guarantee is almost $300,000 more than the Panthers received as an FCS team to play the Tide in 2010.
Levick said the goal is to schedule two guarantee games each year. They hope to schedule one that’s within driving distance for fans and the other can be anywhere. In addition to the entertainment value, the combined total of $1.25 million for the next year’s games falls within the athletic department’s revenue needs for next year.
“It is part of the overall strategy in the next steps in Georgia State football,” she said.
The guarantees seem to have rankled some fans, who have commented that the Panthers should have received more for each game. For example, the total is far short of the $925,000 that Idaho received to play a single game at LSU.
There are reasons that Georgia State didn’t receive more money, including that the Panthers needed to fill their schedule too. That immediate need may have prevented them from negotiating a higher guarantee, for example one closer to the $900,000 they will receive to play at Oregon in 2015.
“If we had more time before to plan these games then we might have come up better on that,” assistant athletic director James Greenwell said. “In future years I think we are going to and need to. But it wasn’t as dire for this year.”
Generally, FBS teams receive more interest — and guarantees — from teams from BCS conferences because the victory counts toward bowl eligibility. NCAA rules only allow one victory over an FCS team per year to count toward bowl eligibility. Some FBS teams play two FCS teams per year.
Now that it is transitioning to the FBS level, Georgia State has heard from a few ACC teams about playing guarantee games. Greenwell declined to say which teams were interested. Georgia State is also helped because of the ACC’s recent decision to scale back its conference schedule from nine games to eight, which left some openings on schedules.
“We are getting some good inquiries … definitely something that’s going to garner interest for the program,” he said.
He did say that neither Georgia Tech nor Georgia have reached out. He hasn’t contacted them, either.
Georgia State and Alabama began talking earlier this summer about playing again. Greenwell said the conversation with West Virginia went quickly. The game against Oregon was put together by a third party. Air Force reached out to Georgia State for the home-and home series, which will begin at the Georgia Dome in 2014.
A look at the guarantees Georgia State has received from the FBS opponents past and present:
2010: Alabama, $435,000
2011: Houston, $300,000
2012: Tennessee, $500,000
2013: West Virginia, $550,000
2013: Alabama, $700,000
2015: Oregon, $900,000
9/7 vs. Chattanooga
9/14 at West Virginia
9/21 vs. Jacksonville State
10/5 at Alabama
9/6 at Chattanooga
vs. Air Force
at Air Force
Raiders defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi was the first Georgia State football player to be drafted.
The Falcons will play the Raiders this weekend. Coach Dennis Allen said this to esteemed colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter:
“He’s done a good job for us,” Allen said. “He’s a young who’s trying to get better. He’s trying to understand the techniques that we are trying to get him to do. He’s still relatively young playing the position. He’s got some athleticism. He’s got some size. He’s gotten an opportunity to get in and play in some games this year. Our hope is that he continues to get better.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu