Earlier this week, Florida State and Louisiana-Monroe announced that they would be playing on December 2, a weekend typically reserved for conference championships and Sun Belt finales, finally rescheduling their matchup from September 9 that was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
With Florida State staring down a 5-6 record if they can take care of Delaware State and Florida, scheduling this game became paramount to retaining their streak of 35 consecutive bowl games.
In addition to FSU and ULM, we’ve seen Indiana replace their canceled game against FIU with an FCS opponent (Charleston Southern), made possible by the fact that they didn’t already have an FCS game scheduled and that Charleston Southern also had a cancellation due to the hurricane.
There’s also a tentatively scheduled game between FIU and UMass, who both had games canceled due to Hurricane Irma, to be played on December 2 as long as FIU is not in the Conference USA Championship game.
So where does that leave UTSA after losing their opening game against Houston due to Hurricane Harvey? Is there anyone left for us to play? Is there anything to gain by playing a 12th game? Anything to lose? Here’s a look at some of our options.
Much like Florida State, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets may need a 12th game if they want to earn bowl eligibility, after having their game at UCF canceled on September 16. Currently at 4-4, and with tough games against ranked Virginia Tech and Georgia remaining, they’ll likely have to win their games over Duke and a hypothetical 12th opponent if they want to make a bowl.
This is where UTSA comes in. The Roadrunners are one of only a handful of teams who still haven’t made up their canceled game, and who won’t be contenders for a conference championship on December 2, like Miami and UCF.
There’s been a push from Georgia Tech fans to make this game happen, and it just makes a ton of sense. The most likely scenario would have Georgia Tech paying UTSA for a one-off game at Bobby Dodd, but other possibilities could include leveraging this for a 1-for-1 or 2-for-1 deal with the Yellow Jackets coming to the Alamodome, either this year or in the future.
Either way, both schools should have had plans in place for a potential conference championship game on December 2, either home or away, so the logistics shouldn’t be as complicated as finding an open date during the regular season.
If anything is working against UTSA, it’s the fact that we still don’t have an Athletic Director. That’s what makes me think a one-off game is most likely, with the current administration avoiding any long-term decisions until we get a new AD in place.
Another team that is apparently in search of a 12th game is Florida, who had their game against Northern Colorado canceled on September 9. If they can find two wins in their next three games (@ South Carolina, vs UAB, @ Florida State), then they will be 5-6 and looking for that sixth win for bowl eligibility.
The Gators are reportedly trying to reschedule their game against Northern Colorado for December 2, but if that doesn’t work out then there aren’t a whole lot of other options available, and they may be reaching out to UTSA with an offer for a one-off payday for a trip to The Swamp.
NORTHERN COLORADO & SOUTH CAROLINA STATE
If Florida doesn’t get Northern Colorado to come to them, then why not have them come to San Antonio instead? This may be the most pragmatic use of our 12th game. UTSA gets a sixth home game, and the ticket sales that come with it, and some added insurance to our bowl chances.
If the Roadrunners lose their next three games, they’ll be 5-6, likely missing out on a bowl game unless the NCAA grants a waiver for teams affected by hurricanes to be selected above 5-7 teams this year. But we could take our fate into our own hands with a sixth win, even if it’s against an FCS opponent. That’s because, by rule, a 6-6 team with two FCS wins will be selected ahead of teams with most other exemptions (Hawaii Rule, FBS reclassification) and 5-7 teams.
There weren’t as many FCS teams affected by the hurricanes as FBS, so there aren’t many other teams available, but it appears another option would be South Carolina State, who had their September 9 game against Charleston Southern canceled.
Some might question whether we deserve a bowl in this hypothetical scenario where we close out the year with four straight conference losses, but you have to take the bowl game, and all the money and extra practice time that comes with it, when you can get it.
GEORGIA STATE & ARKANSAS STATE
The only other teams with 11-game schedules, and who won’t be playing in conference championship games, are Georgia State, Arkansas State, and Houston. With the Sun Belt scheduling regular season games on December 2, and both Georgia State and Arkansas State likely reaching 6 wins anyways, a makeup game with either of them is off the table.
So what about Houston? You know, the team that put us in this situation in the first place? They already have six wins, so they don’t need this game, per se, but they will be free on championship weekend, and they reportedly offered this makeup date to UTSA before the game was officially canceled.
This could be an opportunity to make up our game and perhaps donate some of the proceeds to hurricane relief efforts. A win-win, no?
Ultimately, it seems like we’ll have a few options for a 12th game on December 2, and at this point, I would almost be more surprised if we don’t schedule a game than if we do. This could be a great opportunity for either a payday and a trip to a well-known P5 program, or a sixth home game and some extra bowl insurance.
Hopefully, even in the absence of an AD, President Eighmy and the rest of the athletics department can make one of these scenarios a reality for the Roadrunners.