In the arms race that is collegiate football, Florida State is adding another weapon to its arsenal. This time it is not a 5-star player or a quality coach, instead it is the neutral-site showdown. As ESPN's David Hale reported, the Seminoles are in early talks to play two off-site games, one in Orlando and one in Atlanta.
For Jimbo Fisher's team, that means he is getting the Seminoles into the mix that has become a staple of national powers such as Alabama and LSU. Florida, the Seminoles' biggest rival, also recently signed up for a $6 million payday courtesy of a neutral-site date with Michigan.
Now, at least Florida State is working to insert itself into that conversation. Atlanta is most likely the Chick-fil-A Kickoff where the Seminoles could face an SEC opponent in an effort to grab the opening weekend spotlight. The game in Orlando would be an additional showcase to the collegiate landscape, providing fans with another major date and broadcasters with a shot to push another marquee contest.
Fisher has brought the Seminoles into the modern era of college football in so many ways. He's upgraded the recruiting standards and practices. He's improved the facilities and training table in an effort to catch up to the pack. He has brought in a defense that actually works against current offenses.
And now he is pushing to get the Seminoles into the same major dates as the SEC teams that he is looking to run down on the field.
LSU has done the Chick-fil-A Kickoff and the Cowboy Classic, and the Bayou Bengals are staring at major contests with Wisconsin in Houston and at Lambeau Field. Alabama has made the Chick-fil-A Kickoff home during the Saban era as well as beating up on Michigan in the Cowboy Classic.
In a college football world where the elite programs are playing a constant game of one-upping one another, Florida State has pulled up to the table. Not just with a national title or facilities, but with working to increase visibility, as well. More eyeballs on a team is always a plus for teams constantly embroiled in battles for the allegiance of elite high school players.
Florida State was knocked in 2013, following one of the most outstanding seasons of the BCS era, because of a perceived lack of schedule quality. Now, instead of simply reacting to the negative voices, Fisher's program is responding with a purpose that fits the plan of a national power.
The Seminoles are going to add to the schedule, something viewers will enjoy. Meanwhile, they are also getting a game in areas where they want to maintain a strong recruiting presence, and Fisher's team will receive a nice payday in the process. Giving up a possible home game is worth it when the check clears a few million in positive pay.
Jimbo Fisher doesn't want to be the old Florida State. The coach is not content with being the ACC's best team. He is a man on a mission to make the Seminoles a consistent national player. On the field, his team has taken those steps. In recruiting, he's proven to be able to compete nationally. Now, in scheduling, Fisher shows he wants Florida State to be a staple of the college football playoff.