- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With the ACC still debating the possibility of shifting to a nine-game conference schedule, Florida State is in talks to play in neutral-site nonconference games in Orlando and Atlanta in future seasons, according to the school.
FSU associate athletics director Monk Bonasorte confirmed preliminary talks to play games in Orlando in 2016 and Atlanta in 2018, but he said no details, including an opponent, have been finalized.
Florida State opens the 2014 season with a neutral-site game against Oklahoma State in Dallas.
Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox said the neutral-site games are a significant part of the Seminoles’ scheduling plans moving forward because they allow the school to make inroads in potentially fruitful recruiting areas and allow fans in those cities -- FSU has one of the most displaced fan bases in the country -- to attend games more easily. Those plans could be stifled by a nine-game conference slate, however.
“From [Florida State’s] perspective, we’re at the point now that we would like to continue to be able to have as many quality home games as we can, potentially take one of those games on the road,” Wilcox said. “This year, we’re going to Dallas, and we’re looking at Orlando and other cities. Some of that can be jeopardized depending how the conference ends up.”
Coach Jimbo Fisher has been a vocal critic of a proposed nine-game conference schedule. Because FSU has an annual home-and-home series against SEC rival Florida, the Seminoles could find themselves with just six home games every other season -- a potentially significant financial hardship, Fisher argued. Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville also have annual rivalry games vs. the SEC.
The result to this point, Wilcox said, has been a deadlocked debate on the conference’s future scheduling.
“If we had our druthers,” Wilcox said, “we’d like to just keep things the way they are right now. But I can’t say that’s what’s going to happen.”
2dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon