Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Two new players in the mix?

For a while there it looked like two more teams had entered the realm of possibility for JSU's second guarantee game in the 2009 football season, but in the end, athletic director Oval Jaynes said he was just trying to get a rise out of the reporter in the room.

Speaking at JSU's signing day announcement Wednesday, Jaynes talked about who the Gamecocks might play in the much-aniticipated game most everyone expects will be Florida State. He spoke of how he discussed the latest with coach Jack Crowe and said he asked the coach which team he'd rather play, Syracuse or Rutgers?

So are they two new teams in the mix? Other teams discussed at various times during this soap opera that has become the JSU schedule include Florida State, Houston, Illinois, Clemson, Central Arkansas, Northern Illinois.

It all hinges, it seems, on the ACC and ESPN putting together their TV packages. Some have suggested the ACC is trying to position itself for the best possible exposure during the first three weeks of the season.

Miami has moved all its non-conference games, which clears the way for an FSU-Miami game on Labor Day. FSU plays Maine on the date in quesiton, and there's some serious money involved if the Black Bears (who reportedly turned down an alternate matchup with Houston) don't get the game.

The date JSU is looking at is Sept. 12. So now maybe it's Rutgers or Syracuse, both of whom are looking for a game?

"I said that just for your benefit," Jaynes said. "We have had not one conversation with either one of them. I just said it to see if you were paying attention. We're just sitting waiting."

A decision "isn't as far" as it had been, Jaynes said, "but it ain't close yet."

Jaynes said the Gamecocks will play 11 games this season regardless if the FSU/ESPN thing materializes. The ACC is expected to announce its TV schedule Monday.

"We could end up going in another direction," he said. "There are some FCS teams that are available, Division II. I don't think I want to go that route. We've had people call and ask about it, but right now I don't think I want to play a D-II team.

"I want to get something done, but I want to get done what I want done, not just take what's out there. We could have signed a game three or four weeks ago, but I'm trying to do what's best for Jacksonville State, not just going out there and grabbing the first thing out there."

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