BOCA RATON – FAU fans who look forward to seeing the Owls face one of the Big 3 Sunshine State opponents should be sure to savor this week’s game against Miami.
It may be a while before the Owls play another such game.
Saturday’s game against Miami is the final game of a three game contract which called for two Miami home games and one played at Howard Schnellenberger Field.
Regarding talks of extending or renewing the contract, FAU Athletic Director Pat Chun said there has been, “nothing substantive. We’ve strategically tried to avoid the two-for-ones.”
Chun believes, and says FAU President Dr. John Kelly agrees, that the Owls no longer need to play two big-named schools for guarantee money each season to meet the program’s fiscal needs.
The department is currently scheduling football games under the premise that playing six homes games will make up for the money potentially lost by not pursuing guarantee money, with the added benefit of increasing the likeliness of both a win on that Saturday and bowl eligibility for the season.
In previous discussions Miami has been unwilling to play a home-and-home series with FAU.
FAU’s non-conference schedule for the next three years is already complete – featuring guarantee games at Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Ohio St. but not Florida, Florida St. or Miami.
The payoff for the Owls comes when they play two home non-conference games in each of the next three years, with teams like Bethune Cookman (twice), Navy, Air Force, Western Michigan and Central Florida coming to Howard Schnellenberger Field. South Florida will be in Boca Raton in 2020.
“We’re in a 10-year strategic plan. By the last part of the strategic plan (Dr. Kelly) wants us to be out of the guarantee game business,” Chun said. “It would be very nice to play Miami, absolutely, but scheduling appropriately for our football program is the priority.”
FAU lost to Miami 34-6 in the 2013 season opener but played much better at home against the Hurricanes last season in what ultimately became a 44-20 loss.
In that second game, FAU made plays against Miami in the first half and even tied the game at 20 midway through the third quarter before Miami pulled away.
“There was no mindset of, this is a more storied program – all those things weren’t on their mind,” FAU coach Charlie Partridge said. “They were out there to execute and compete. I anticipate that’s our mindset going into this week as well.”
A South Florida native, Partridge shied away from discussing any desire to face the Hurricanes following this season, saying he was focusing on the “task at hand.”
He also added that he doesn’t want to see his coaches or players attempt to raise the level of their emotions this week because they are facing Miami.
“It doesn’t create something extra,” Partridge said. “Are we excited to play Miami? Of course we are. It’s a great opportunity. We’re going to have the same excitement level week three, week four, week five, when were facing those [teams].”
For more nuggets from Charlie Partridge’s Monday meeting with the media or to comment on this story, please visit the FAU vs. Miami Game Week Thread on our newly-revamped message boards.