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Florida, FSU among college teams that enjoy easy weekend

in Sports/Top Headlines by

So here we are in soft-touch week, where the wins are guaranteed and the paydays are getting bigger.

And everyone, it seems, is happy.

But should they be?

It is one thing for a powerhouse college football team to open the season with a relatively easy game or two. But here in Week 12? Aren’t we supposed to be past Florida playing FAU and FSU playing Chattanooga? Aren’t schools supposed to be playing real opponents by now?

Yet, as teams get ready for rivalry weeks and key conference matchups, some of them have sprinkled a walkover game into the schedule. South Carolina plays The Citadel. Alabama plays Charleston Southern. Georgia plays Georgia State. Auburn plays Idaho. And here in Florida, the Seminoles of Jimbo Fisher play Chattanooga and the Gators of Jim McElwain play FAU.

Why?

Well, money. Of course.

The smaller schools get a big payday ($500,000 or so) to visit the big schools. They get exposure. They use the size of their opponent in recruiting.

And the big schools? They get another home game and the guaranteed gate that goes with it. They get an almost assured victory. They get a chance to give a few players a week off to heal. They get, essentially, a week off against an outmanned opponent. They get a win from the athletic director’s office.

Oh, there are some games. Michigan State plays Ohio State. LSU plays Ole Miss. USC plays Oregon.

But if the key is competition, some teams are more interested in the cash.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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