Florida State to play Savannah State

Updated: February 22, 2012, 12:30 PM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

Savannah State will replace West Virginia on Florida State's 2012 home schedule, the Seminoles announced Wednesday.

Florida State was contracted to play the Mountaineers Sept. 8 in Tallahassee, but West Virginia sent notification Feb. 3 that it would not honor the commitment because of its move to the Big 12.

Florida State and ACC officials have been scrambling ever since to complete the schedule.

"West Virginia's announcement at the 11th hour really put us in a very difficult position," Seminoles athletic director Randy Spetman said in a prepared statement. "We contacted every BCS school that had an opening in hopes of replacing WVU with a BCS opponent, but none of those few schools could make it work either because of our dates or theirs.

"It is important for our fans to realize that the schools we contacted during the search did not pass on the 2012 game out of concern for the competition, but because of challenges they faced with schedule changes this late in the year."

With Savannah State and Murray State both on the schedule for 2012, the Seminoles will have to win seven games to reach bowl eligibility instead of six because only one win against an FCS opponent counts toward bowl eligibility.

"We worked with Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Pitt to name a few along with our current nonconference opponents and television partners, but reached a point where our options simply dried up," Spetman said. "We might have been able to play on the road at some BCS schools this season, but that would cost our fans and the university one of just seven chances to play a home game and also would have a negative impact on our local economy."

The entire ACC schedule is expected to be released shortly.

Savannah State will receive a guarantee of $475,000 to play the game.

"I know our administration was frustrated by West Virginia's decision and I can tell all our fans that we've done everything we could to explore all the options for a home game," coach Jimbo Fisher said in the school's news release. "I believe the plans are for the ACC to go to a nine-game conference schedule once Pitt and Syracuse begin play.

"With Florida always on the schedule, it will leave us just two nonconference games every year so scheduling BCS teams will be more challenging from here on out for everybody."

Florida State previously had announced the dates for 2012 non-conference games against Murray State (Sept. 1); South Florida (Sept. 29 in Tampa); and Florida (Nov. 24).

Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.

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