Samford head football coach Pat Sullivan announced today that he and athletics director Bob Roller are in the final stages of securing football games with Florida State and Auburn in the next three seasons.
Sullivan, speaking at the Samford Business Network Birmingham Meeting and Breakfast at the Harbert Center, told the sold-out audience that agreements have been reached to play at Florida State in 2010 and Auburn in 2011. The Bulldogs will also open the 2009 season at the University of Central Florida at UCF's new on-campus Bright House Networks Stadium.
The Florida State game has multiple story lines as current Seminole head coach Bobby Bowden played and coached at Samford, while his announced successor, Jimbo Fisher, was a record-setting quarterback for Samford in 1987 and an assistant coach for the Bulldogs from 1988-92.
The Auburn contest will mark the first time that the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner will coach from the opposite sideline of his alma mater and will mark Samford's first football contest at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium since the 1993 season. The game will be the 27th all-time meeting between Samford and Auburn.
"First, I want to thank these schools for giving us the opportunity to play," Sullivan said. "It's very special to our team and to our Samford family to be able to go to those places, and it's also exciting for our players to go to those venues. This will help us in recruiting, and for us to build our program to where we want it to be, this is what we need to do."
"This three-year stretch of contests against teams from the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, and Conference USA continues to show the growth of our football program under Coach Sullivan and his staff," Roller said. "There is a great deal for the Samford students, fans, and alumni to be proud of when you add these marquis games to the already powerful Southern Conference schedule we will play annually."
Roller added that all three games have been agreed upon by both parties and that formal contracts should follow soon to allow the dates to be announced. The Auburn game in 2011 is expected to be the first weekend in November.