Murray State looks forward to challenge, payday
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)
Murray State coach Chris Hatcher doesn't leave any doubt about why he's willing to let his lower-division Racers to take on No. 7 Florida State Saturday. Money.
The Football Championship Subdivision school from western Kentucky visits a Florida State team that some, including Hatcher, believe could challenge for the national championship this season.
''We make no bones about it, it's all about the money,'' Hatcher said during a telephone interview. ''There is no number two there, it's all about the paycheck.''
Florida State guaranteed the visitors $450,000 in exchange for what the Seminoles and their fans fully expect will be a win.
''As much as I dislike playing teams that are outside our division, I understand it has to be done for financial reasons,'' Hatcher said. ''We're going against a bigger, faster, stronger football team.''
Hatcher, whose dad went to Florida State in the mid-60s, is familiar with Tallahassee from his playing and coaching days at nearby Valdosta (Ga.) State and anxious to expose his players to the big-time atmosphere. He said there is no pressure on his team going into the Seminoles' den.
''This is an awesome opportunity to go do something great,'' he said. ''We'll keep it simple and try to execute the best we can and let the chips fall where they may.''
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher isn't buying that ''pay for a win'' theory in total, although he expects to get a look at a lot of players Saturday. About 55,000 fans are expected for the game in the Seminoles' 83,000-seat stadium.
''They'll be a very good opponent,'' Fisher said. ''They've got a quarterback who has thrown for a lot of years, made a lot of plays.''
Quarterback Casey Brockman led Murray State to a 7-4 record a year ago when he passed for 3,276 yards and 25 touchdowns Murray State. It was the first time since 2000 the Racers compiled successive winning seasons.
But it's unlikely the Racers will be approach last year's average of 37 points and 461 yards a game against a Seminoles defense that ranked fourth nationally a year ago.
Florida State, which finished 9-4 a year ago, is a runaway favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference this year and advance to one of the BCS bowls. They were in a similar situation last fall at this time, ranked even higher (sixth) going into the season.
Either way, it's a big assignment for Hatcher's team from the Ohio Valley Conference.
''They'll be the best team we'll play all year long,'' Hatcher said. ''So long as that pay check don't bounce.''