South Alabama has feasted on inferior competition since forming a college football program, but now the time has come for the Jaguars to pull a seat up to the adult’s table. After a few years of scheduling weaker competition in hopes of forming a winning foundation, the four-year-old football program will play a full FBS schedule as a new member of the Sun Belt Conference.
It was just five years ago the University of South Alabama announced their decision to introduce a fully funded college football program, which took the field for the first time in 2009 in front of 26,000 interested fans. Year one ended with a 7-0 record against junior colleges and other small-school programs. The following season South Alabama piled up on FCS, Division 2 and NAIA competition, and in 2011 the program focused more on FCS-level opponents with a couple FBS stops mixed in.
“We have to beat people on our schedule right now, we can’t wait until August to do it,” Jaguars head coach Joey Jones said this spring. “We have to take advantage of every minute that we can to get better, and I think they did that today.”