This weekend’s Auburn-Samford game continues Auburn’s recent initiative to schedule in-state nonconference games, which seemed too kick off in earnest in 2011 with a game against this same Samford program.
Since then, Auburn’s played an in-state nonconference opponent in all but two seasons in the last nine, keeping those paydays in the state of Alabama.
Auburn is paying Samford $450,000 for this game, per a report from USA Today released in August.
After this game, Auburn will have played — and paid — four of the Division I FCS teams in the state of Alabama within the last five seasons. That’s all of them barring only the newly DI program at North Alabama, which just moved up last year.
Auburn’s 2021 meeting with Alabama State is the only such game currently scheduled for the future, though earlier this fall, South Alabama announced its FBS team would be playing at Auburn in 2025.
Auburn most recently played Samford in 2011 and 2014. After that 2011 game, Auburn hosted Alabama A&M for the first time ever in 2012, before there was another meeting between those teams in 2016.
Auburn played Alabama State for the first time ever last season.
Auburn took on the state’s fourth FCS team, Jacksonville State, in 2015, though that game’s run into overtime and the fact that the Gamecocks almost pulled off the upset in Jordan-Hare will likely keep Auburn wary from scheduling Jacksonville State again in the near future.
Auburn has never played Troy. Auburn’s only played UAB once in 1996.
North Alabama’s four-year transition from Division II to Division I started in the fall of 2018. Discounting North Alabama, Auburn had played every FCS team in the state in recent years, in what was called by the athletics program a commitment to play every one.
Auburn’s nonconference schedules are full up over the next three years, with a 2020 game with Alcorn State from Mississippi and a 2022 game with Mercer from Georgia wrapping around the 2021 game with Alabama State.
Auburn hasn’t publicly announced any upcoming games with FCS teams beyond 2022. It’s in 2023 that Auburn will have the opportunity to try to schedule another in-state FCS opponent.