JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — The schedule for Jacksonville State's first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision is set.
Conference USA, Jax State's new home beginning in the 2023-24 season, released its 2023 conference schedule on Tuesday to complete the Gamecocks' first slate of games as a member of college football's highest level.
The biggest story surrounding the 2023 schedule is C-USA's new multimedia rights deal with CBS Sports and ESPN that will begin with the 2023-24 academic year. The multi-year agreement positions CBS Sports Network with tier one selection status for C-USA football (18 games annually) and men's basketball (18 games annually) over the length of the partnership, while also televising the football championship, men's basketball semifinal and championship games, the women's basketball championship game, and baseball and softball championship games.
C-USA membership approved a linear television-friendly scheduling format for football that sees all October league matchups played on midweek evenings. The broadcast partners will share C-USA's October weeknight football games on linear television across CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
The broadcast schedule and game times will be released at a later date and all games are subject to date changes and some dates may move in the future in order to accommodate national television selections.
Jax State will play a 12-game schedule with six of those being at Burgess-Snow Field, and it will get its first season in C-USA underway immediately. The nine-team conference will start league play on Week Zero with a full slate of games before most of the country begins play the next week.
The Gamecocks will play their first two games at home, beginning by hosting UTEP on Aug. 26, their fourth Week Zero game in the past six seasons. It will be Jax State's first home game against an FBS foe in program history and the first time it has opened with a conference foe since 2011. JSU will also celebrate Hall of Fame Weekend for the opener and will induct the newest class of its Athletics Hall of Fame.
JSU will then turn its focus to non-conference play on Week One on Sept. 2, when the Gamecocks host East Tennessee State on Band Day. It will be the fourth meeting between Jax State and ETSU, who last met in a 2018 FCS Playoff matchup that the Gamecocks won, 34-27.
Jax State begins a pair of FBS home-and-home series with a pair of 2022 bowl teams the next week. The Gamecocks will travel to Coastal Carolina on Sept. 9 and then host Eastern Michigan for Homecoming on Sept. 23 after the first of two bye weeks. It will be the second all-time meeting and the first since 2016 between the Gamecocks and Chanticleers, who played in the 2022 TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl. Eastern Michigan's trip to Jacksonville will be the first meeting between the two programs and will also be the Gamecocks' first against any team from the Mid-American Conference.
The second leg of both series will be played in 2024, when Coastal Carolina returns its game to JSU, while the Gamecocks will travel to EMU.
C-USA play heats up on Sept. 28, when a Thursday game at Sam Houston State gets the Gamecocks back into conference play and also begins the transition to the league's midweek schedule in October, which will begin with a Wednesday game at Middle Tennessee on Oct. 4. MTSU is the closest of Jax State's eight C-USA foes and will renew an all-time series that has seen 22 previous meetings and dates all the way back to 1927.
Back-to-back Tuesday home games will follow for Jax State, who will host Liberty on Oct. 10 and Western Kentucky on Oct. 17. Two more teams coming off of bowl appearances will come to Burgess-Snow Field, with Liberty coming off a season that landed the Flames in the Boca Raton Bowl and WKU coming in as the reigning New Orleans Bowl champions. It will be the fifth all-time meeting between Jax State and Liberty and the sixth with WKU.
The Gamecocks will return to the site of their 2020 win at Florida International on Wednesday, Oct. 25 before getting back to Saturday games with a non-conference trip to South Carolina on Nov. 4.
C-USA play will resume on Nov. 18 with JSU's home finale against Louisiana Tech. The first meeting between the two teams will mark the Marching Southerners Reunion Weekend and will conclude the Gamecocks' six-game home schedule. The regular season will conclude on Nov. 25 at New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M.
Aug. 26 - UTEP*
Sept. 2 - EAST TENNESSEE STATE
Sept. 9 - at Coastal Carolina
Sept. 16 - OPEN
Sept. 23 - EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sept. 28 - at Sam Houston State*^
Oct. 4 - at Middle Tennessee*&
Oct. 10 - LIBERTY*+
Oct. 17 - WESTERN KENTUCKY*+
Oct. 25 - at Florida International*&
Nov. 4 - at South Carolina
Nov. 11 - OPEN
Nov. 18 - LOUISIANA TECH*
Nov. 25 - at New Mexico State*
* — Conference USA game
+ — Tuesday game
& — Wednesday game
^ — Thursday game