A new sense of hope was restored Friday when the Rattlers upcoming football schedule was unveiled.
The Rattlers will look to set the record straight as they bounce back from last season’s 3-9 record.
The schedule is marked by five home games with an intriguing visit from Costal Carolina, a team that made the Football Championship Subdivision, Division I-AA, playoffs last season and is a solid early-season test for the Rattlers.
Florida A&M head coach Earl Holmes believes the strength of schedule will be an extra push needed to make the Rattlers playoff hopes a reality.
“I’m excited about the schedule,” Holmes said. “I’m excited about having five home games, and that’s a lot of incentive to play well.”
The Rattlers will need to do a better job of defending their home field. FAMU’s last victory at Bragg Memorial Stadium came on Nov. 10, 2012, against North Carolina Central.
The Rattlers will also face three more teams that made the playoffs last season in Tennessee State, South Carolina State and archrival Bethune-Cookman in the season finale Florida Blue Florida Classic.
However, Holmes said he’s looking forward to the competition his team has with the new talent he was able to recruit.
“You’ve got to have that speed,” Holmes said. “We got some hybrid players since we’re a 3-4 defense.”
The schedule also features a guarantee game against the University of Miami that will include a $600,000 payout.
Interim Athletic Director Michael Smith feels the schedule will be a blueprint for the program moving forward.
“Coach Holmes and I talk every Tuesday, and we discuss the right fit for us,” Smith said. “We talk about being battle tested and having a schedule that was really solid.”
Interim Sports Information Director Vaughn Wilson said the season opener with Jackson State brings back a sense of pride in the past rivalries of the HBCUs involved in the schedule.
“We have a tremendous history with those SWAC teams,” Wilson said. “The game is very important to alumni and will be very exciting.”