The Florida Gators will be playing two FCS opponents in 2018, and they could be playing two more in 2019 as well. While the 2018 schedule will come with an exemption for one game, the Gators may be doing their strength of schedule no favors without any modifications to the 2019 schedule.
According to FBSchedules.com, Florida is scheduled to play home games in 2019 against UT Martin (Sept. 7, 2019) and Towson (Sept. 28, 2019). Playing multiple FCS opponents is not against the NCAA rules for FBS programs, but only one win would count toward a school’s bowl eligibility (essentially meaning Florida would have to win seven games if it won both games against the FCS opponents).
Florida does open the 2019 season in Orlando against in-state rival Miami, and the traditional end-of-the-year clash with Florida State remains in place, so the Gators do have some challenges to look forward to. But an SEC school playing two FCS opponents leaves the door open for some scheduling criticism, even if both games take place in September as opposed to having one slated in the next-to-last week of the regular season. SEC schools must play one game against another power conference opponent, or a team deemed to be the equivalent. Florida satisfies that requirement with both Miami and Florida State.
Florida’s FCS opponents in 2018 will be Charleston Southern in the season opener on Sept. 1 and Idaho later in the season on Nov. 17. The game against Idaho was scheduled when Idaho was still an FBS program. This season will be Idaho’s first season in the FCS after moving down, but SB Nation reports the NCAA has given Florida an exemption for that game so it may still count toward bowl eligibility (assuming it is Florida’s second win against an FCS opponent in the fall).