Bethune-Cookman’s football game at Miami on Saturday concludes a two-year contract with the Hurricanes. But it doesn’t conclude the Wildcats’ plans to play in South Florida.

B-CU has signed a two-year deal to play games at Florida International in Miami next season (Sept. 14) and in 2014 (Sept. 6), the athletic directors of both schools confirmed.

B-CU is now scheduled to play back-to-back road games next season against Football Bowl Subdivision teams at FIU followed by UCF in Orlando. Both teams are moving up to more elite conferences next season — UCF to the Big East, a BCS automatic-qualifying conference, and FIU to Conference USA.

“We want to step up in terms of playing bigger programs like that,” B-CU athletic director Lynn Thompson said. “But we want to be very strategic about it. We want to make sure we have a legitimate chance to be competitive.”

Miami defeated B-CU 45-14 last season, but the Wildcats scored first and trailed by just one touchdown at 21-14 with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.

Thompson said Miami agreed to pay B-CU about $400,000 for each of the two games at Sun Life Stadium and said the FIU contract “is in the same range.”

“Any time we can play a Florida school, it’s a no-brainer,” FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said. “They have a lot of fans down here. They’ll draw fans.”

The B-CU game will give FIU seven home games in 2014 and at least six home games in 2013 with one left to schedule, Garcia said.

The Wildcats have scheduled 12 games for next season and will be allowed to do the same in 2014, Thompson said. read more…