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1950 Florence State Football Opponents
Previous articles and Tidbits have looked at schools that dropped football. However, an issue that gets less attention is the growth of many universities and how their football profiles changed over the years.
For an utterly unscientific examination of the topic, we’ll look at the schedule played by Florence State Teachers College in 1950 and their opponents' current classifications and conferences. So, looking at the schedule below, which schools do you recognize? At which level of football does each currently play, and in which conference are they members?
Let's start with Florence State, a school I had not heard of until I spotted its 1950 schedule on eBay. After figuring out Florence State is now North Alabama, I paid the princely sum of four American dollars for the schedule and the right to use the image in this article. FSTC restarted its football program in 1949 and was still getting its feet under them when the 1950 season started. Today, North Alabama plays at the FCS level as a member of the ASUN Conference.
FSTC opened the season with an exciting 2-0 win over the College of the Ozarks, which is now a National Christian College Athletic Association member and does not field a football team.
Next up was Austin Peay, who topped Florence State in another barnburner, 6-0. Austin Peay had been a member of the Ohio Valley and Pioneer conferences and joined North Alabama in the FCS ASUN Conference earlier this year.
The third game came against Howard, which FSTC won 7-0. Have you noticed a pattern? Howard College became Samford University in 1965 and competes today in the FCS Southern Conference.
St. Bernard was the next opponent, and Florence Teachers took them to school in a 48-0 victory. St. Bernard later merged with a women's college, became Southern Benedictine, and closed in 1979.
Good ol' Livingston State provided the fifth opponent and Florence's second loss, as they shut out the pedagogues 19-0. Livingston State is now West Alabama and plays in the DII Gulf Coast Conference.
Florence was shut out 19-0 for the second week in a row, this time at the hands of Troy State Teachers, now Troy University. Troy now competes in the FBS Sun Belt Conference.
Florence State made a breakthrough the following week when they lost 28-14 to Middle Tennessee State. It was the first game that year both teams scored. Middle Tennessee competes in the FBS Conference USA.
Bethel provided the second-to-last opponent for FSTC and kindly allowed the teachers to even their record by defeating Bethel 38-2 or 39-2, depending on which newspaper you believe. Bethel now competes in the NAIA Mid-South Conference.
The finale came against an undefeated Jacksonville State team, which the teachers expelled 6-0 to finish with a 5-4 record. Jacksonville State is a member of the FCS ASUN Conference today and will join the FBS Conference USA in 2023.
A final point about the 1950 Florence team is that they had a sophomore player named Harlon Hill, who was named an NAIA All-American his senior year before being drafted by the Chicago Bears. Hill was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1954 and was a three-time Pro Bowler. The award for the top player in NCAA DII is the Harlon Hill Trophy.
The schools discussed here are not a representative group, but, interestingly, each state school plays scholarship football today. All but one is at the Division I level.
Anyway, the review started as an amusement, so I hope it proved of interest to you. Let me know what you think.
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