The 2021 Southern Conference football season played out the way the SoCon always seems to play out: unpredictably. This season figures to have a similar finish.
Holmes was the biggest loss on the field, but Coach Randy Sanders was an equally big loss as he elected to retire after the season. Former Furman Associate Head Coach George Quarles takes over in 2022.
Most of their leaders on defense are back this year which should lead to an even better unit than last season.
Losing RB Fred Davis after a strong Freshman year certainly hurts but the Bears are on the right trajectory.
This team has a look of a mid-2010s Samford which gave opponents fits offensively but played a lot of shootouts.
Korey Bridy will again be the feature back in 2022.
Last season showed Furman to be about what it has been for most of the past decade: an average team.
The Citadel needs more production from the front seven if they want to be more successful.
Both sides of the ball will have to be much better this season.
Not only does Samford have to break in a new quarterback, but they also must replace their top three receivers from last year.
As we come to the last week of the season, the path to determine the Southern Conference champion is as easy as it gets.
There are still four teams alive for the SoCon title, but for two teams – Mercer and Chattanooga – its simple: win both remaining games and win the conference.
There are four teams with one conference loss and everyone else has at least three conference losses. That’s four teams with playoff aspirations, but there wont be four seats at the table for the SoCon when all is said and done.
East Tennessee State takes the week off. The rest of the conference plays each other as usual. There should be another chunk of good SoCon games.
Check out highlights of last week’s big games, and check out out CSJ composite playoff bracket, bubble team of the week, and playoff implication game of the week as well.
#21 VMI takes this week off. The other eight teams face of in conference matchups.
Last week was a real thriller with a lot of FCS Playoff implications. Montana State, Eastern Washington and North Dakota State had statement wins showing how they plan to be a part of these playoffs come Thanksgiving, while the SoCon’s title and autobid race seems as muddled as ever.
Western Carolina takes this week off. But the rest of the conference is in action with four head to head matchups.
There are again four conference games on the schedule this weekend with Samford getting the bye week.
This week brings four conference matchups with Furman sitting this week out on bye.
Week three will see our first conference game of the season and six more out of conference matchups with Mercer taking a bye week this weekend.
Week two brings eight more non-conference games, with Wofford taking an early bye. Three teams play FBS schools, and one plays a DII opponent.
We are back! Back for a full fall schedule of football.
How performance during the spring season will translate to the fall is completely unknown. The FCS has never had a season like the previous one.
Their best offensive player, Aylim Ford did not play at all in the spring but should be ready for the fall. Altogether, this should be the team to beat in the Southern Conference
VMI was the surprise of the spring season. Now the key is: can they back it up?
In the Spring, Wofford tried to incorporate more passing into their offensive game plan. The result was a 70 yard per game drop in rushing offense, but only a 20 yard per game bump in the pass game.
The quarterback battle for Samford was simplified over the summer when Chris Oladokun transferred to South Dakota State. That meant the job was guaranteed to Liam Welch, not that it already wasn’t.
The Buccaneers will be a factor in the SoCon title race this year.
Going in to their last game against Samford, the Bears had an outside chance to win the Southern Conference if a couple games broke their way. Mercer wound up losing that game, but it gives them hope that they can take the next step this year.
There were big expectations for the Paladins coming into the spring but they did not live up to them. Furman wound up 3-4 and was never a factor in the conference race.
The Citadel was expecting to make a little jump and be a playoff contender in 2020 after hovering around .500, but the emergence of COVID made for a long fall and spring season, where they played a grand total of 11 games. The Citadel really struggled through their season. But they never quit and played their entire schedule.
The high level stats show the struggles that Western Carolina has endured. The last three seasons they have allowed 38, 39 and 41 points per game on average while going from 30 scored per game in 2018 to 19 to 18 over the last two seasons.
This game features two teams at opposite ends of the historical FCS spectrum.
Before looking at the games this week, lets look at the playoff picture from a Southern Conference standpoint.
VMI is now in the drivers seat for the Southern Conference title. With a win this week against East Tennessee State, they would clinch that berth – and avoid a boatload of potential tiebreaker headaches for the SoCon League office in terms of autobid determination.
The race for the SoCon title looks to be down to three teams, Chattanooga, VMI and East Tennessee State. ETSU only has one loss and still plays both of the unbeatens. As of now, VMI and Chattanooga do not play.
VMI and Chattanooga are the two remaining teams without a conference loss. Furman is waiting in the wings if they falter.
Last week was an excellent week of Southern Conference football with two games going to overtime and VMI continuing its hot start. Chattanooga was able to survive against The Citadel with a gutsy 2-point conversion shovel pass in over time. Furman fell behind 24-7 and 34-20 before saving their season with a touchdown and fumble recovery in overtime. With the games on tap this week, don’t be surprised to see more games come down to the final play.
Compared to the chaos of the final week of February, where we saw half the top 25 lose, the results of the first week in March could instead be called “March Mildness”.
Raise your hand if you had Chattanooga, VMI or East Tennessee State as the team that will be the last unbeaten remaining in the Southern Conference. Now put your hand down because you are lying.
Like many other football fans across the nation of FCS, we watched North Dakota State’s 39 game winning streak come to an end in Carbondale, Illinois, but it wasn’t the only event this weekend that had us shaking our heads.
This week we welcome the SWAC, Big Sky, and Big South to the wonderful world of spring FCS football, to go with the Missouri Valley, SoCon and OVC, who started their spring conference slates last week, and Tarleton State, who spent their time crushing FBS New Mexico State 43-17.
The Southern Conference is playing an eight game conference only schedule this spring, meaning there are games every week with little room for error. Last week the two teams that everyone expects to battle it out for the conference title, Wofford and Furman, cruised to victory.
Five players including RB Quay Holmes from East Tennessee State, RB Pierre Strong Jr. from South Dakota State, QB Cameron Burston from Tarleton State, Devon Krzanowski from North Dakota, and Hayden Olsen from Tennessee Tech have been selected as the College Sports Journal All-Stars for the week ending Dec. 14, 2020 from the NCAA Division I FBS Group of Five schools.
Three players were selected as CSJ’s Preseason Players of the Year on Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. These awards went to Villanova QB Daniel Smith on Offense, Citadel LB Willie Eubanks III on Defense, and Monmouth WR/KR Lonnie Moore IV on Special Teams.
The conference title looks like it should come down to Furman and Wofford. But there are two teams who have enough talent to challenge the favorites for the league title – Chattanooga and The Citadel.
The National Football Foundation (NFF) highlighted today the more than 310 schools and 35 conferences playing college football this spring at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III and NAIA levels. FBS independent New Mexico State will also play games this spring.
VMI quarterback Reece Udinski has been named the Southern Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and The Citadel linebacker Willie Eubanks III has been tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year
How do teams outside the FCS “Big Three” conferences take that final step to become national championship contenders, and how do these conferences gain national respect?