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Conference changes could affect everyone

There is a major shift taking place in the college football landscape, and for the moment, nobody knows what the power conferences will look like when the dust settles.

With the conferences of the Football Bowl Subdivision scrambling to grow and accommodate a conference championship game, there will be empty spaces to fill and the restructuring could reach into the Football Championship Subdivision.

While Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken is primarily focused on Western Carolina, Saturday's opponent, Monken and GSU are aware of the the changing landscape of the game.

"There have been conversations between myself, the athletic administration and the university administration," said Monken. "That's a reality, that everything as we know it now with the major conferences, that there may become a super conference, or they'll align together, and who knows what that does for opportunities."

Monken is optimistic that any potential changes would only improve things for larger FCS programs.

"There may be a forced, 'OK, you're either this, or you're this.' There will be decisions for a lot of teams to make, and we've had those discussions," said Monken. "I think what it's going to do is create opportunities for schools like Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Youngstown State, Montana, Delaware — schools that are established at this level, are successful at this level and have a fan base that could support a move to another level."

Monken doesn't view any potential change as a final destination.

"We realize we're probably never going to be the BCS champion. We may never have a stadium with 110,000 seats. That's OK," he said. "You go into a league where you can be competitive in that league — be the best in that league — and then from there you grow. Maybe then you could become a Boise State. Boise was a Division II, then a I-AA, and they've grown into something really special. But for every one of them, there's always [teams] who would love to be Boise State and aren't there yet.

"If it's right for Georgia Southern," he added, "I have faith in our administration that we'll make that decision and do what's right for the school. I'm in support of whatever's best for our university."

Monken recently discussed construction on a 50,000 square-foot facility he expects will begin at Paulson Stadium in October, and while Georgia State and Mercer have recently started football and Kennesaw State is in the preliminary stages of doing the same, Monken is only focusing on one program in Georgia - the Eagles.

"This is the only program we have control over to try and develop these young men, and I'll take Georgia Southern over any place else," he said. "This is the best place there is and I'm glad to be here. There's only one Georgia Southern."


Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.