Don’t act like you’re not impressed. Or at least a little surprised.
While the Georgia Southern Eagles spent last Saturday still recovering from a shocking upset against The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., on Sept. 8, those very same Bulldogs were busy pounding Appalachian State to the tune of a 52-28 beatdown. In Boone. In front of 30,000 ASU fans.
Perhaps it’s not that surprising that The Citadel won the game. The win over GSU probably gave the Bulldogs some confidence, and Appalachian was probably a bit overconfident after a narrow win over a Montana team that had its fair share of turmoil in the offseason.
But it wasn’t that the Bulldogs won. It was how they won.
Georgia Southern has won six national titles in its history, and the Eagles have never, ever gone to Boone, N.C. and slapped the Mountaineers around like that. Not even before ASU’s back-to-back-to-back national titles, the win over Michigan and the student body up there finally deciding it cares about its football team.
So yeah, that win by The Citadel was significant.
After beating GSU, the Bulldogs could have been looked at as a fluke. The Eagles shot themselves in the foot plenty of times, turning over the ball early to dig a hole and using missed field goals and penalties to make sure they couldn’t dig themselves out, so it’s just as easy to say that GSU beat itself. It did, for the most part.
But The Citadel proved it’s for real against ASU, and in some ways, the win signified a changing of the guard in the SoCon.
For the last decade or so, it’s been the two biggest, baddest public schools (ASU and GSU) and the two powerful private schools (Furman and Wofford) duking it out for SoCon supremacy.
That’s not the case, now. Not this week, anyway. There are three teams in the SoCon in control of their own destiny right now, meaning that if they take care of business, one of them will win the SoCon outright. Those teams are Wofford (no surprise), Samford (huh?) and The Citadel (well, they did already beat two Top 10 teams).
The traditional powers are now behind the eight ball.
Since the mid-90s, the SoCon’s always had something known as the "Big 3" at the top. Two of the "Big 3" have been ASU and GSU.
There’s no telling how the rest of the season will play out, but the way things are looking today, the "Big 3" could end up being made up of some of the smallest schools in the conference.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.