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Do eight wins reserve GSU a playoff seat?
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    Should Georgia Southern get invited to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs if it beats Colorado State?
    That’s the question that has been bouncing around Eagle Nation this week.
    A win over the Rams would give Southern, which has already clinched a tie for third place in the Southern Conference, a regular season mark of 8-3.
    Wofford (8-3, 5-2) and Appalachian State (7-3, 4-2) will share the Southern Conference title if the Mountaineers beat Chattanooga as expected. However, the Terriers will get the league’s automatic bid, one of eight to the 16 team field, due to their regular season win over App.
    As two time defending national champion and league co-champ the Mountaineers would be a given to receive one of the at-large spots. SoCon coaches and officials believe the conference is deserving of three teams being invited if Southern finishes with a win.
    “I would think they would get in if they beat Colorado State,” said Furman coach Bobby Lamb. “This conference is so strong from top to bottom, and although Colorado State (1-9) is not having a good year they’re still a Division I team. You’re playing up, and you’re also playing on the road.
    “Georgia Southern has played a tough schedule, and they’ve got some good wins. To finish 8-3 in our conference they should get in.”
    However, Wofford was bypassed in 2004 despite an 8-3 and third-place conference finish. Southern and App tied for first that year.
    The Eagles’ three losses have all gone down to the wire: an overtime loss to Chattanooga, double overtime to Elon, and a 24-22 nail-biter to the Paladins on a missed field goal on the final play of the game.
     “It’s a must win game for us if we have any aspirations of making it to the post season,” said Southern Coach Chris Hatcher. “This would be a huge upset if we go up there and come away with a victory.
    “It’s going to be very difficult for us,” said Hatcher who made it more difficult Wednesday when he suspended starting defensive end Dakota Walker, and backup running back Mike Hamilton for the game.
Walker was benched for unexcused class absences, and Hamilton was suspended for violating unspecified team rules.       
    Georgia Southern has a feather in its hat by virtue of beating both of the conference co-champs on the road. The Eagles are the only SoCon team to have defeated both Wofford and Appalachian State.
    Quarterback Jayson Foster said all the Eagles can do is win and go from there.
    “It was a very disappointing loss,” said Foster of the Furman game. “We had the conference championship in our grasp, and we didn’t make plays when we had to.
    “We just have to go out there and get a win to get a chance for the playoffs. I don’t know how the selection committee looks at it. We just need to get a win, and make them make a decision on us.”
    No Georgia Southern team with an 8-3 or better record has ever been left out of the playoffs. The Eagles rank 14th nationally in the Gridiron Power Index for FCS teams. This is the top index of at-large playoff selections.
    Two teams ahead of the Eagles in the GPI — North Dakota State and Yale — are ineligible for the playoffs, and 13th ranked Youngstown State has four losses. No four loss team has ever made the field as an at-large.        
    Wofford, Eastern Kentucky of the Ohio Valley Conference, Montana of the Big Sky, McNeese State of the Southland, Fordham of the Patriot League, Delaware State of the MEAC and Northern Iowa of the Gateway Conference are in. Either Massachusetts or Richmond will come out of the Colonial Athletic Association with the other getting an-large berth. That accounts for nine spots.
    App State should beat Chattanooga to get into the field. The remaining six will likely come from Eastern Washington (7-3) of the Big Sky, Eastern Illinois (7-3) of the OVC, Southern Illinois (9-1) of the Gateway, Delaware and James Madison of the CAA, and a 16th team that could from Southern, Colgate (7-3) or Norfolk State (7-3).
    The CAA is the number one conference in the power ratings and is expected to have four teams picked. The SoCon is second and the Gateway third in the power rankings. However, the Gateway has only two teams with fewer than four losses.