Georgia Southern Tabbed Consensus Favorite for Southern Conference Crown
Georgia Southern tops SoCon preseason polls
Departing Mountaineers, Eagles chasing SoCon title
Even the SoCon’s own website followed suit:
Well … No, no, no, no, no and no.
None of these headlines reflect the bottom line of the voting in the SoCon’s preseason polls, which is that the media picked Wofford and the coaches Chattanooga as the favorites among the teams eligible to win the SoCon football championship.
GSU and App won’t be winning championships of any kind this season, as they begin the transition to FBS and the Sun Belt. Both programs will be over the FCS 63-scholarship limit, which makes them ineligible for the FCS playoffs and thus the SoCon title and automatic playoff berth.
In an effort to avoid appearing “vindictive” toward departing members GSU and App, the SoCon botched media day by allowing the Eagles and Mountaineers to be part of the preseason polls. The policy was apparently set by league athletic directors, who pride themselves on “collegiality.”
But it was wrong-headed.
Coaches routinely dismiss preseason polls as meaningless, and they are as far as the games go. But they aren’t meaningless in terms of publicity, which is the entire reason they exist. SoCon media day is one of the few days out of the year in which the league can get some headlines around the country. Unfortunately, many of today’s headlines are just plain wrong.
Allowing GSU and App players to be on the preseason all-SoCon teams was proper. But the SoCon should not have allowed GSU and App to be part of the preseason polls. Nothing vindictive about that; just common sense and a truer picture of the league this season. And I told the commissioner that during the season, App State and GSU should be listed at the bottom of the SoCon standings with an asterisk, again to provide a true picture of the league in newspapers and on websites across the country.
In fact, I think the right thing to do is to treat games against GSU and App as non-conference games. They would count on The Citadel’s overall record, for example, but not on the Bulldogs’ league mark. But the league has decided to count games against GSU and App as conference games.
Furman, bless the Paladins, even went so far as to list the SoCon polls this way on its website:
|2013 SoCon Football Preseason Coaches Poll*
1) Chattanooga (47)
2) Samford (43)
3) Wofford (40)
4) The Citadel (33)
5) Furman (25)
6) Elon (16)
7) Western Carolina (12)
2013 SoCon Football Preseason Media Poll*
*Polls do not include Georgia Southern and Appalachian State due to NCAA-designated FBS transition status for 2013 season.
This is the way it should have been done. And today we’d see headlines like “Chattanooga, Wofford SoCon favorites” which would have the virtue of being true.
Thus endeth today’s sermon.