Wow, that happened fast.
As we contemplate the Bulldogs’ prospects in 2013 — they were picked to finish sixth in the Southern Conference at last week’s media day, which really means fourth – here’s a look at The Citadel’s schedule, in order of difficulty. I’ll include the chance of a Citadel win for each game (strictly my opinion) and we’ll see where we end up.
Nov. 23 — at Clemson. I’d give the Bulldogs a puncher’s chance against the mighty Tigers — who face rival USC the next week — but for one fact. Clemson plays Georgia Tech and its triple-option offense, nearly identical to that of the Bulldogs (with bigger, faster players) the week before The Citadel. Chance of win: .01 percent
Oct. 12 — at Georgia Southern. Eagles coach Jeff Monken made it clear last week that he will be saving nothing for next year’s FBS debut in the Sun Belt. GSU will be angry about last year’s 23-21 loss to the Bulldogs, and eager to go out as the “real” SoCon champ. Chance of win: .40 percent.
Sept. 21 — at Old Dominion. The Monarchs went 11-2 last year, lost to Georgia Southern by 49-35 in the playoffs and return record-setting QB Taylor Heinicke. ODU will play as an FBS school this season. Chance of win: .45 percent.
Oct. 26 — at Chattanooga. The Mocs are the odds-on favorite of the SoCon teams eligible to win the league title, and have put last year’s QB drama behind them. Jacob Huesman is back at QB and Silk Robinson settled in at WR. But it was Silk’s play at QB that sparked the Mocs to a 28-10 win over The Citadel last year. Chance of win: .45 percent
Nov. 2 — Samford. The 38-7 loss at Samford last year was the Bulldogs’ worst performance of the season. The B’Ham Bulldogs are a tough matchup for the Chucktown Bulldogs, and return most of their studs from last year. Chance of win: .49 percent
Oct. 5 — Appalachian State. Ditto the Mountaineers on revenge (Citadel romped by 52-28 last year) and going out as “real” SoCon champs. I’m sure the Bulldogs win last year played no small role in coach Jerry Moore’s demise, and in new coach Scott Satterfield’s decision to bring in Wofford’s Nate Woody as the new DC. Chance of win: .50 percent.
Sept. 7 — Wofford. The Terriers have won 14 straight over the Bulldogs, but needed a blocked field goal that still went through the goal posts last year to eke out a 24-21 win. All-America FB Eric Breitenstein, QB Brian Kass and DC Nate Woody are gone. Is this the year? Chance of win: .55 percent
ALL BUT CERTAIN WINS
Sept. 28 — Furman. The Paladins won three games last year, was tagged 42-20 by The Citadel and lost some key players. Rebuilding is going slow in Greenville, but the stadium looks good. Chance of win: 70 percent.
Aug. 31 — Charleston Southern. The Bulldogs won by 49-14 last year, but it was 14-14 at half. The Bucs finished strong last year, and new coach Jamey Chadwell will bring new life to the program. CSU will not do down easy. Chance of win: 75 percent.
Sept. 14 — at Western Carolina. WCU opens with Middle Tennessee and Virginia Tech before getting The Citadel in its home opener, and the Bulldogs struggled to stop the Catamounts last year. But WCU’s defense stopped no one. Chance of win: .80 percent.
Nov. 9 — at Elon. Coach Jason Swepson has gone 5-6 and 3-8 in his first two years. That’s the wrong way. Chance of win .85 percent.
Nov. 16 — VMI. Welcome back to the SoCon, Keydets. Chance of win: .90 percent.
Add up the percentages, and you get 6.85, which roughly translates to a 7-5 record. But I’ve got only one game in the sure-loss category for the Bulldogs, and six in the toss-up category. So The Citadel could conceivably wind up anywhere from 5-7 to something like 9-3.
Which is why this season should be so much fun to follow.
What’s your take?