1. 134 Columbus Street, Charleston, SC –The nerve center of the SoCon Panic Poll is a bit shaky as my main preseason projection — that Wofford would at last suffer slippage this season — is crumbling fast.
Last week, I vowed never to use the words “s*******” and “Mike Ayers” in the same article again if the Terriers could knock off Georgia Southern. Wofford prevailed, 30-20, and apparently it wasn’t even that close.
Therefore, as promised, I tender my apology to the Terrier faithful. (PS, don’t overlook Gardner-Webb, which is 2-1 with wins over Furman and No. 15 Richmond).
2. App State (0-2, 0-0) and Elon (1-2, 0-0): Call this the A&T Bowl as App State and Elon — two teams that could not beat North Carolina A&T — meet this week at Elon.
App State has had a week off to get its act together, though preseason SoCon player of the year Jamal Londry-Jackson was benched last game in favor of sophomore backup QB Kam Bryant. Londry-Jackson is averaging just 104.5 passing yards per game, with two interceptions and one TD through two games. A lot of that has to do with the suspension of 6-5 receiver Sean Price; that suspension shows no signs of ending soon.
Meanwhile, Elon and coach Jason Swepson had an interesting week vs. A&T. First, Swepson refused to send game tape to North Carolina A&T, apparently violating an agreement between the two schools. Then, he got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that sealed his team’s fate:
“Phoenix coach Jason Swepson tried to get a time out called as officials pondered bringing out the chains to measure for an A&T first down. It was third and inches when Swepson threw his hat down in disgust and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that gave A&T a first down at the 3.
He apologized to the officials after the final horn.”
Pep talk: “How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out.” — Oscar Wilde.
4. Georgia Southern (2-1, 0-1): The Eagles’ grand plan to roll through the SoCon undefeated during their good-bye season hit a road block from jump street at Wofford. No doubt, GSU’s tough early schedule (Savannah State, St. Francis) had the Eagles primed for what they encountered in Gibbs Stadium. Coach Jeff Monken started redshirt freshman Kevin Ellison at QB instead of senior Jerick McKinnon, with McKinnon also playing running back. Makes you wonder: Are App State and GSU playing for this season, or are they playing young quarterbacks to prepare for next season and FBS?
Pep talk: “What day is it?” It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
5. Furman (1-2, 0-0): The Paladins needed a blocked field goal with 18 seconds left to avoid a loss to Presbyterian and an 0-3 record against the Big South. That play by DB Jarius Hollman also saved Furman from its eighth loss in nine games. Even more encouraging — senior DE Shawn Boone was lost for the season with a torn ACL, and leading tackler Cory Magwood hurt his ankle against PC. Good time for an open date for Furman, which has 14 freshmen and sophomores on the 2-deep on defense.
6. Western Carolina (0-3, 0-1): Enjoyed my stay in The Whee. WCU has a nice field in a beautiful setting, vocal support from an enthusiastic student section and a great marching band. They just need a football team! (rim shot). Seriously, WCU might have beaten The Citadel last week had it not so thoroughly self-destructed in the first half. I’m predicting a SoCon win for the Catamounts this season. You are on notice, Furman and Elon.
Pep talk: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
― Bob Marley
7. The Citadel (1-2, 1-1): Coach Kevin Higgins ordered up a simplified game plan last week, and the Bulldogs responded with a 19-play TD drive to open the game, 18 of them runs. The Citadel will need about five 19-play drives this week against high-scoring Old Dominion, which put up 76 on Howard last week.
Pep talk: “It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” ― Bruce Lee
8. Samford (2-1, 0-0) and Chattanooga (2-1, 0-0): The Mocs have righted themselves after that disappointing opener, and Samford keeps rolling even with coach Pat Sullivan still sidelined as he recovers from back surgery. The Mocs have two weeks to prepare for their SoCon opener against Georgia Southern, which is always nice. Plus, coach Russ Huesman got a raise and a contract extension, which is even nicer. For Samford, maybe a win over Southeastern Louisiana this week will be enough to get the overdue Bulldogs into the FCS rankings.
Pep talk: “It’s not time to worry yet.” — Harper Lee
10. Wofford (2-1, 2-0): “Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all the time.”
― Chuck Klosterman