South Carolina State @ Georgia Southern
by, 11-27-2010 at 02:50 PM (1526 Views)
STATESBORO, Ga — There is probably no venue in the Football Championship Subdivision that better represents this level of play than Georgia Southern's Paulson Stadium.
On this sun-splashed Georgia day, the wind briskly blew the six championship flags stationed at the west, field house end of the stadium, to a crisp attention as Georgia Southern and South Carolina State prepared for their first-round game in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.
It has been five long winters without playoffs for the fans of Georgia Southern, the historical standard of excellence in FCS. So as we enter a new era of the FCS playoffs with a 20-team expanded bracket, I can think of no place where I would rather be than at Paulson Stadium.
There are no Statesboro Blues today, in deference to the Allman Brothers. Only the dark blue color of those classic Eagle jerseys.
Georgia Southern return to the playoffs coincided with the return of the traditional triple option attack under Jeff Monken, a longtime assistant to former GSU head coach and double-wing option inventor Paul Johnson.
While this is the first year of the Georgia Southern renaissance, the return to greatness for a South Carolina State program that once thrived under Hall of Fame coach Willie Jeffries has been a several-year progression with Oliver "Buddy" Pough at the controls as coach.
The Bulldogs won back-to-back MEAC championships in 2008-09 and shared the 2010 crown with Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M. But SCSU is still looking for its first NCAA playoff victory.
South Carolina State seems like a perfect foil for the Eagles on this Back to the Future-type day. Located just 98 miles away from Statesboro down Highway 301 in Orangeburg, S.C., SCSU brought a nice group of fans to this encounter.
With two teams steeped in tradition meeting it should be a fun day to kickoff the NCAA playoffs.