Give Georgia Southern a chance

Published 11:59 pm Friday, November 7, 2014

In the land of Georgia and Florida State fans, I’d like to call on the Georgia Southern alumni in the area to speak up. I think it’s time we convince everyone to take Georgia Southern football a bit more seriously.
The facts:
Georgia Southern is 7-2 (7-0 Sun Belt) and is currently No. 1 in the Sun Belt
Those two losses, against the ACC’s N.C. State and Georgia Tech, were by a combined five points
The Eagles continue to average more than 400 rushing yards per game, the highest in the FBS
They’re also averaging about 44 points per game
The NCAA Week 10 Power Rankings listed the Eagles at No. 8, up five from Week 9’s No. 13 ranking
The team is under a new coaching staff
It’s Southern’s first season playing in the FBS
Sure, the more avid sports fans know about the Eagles by now — if not, the NCAA says, “if you haven’t seen them play, we suggest you watch them” — but my problem lies with the casual football fans. We all know that guy who watches UGA football just because he lives in Georgia or the woman who cheers for FSU because it’s where her husband got a B.S. These are the people who haven’t heard about Georgia Southern football and its traditions yet. Despite the team’s impressive first FBS season thus far, there still aren’t enough people talking about the team around here, including the alumni.
Meanwhile in Statesboro, a current student is circulating a petition urging the NCAA to grant Georgia Southern a postseason waiver and to rethink its bowl eligibility rules, not just so Georgia Southern can have a shot at postseason play, but also for future transitioning teams that have strong first seasons. The petition has over 5,000 signatures and is being promoted on social media with #FreeGSU (you should sign and share it). It may not convince the NCAA to change the rule, but it has gotten people talking and questioning why teams are ineligible in their second year of transition. If Georgia Southern moved “up,” should it be sitting at No. 1 in its conference? The Eagles aren’t scheduled to meet UL Lafayette or Arkansas State, last season’s SBC champions, but a lot of people expected more of a struggle out of the Eagles’ transition — the pre-season coaches poll had Southern at No. 8.
It may just be football attention now, but that can easily lead to attention to other sports and academics as the school continues to grow, which in the long run will help make alumni degrees worth a little bit more. So, alumni, brag a little, wear navy and gold everything, sign that petition and GATA.

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