Should GSU play at the FBS level?
Let me begin by saying that I came to Statesboro in August of 1985 , thanks to the United States Army, to teach future leaders of the Army, in the Senior ROTC Program at Georgia Southern College. It was electric that Summer and into Fall because of the football program starting to play 1AA level competition (FCS). I met Erk Russell in the Hanner field house weight room early one morning. He poked his head in the room at 6:00am to say “hi “ to the cadets working out. Erk always had time for people, and he was a walking textbook on leadership. Dale Lick was the President of the college, a visionary man who loved the college, community, and he too always had time for others. I caught the fever of football too, as so many in Statesboro had. Tracy Ham and the “Triple Option” was the most exciting football I had ever watched.
The Eagles played as an independent for the first six years. I went to the Florida State game, a game GSU almost won. They played several other 1A (FBS) teams during those early years and were always competitive. But GSU has never beaten a 1A (FBS) team. The Eagles vaulted to the top of 1AA (FCS) competition wining National Championships in 1985 and 1986. The Eagles quickly became the Alabama in the FCS level competition and were invited by the strongest league The Southern Conference to join. The Eagles earned their way into the conference.
I would prefer that they not go to the FBS level, but fear that that decision has already been made. I believe that GSU should make the move up to FBS as an independent like they did in 1985. Play Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Clemson, South Carolina and other big schools in the Southeast as their away games. Play Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Troy State, Marshall, Arkansas State and other 1A schools in the Southeast that would be willing to come to Paulson Stadium to play the Eagles. Remain an independent until an ACC, Big East, or even the SEC Conference invites GSU to join.
A schedule like this will expand the fan base willing to pay the much higher prices if they can go to the ACC and SEC away games. And above all, never change the uniform and always play the “Triple Option”.
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