5/16/2018 6:55:30 AM
(STATS) - With a heavy dose of ACC and SEC opponents, the Southern Conference doesn''t shy away from playing top-notch FBS competition.
It''s resulted in the SoCon going the last two seasons without an FBS win, but the conference has 29 overall since 1982, including 12 against the ACC.
FCS programs earned nine wins last season, and as they seek to make their mark again in this year''s 111 matchups, here''s a look at the ones involving SoCon teams:
The Matchups (10) - Chattanooga: South Carolina (Nov. 17); The Citadel: Alabama (Nov. 17); ETSU: Tennessee (Sept. 8); Furman: Clemson (Sept. 1); Mercer: Memphis (Sept. 1); Samford: Florida State (Sept. 8); VMI: Toledo (Sept. 1) and Old Dominion (Nov. 17); Western Carolina: North Carolina (Nov. 17); Wofford: Wyoming (Sept. 15)
Glamour Game - The Citadel at Alabama (Nov. 17). This first-ever meeting marks the ninth time in 10 seasons that an FCS program is playing the defending FBS national champion, and it''s the third involving The Citadel (losses to Florida State in 2014 and Clemson last year). In its most recent game against an SEC program, the Bulldogs stunned South Carolina 23-22 on Nov. 21, 2015.
Upset Alert - Wofford at Wyoming (Sept. 15). This will tie for the third-farthest distance Wofford has traveled for a game. The defending SoCon champ faced Wyoming coach Craig Bohl in the 2012 FCS quarterfinals when he was at North Dakota State. Josh Conklin has succeeded Wofford legend Mike Ayers as head coach, but the Terriers will still run their patented flexbone triple option.
Notable - East Tennessee State will net a $500,000 game guarantee for its trip to Tennessee - its first FBS matchup since returning to football in 2015. Buccaneers coach Randy Sanders will make his debut one week earlier against Mars Hill. ... Furman and Clemson renew their intrastate rivalry for the 57th time, but it''s the first meeting since 2012, when Clemson won 41-7 for its 30th straight victory in the series. Furman, which trails 10-42-4 and last won in 1936, was Clemson''s first football opponent when the two schools met in Greenville on Oct. 31, 1896. ... Western Carolina and North Carolina are playing each other for the second consecutive season. UNC cruised to a 65-10 win last November. ... Mercer gets a breather after facing Auburn and Alabama last year, but Memphis is 37-15 over the last four seasons. It''s the first meeting between the programs. ... VMI is playing two FBS opponents for the first time since 2010. The Keydets are playing Toledo for the first time and are 0-2 against ODU.