2016 Football, Game 10: The Citadel vs. VMI

The Citadel vs. VMI, to be played on Alumni Memorial Field at Foster Stadium in Lexington, Virginia, with kickoff at 1:30 pm ET on Saturday, November 12. The game will not be televised.

The contest will be streamed on ESPN3.com, with Wade Branner providing play-by-play and Dave Harding supplying the analysis.

The game can be heard on radio via the various affiliates of The Citadel Sports Network. WQNT-1450 AM [audio link], originating in Charleston, will be the flagship station. 

Mike Legg (the “Voice of the Bulldogs”) will call the action alongside analyst Lee Glaze.

It is also possible to listen to the action with a smartphone, using a TuneIn Radio application.

Links of interest:

– Game notes for The Citadel and VMI

SoCon weekly release

Brent Thompson’s 11/8 press conference, including comments from Cody Clark and Tyler Renew (video)

Brent Thompson’s 11/9 radio show (video)

– FCS Coaches’ Poll


– NCAA FCS selection committee rankings for November 10

– Sure, we can relive that Cam Jackson run again

– VMI’s new starting quarterback tries to lead Keydets to an upset of the Bulldogs

– Highlights of VMI’s game against Bucknell (video)

– Get well, Mike Groshon

The second week of preliminary rankings by the FCS selection committee resulted in a few changes, but by and large those adjustments did not really affect The Citadel.

Week 2  Rank School Previous (Week 1)
1 Jacksonville State 1
2 Eastern Washington 3
3 North Dakota State 4
4 James Madison 5
5 Sam Houston State 2
6 The Citadel 6
7 Chattanooga 8
8 Richmond 7
9 Central Arkansas 10
10 North Dakota NR

The biggest news was Sam Houston State dropping from #2 to #5. The Bearkats are one of two undefeated FCS teams, with The Citadel being the other. However, SHSU’s strength of schedule is weak when compared to all but one of the other top eight teams (we’ll get to the exception in a moment).

Last week, North Dakota State fans (and media members) complained vociferously after Sam Houston State was ranked ahead of the Bison. They had a point.

It is impossible to know whether or not certain members of the selection committee were influenced by the noise emanating from Fargo. I could make a good guess, though.

Of course, NDSU didn’t get everything it wanted. North Dakota State is still ranked behind Eastern Washington and Jacksonville State. The latter school’s #1 ranking continues to be a bit puzzling.

Schedule strength of the top 10 teams through last week’s games (incidentally, Samford is 2nd overall in this category):

  • Jacksonville State (schedule strength of 101st out of 124 FCS teams)
  • Eastern Washington (tied for 12th)
  • North Dakota State (3rd)
  • James Madison (35th)
  • Sam Houston State (89th)
  • The Citadel (tied for 12th)
  • Chattanooga (34th)
  • Richmond (37th)
  • Central Arkansas (82nd)
  • North Dakota (38th)

Jacksonville State is 8-1. The one defeat came at LSU, so nobody is saying that JSU should be penalized severely for its loss. However, the Gamecocks don’t play in a very strong league, and don’t have the non-conference schedule heft to match that of Eastern Washington and North Dakota State — and both of those schools also play in tougher conferences while maintaining identical 8-1 records.

Of course, some observers would note that one difference between the three schools is that Jacksonville State’s director of athletics is on the selection committee.

The Citadel is undefeated, has a significantly better strength of schedule, and also has a win over another team in the top 10 of the rankings. However, not only are the Bulldogs behind Jacksonville State, they are ranked below Sam Houston State as well. There is no legitimate reason for that to be the case.

In my opinion, The Citadel should currently be ranked in the top 4. Eastern Washington and North Dakota State should be 1-2 in some order, followed by James Madison and The Citadel in the 3-4 spots. However, unless JSU and SHSU lose, the Bulldogs are not likely to pass either one of them (particularly Jacksonville State).

This effectively means The Citadel’s seeding “ceiling” is probably #5. The difference between being seeded #5 instead of #4 could be the difference between playing at home or on the road in a potential quarterfinal game.

That would be unfortunate for The Citadel.

Earlier this week, SB Nation’s “Football Study Hall” site posted a report on tempo at the FBS level. It’s a very interesting and well-considered piece.

After I read it, I decided to take a look at pace of play in FCS. Basically, I took stats from 122 teams (for practical reasons, I didn’t include “transitional” schools Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word), and determined how quickly FCS teams have run offensive plays so far in 2016. Here are the top 20 squads:

Team (Conference) Time between plays (seconds)
Stephen F. Austin (Southland) 19.49872
Eastern Kentucky (OVC) 19.68576
Samford (Southern) 20.29769
South Dakota (MVFC) 20.86083
Sam Houston State (Southland) 21.5656
Murray State (OVC) 21.80123
Eastern Washington (Big Sky) 22.09565
Southern Utah (Big Sky) 22.11938
Southern Illinois (MVFC) 22.12278
Indiana State (MVFC) 22.34259
Dartmouth (Ivy League) 22.52891
Western Carolina (Southern) 22.53821
Eastern Illinois (OVC) 22.7168
Sacramento State (Big Sky) 22.78134
Morehead State (Pioneer) 23.02286
Montana (Big Sky) 23.18182
Marist (Pioneer) 23.25649
Princeton (Ivy League) 23.31231
Columbia (Ivy League) 23.37113
VMI (Southern) 23.48567

Stephen F. Austin’s pace is faster than all but three teams in FBS: Missouri (which is absurdly fast), Baylor, and California.

These are the 20 “slowest” teams, with Wofford taking more time between plays than any other team in FCS (only Stanford and Georgia Tech are slower at the FBS level):

Team (conference) Time between plays (seconds)
Florida A&M (Mid-Eastern) 28.66306
Youngstown State (MVFC) 28.76508
Jacksonville (Pioneer) 28.82095
Mississippi Valley St. (Southwestern) 28.88979
Robert Morris (Northeast) 29.07609
North Dakota (Big Sky) 29.10984
Presbyterian (Big South) 29.31664
San Diego (Pioneer) 29.42857
Albany (NY) (Colonial) 29.43738
Stony Brook (Colonial) 29.46168
Chattanooga (Southern) 29.56397
Tennessee Tech (OVC) 29.77833
Texas Southern (Southwestern) 30.02473
Tennessee State (OVC) 30.05179
Charleston Southern (Big South) 30.076
North Dakota State (MVFC) 30.33216
Saint Francis (PA) (Northeast) 30.35612
Delaware (Colonial) 30.87125
Wofford (Southern) 30.90445


In my FCS Playoffs primer, I mentioned this comment from the chairman of the selection committee, Brian Hutchinson, when asked by an interviewer about “Sam Houston State’s value to the committee”:

The value of Sam Houston State is that they are an 8-0 team right now [that] is averaging close to 60 points per game and close to 600 yards of [total] offense. That’s the value that people see.

As I said in that post, I hope no committee members will actually use total offense as a criterion of any real significance. Part of my concern has to do with schedule strength, of course, but style of play is also a factor.

Sam Houston State leads FCS in total offense. As you can see above, SHSU is also the 5th-fastest offense in the division, in terms of pace of play.

I think it would be more than a little ridiculous to use total offense as a marker for comparing the Bearkats to teams like Chattanooga (19th in total offense, but the 9th “slowest” team) or The Citadel (23rd in total offense, and in the bottom third in pace of play, at 27.33 seconds between plays). The latter two teams shouldn’t have their style of play held against them by a committee member who is overly impressed by raw statistics.

While I’ve got this information handy, here are pace of play rankings for the nine SoCon squads, plus a few other teams:

  • Stephen F. Austin (1st out of 122)
  • Samford (3rd)
  • Sam Houston State (5th)
  • Eastern Washington (7th)
  • Western Carolina (12th)
  • VMI (20th)
  • Mercer (27th)
  • James Madison (37th)
  • Lehigh (41st)
  • Harvard (44th)
  • Liberty (47th)
  • Kennesaw State (71st)
  • The Citadel (84th)
  • Gardner-Webb (87th)
  • East Tennessee State (91st)
  • Furman (95th)
  • Presbyterian (110th)
  • Chattanooga (114th)
  • Charleston Southern (118th)
  • North Dakota State (119th)
  • St. Francis [PA] (120th)
  • Delaware (121st)
  • Wofford (122nd)

Friday is Founders Day at VMI:

The VMI Corps of Cadets will commemorate Founders Day this Friday with a parade featuring a 17-gun salute executed by the Cadet Battery to honor VMI’s founders and the nation’s veterans.

The anniversary, which marks 177 years since 23 VMI cadets relieved the state militia and converted the state arsenal into the Institute, will also see the dedication of the recently renovated Cormack and Cocke halls at 10 and 11 a.m., respectively.

There will also be a parade at 10:30 am on Saturday.

If you’re going to the game, be sure you’re up to speed on the parking situation.

Scott Wachenheim is in his second year as VMI’s head coach. His team is 3-6 this season, 1-5 in SoCon play. That qualifies as improvement for the Keydets’ football program, given that VMI had won two games in each of the last five years.

The Keydets opened the 2016 season by dropping a 47-24 decision at Akron. VMI’s defense allowed 576 yards of total offense, but the Keydets stayed in the game, putting together two drives of 90+ yards to pull within two points as the third quarter ended.

Akron scored 21 fourth-quarter points to ice the contest. However, it was a very respectable showing by VMI against an FBS opponent.

VMI’s next game was a 17-13 victory at Morehead State. While the Keydets’ loss to Akron was encouraging, the win over the Eagles (which play football in the non-scholarship Pioneer League) was not. VMI’s offense was sluggish, but the defense kept Morehead State at bay, allowing the fewest points to a Keydets opponent in four seasons.

A third straight road game resulted in a triple overtime victory, 23-17 over Bucknell. The Keydets did not give up any points in the three OT sessions.

It was the first time VMI had won back-to-back games since 2005, and (unbelievably) the first time the program had won consecutive road games since the last game of the 1981 season and the first game of the 1982 campaign.

Back in Lexington, another overtime affair did not go the Keydets’ way. Mercer edged VMI 33-30 in a game reportedly marred by poor SoCon officiating (very surprising, I know). VMI trailed 21-7 at halftime before making a comeback, taking the lead with just 32 seconds remaining in regulation. The Keydets could not hold the lead, and then lost in OT.

VMI rebounded from that setback with a 37-7 home victory over East Tennessee State. Al Cobb threw three TD passes, and the Keydets rushed for 233 yards.

Since that game, VMI has lost four straight contests. The first of those defeats was a 55-21 loss at Samford. SU quarterback Devlin Hodges threw for 435 yards and 5 TDs, and VMI also got victimized by a pick-6.

Chattanooga then beat the Keydets 30-13. UTC rushed for 297 yards despite Derrick Craine missing the game with an injury. One of VMI’s two TDs was a 79-yard bomb from Al Cobb to Javeon Lara.

VMI returned home, but was beaten in Lexington 24-10 by Furman. The loss was a costly one for the Keydets, as Cobb suffered a shoulder injury.

Last week, VMI lost 32-29 at Western Carolina. The Keydets should have won the game, but basically handed the victory to the Catamounts with a series of miscues. Among other things:

  • VMI fumbled the opening kickoff, which was returned by WCU for a touchdown
  • The Keydets had four kicks blocked (two field goal attempts, two PATs)
  • VMI threw three interceptions
  • Western Carolina scored with 54 seconds to play on a 53-yard pass

Statistics of note for VMI:

Points/game 22.7 28.7
Rushing yardage 1056 1487
Yards/rush 3.2 4.3
Rush TDs 16 10
Passing yardage 2266 2501
Comp-Att-Int 208-330-12 210-334-6
Average/pass att 6.9 7.5
Passing TDs 11 22
Total offense 3322 3988
Total plays 663 682
Yards/play 5.0 5.8
Fumbles/lost 7/3 11/6
Penalties-pen yds 35-318 75-681
Pen yards/game 35.3 75.7
Net punt average 34.6 34.3
Time of poss/game 28:50 31:10
3rd-down conv 47/143 48/138
3rd-down conv % 32.9% 34.8%
Sacks by-yards 13-91 23-122
Red Zone TD% (22-35) 63% (23-36) 64%
  • VMI is 2nd nationally in fewest penalties per game
  • The Keydets are 84th in FCS in scoring defense and 63rd in rushing defense
  • VMI is 29th in defensive third down conversion rate
  • The Keydets are 85th in time of possession
  • VMI is 28th in passing offense

Statistics of consequence for The Citadel:

The Citadel Opp
Points/game 30.8 18.7
Rushing yardage 3366 1129
Yards/rush 5.6 4.1
Rush TDs 29 12
Passing yardage 540 1645
Comp-Att-Int 33-82-2 140-246-8
Average/pass att 6.6 6.7
Passing TDs 4 8
Total offense 3906 2774
Total plays 685 524
Yards/play 5.7 5.3
Fumbles/lost 15/6 12/7
Penalties-pen yds 43-449 38-358
Pen yards/game 49.9 39.8
Net punt average 37.3 36.6
Time of poss/game 34:37:00 25:22:00
3rd-down conv 75/151 35/110
3rd-down conv % 49.7% 31.8%
Sacks by-yards 25-165 0-0
Red Zone TD% (22-39) 56% (12-20) 60%
  • The Citadel leads the nation in rushing offense (374.0 yards/game) and is seventh in average yards/rush
  • The Bulldogs are 9th in offensive third down conversion rate
  • The Citadel is third nationally in time of possession
  • The Bulldogs are 13th in fewest penalties per game
  • The Citadel is 21st in the country in turnover margin
  • The Bulldogs are 15th nationally in defensive third down conversion rate

VMI throws the ball on 49.8% of its offensive plays from scrimmage, with 68.2% of the Keydets’ total yards coming via the air. The Keydets operate out of the spread.

Al Cobb was the preseason choice as the SoCon’s all-conference quarterback. Cobb was injured against Furman and did not play last week versus Western Carolina.

Will he play on Saturday? Cobb is not listed on the two-deep. According to an article in The Roanoke Times, he may be available.

The starter, though, will be redshirt freshman Austin Coulling (6’4″, 200 lbs.). Coulling, a native of Salem, Virginia, has played in five games this season, starting against WCU last Saturday.

For the season, he is completing 56.9% of his passes, averaging 7.5 yards per attempt, with two touchdown passes and six interceptions.

Coulling does not lack for confidence:

After hours of watching video, Coulling said he thinks there are some areas in The Citadel defense that the offense can exploit.

“There are opportunities there for us to take,” Coulling said. “As a team, if we come out with the same energy we came out with last week and execute more efficiently than we did last week and have the same running game as we had last week, I mean, anything can happen. … We can come out on top.”

Daz Palmer (5’10”, 175 lbs.) is a freshman from Norfolk who is leading the Keydets in rushing. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, with 3 rushing TDs. Palmer also has 12 receptions this season.

Wide receiver Aaron Sanders (6’2″, 190 lbs.) was a preseason all-league pick. He has 62 receptions so far this year, with two TDs. Sanders had 7 catches last year versus The Citadel; in fact, Sanders has had 7 receptions in each of his last two games against the Bulldogs (including a 165-yard receiving performance in 2014).

Fellow wideout Dane Forlines (5’10”, 190 lbs.) made the all-conference team last year as a return specialist. Forlines is a dangerous punt returner, averaging 12.9 yards last season and 9.3 yards this year in that discipline. He is second on the team in receptions, with 47 catches and one TD.

Starting tight end Ryan Swingle (6’3″, 232 lbs.) has 30 receptions and four touchdown catches this season. The former quarterback is also the holder on placekicks, and VMI is not afraid to take advantage of his versatility. He threw a 50-yard pass on a trick play against Mercer.

VMI’s projected starting offensive line averages 6’3″, 279 lbs. According to the two-deep, the offensive tackles will be flipped for the game against The Citadel.

Fifth-year senior Iyan Roseborough (6’3″, 335 lbs.) has played right tackle this season for the Keydets, but is listed as the left tackle on this week’s depth chart. Roseborough is a native of Jenkinsville, South Carolina, and graduated from Fairfield Central High School.

Redshirt freshman Cole Brummit (6’4″, 250 lbs.) made his first career start against Western Carolina at left tackle. He is listed as the right tackle this week.

VMI’s defense normally lines up in a 3-4. In last season’s contest, the Keydets were generally effective at bottling up The Citadel’s triple option attack. After Cam Jackson broke loose for a 68-yard TD on the Bulldogs’ fourth play from scrimmage, VMI did not allow another offensive TD.

The Keydets’ D is led by two active inside linebackers. Ryan Francis (6’1″, 205 lbs.) is a redshirt junior from Knoxville who had 15 tackles versus The Citadel in last year’s matchup. Allan Cratsenberg (6’3″, 220 lbs.) is a junior from Natrona, Pennsylvania; he had 11 stops against the Bulldogs in last season’s game.

The two are currently tied for the team lead in tackles, with 94 each. They have combined for 21 tackles for loss, including eight sacks.

Francis is the main pass rusher, with six of those sacks; he also has two fumble recoveries. Against Mercer, Francis also threw a pass out of a fake punt formation; it was intercepted.

Another linebacker, Alijah Robinson (6’0″, 205 lbs.) is third on the team in tackes, with 58. Robinson also has two sacks.

Cornerback Riuq Trotman (5’9″ 155 lbs.) is a sophomore from Virginia Beach who leads the Keydets in interceptions, with three.

Dillon Christopher (6’2″, 200 lbs.) is in his fourth year as a placekicker for the Keydets. He has shared kicking duties with freshman Reed King (5’9″, 150 lbs.).

Regardless of the kicker, VMI has had major problems in the kicking game this season, with nine blocked kicks — five field goal attempts, and four PAT tries.

Christopher does have a strong leg, which he employs on kickoffs.

VMI’s punter is redshirt sophomore Bill Hogan (6’1″, 225 lbs.), who can also play linebacker. He has had one punt blocked this season. Hogan was the punter for VMI when the Keydets played The Citadel last season, and did a solid job.

Jake Keith (5’10”, 190 lbs.), a freshman from Blacksburg, is the long snapper.

Odds and ends:

– The weather forecast for Saturday in Lexington, Virginia, per the National Weather Service: sunny, with a high of 52 degrees. The projected low on Saturday night is 27 degrees.

Per one source that deals in such matters, The Citadel is an 18-point favorite over VMI, with an over/under of 47.5.

Other lines involving SoCon teams: Chattanooga is a 7.5-point favorite over Wofford; Samford is a 15.5-point favorite against Mercer; Furman is a 6.5-point favorite over Western Carolina; and East Tennessee State is a 24-point favorite against Cumberland.

Gardner-Webb (now 4-6) is off this week, presumably celebrating its stunning victory at Charleston Southern last Saturday. North Carolina (7-3) was upset by Duke 28-27 on Thursday night.

– Massey Ratings: The Citadel is ranked 4th in FCS (moving up one spot from last week, the second consecutive week the Bulldogs have crept up one position). VMI is ranked 69th.

Massey projects The Citadel to have a 93% chance of winning, with a predicted final score of The Citadel 34, VMI 13.

Other FCS rankings in Massey of note: Chattanooga (8th), Samford (12th), Wofford (19th), Mercer (41st), Gardner-Webb (46th), Furman (47th), Western Carolina (64th), East Tennessee State (82nd).

The top ten in Massey’s rankings, in order: North Dakota State, Eastern Washington, Jacksonville State, The Citadel, Central Arkansas, South Dakota State, Youngstown State, Chattanooga, Sam Houston State, and Northern Iowa.

– VMI’s game notes roster includes 69 natives of Virginia. Other states represented on the squad: Tennessee (9), North Carolina (4), Pennsylvania (4), Georgia (3), Alabama (2), and one each from West Virginia, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Texas, Maryland, and South Carolina.

– The Citadel’s geographic roster breakdown (per the school’s website) is as follows: South Carolina (47 players), Georgia (23), Florida (9), North Carolina (7), Alabama (4), Pennsylvania (4), Texas (4), and one each from Louisiana, Maryland, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nevada, and West Virginia.

– VMI concludes its season next week at Wofford.

– FBS opponents for VMI in future seasons include Toledo and Old Dominion in 2018; Army in 2019; and North Carolina State in 2023.

– On The Citadel’s two-deep this week, Evan McField is listed as the #2 B-back, with Isiaha Smith not listed on the depth chart. That is the only change from last week’s two-deep.

– Game notes factoid of the week: The Citadel has rushed for at least 400 yards in five games this season, tying the school’s single-season record. Those five games: North Greenville (559 yards, the most by an FCS school in a game so far in 2016), Western Carolina (513), Samford (463), East Tennessee State (427), and Gardner-Webb (419).

– With its victory over Samford on Saturday, The Citadel won its fifth consecutive Homecoming game. The Bulldogs won their fifth straight Parents’ Day game earlier in the season when they defeated Chattanooga.

The ten consecutive “celebration” victories are a modern-day school record. The Citadel had never won eight straight such games prior to the current run.

– The original cost of the Silver Shako (which was created in 1976) was $532.72.

– More than 40 players (and a few coaches) from VMI’s 1981 team will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s game. That Keydets squad beat Army and Virginia Tech, finishing with a 6-3-1 record. VMI has not had a winning season since that year.

On his radio show, Brent Thompson was asked about resting starters, trying to avoid injuries, etc., given that The Citadel has clinched a playoff spot. Thompson’s response:

It’s a loser’s mentality, there’s no doubt about that. You don’t go out there worrying about which guys are going to get hurt and who’s going to do this, and who’s going to do that. We’re going to go out there and play the game, and play the game to win. There’s a game on our schedule, it’s assigned to us, and we’re going to…go out there and give it our best. It doesn’t really matter who it is, whether it’s this week or next week…we’re going to try to play it, and try to play it to win it. If there are injuries…that’s part of the game and we can’t concern ourselves with that.

Thompson also noted that the offense did not play well against VMI last season, and wants to see improvement this year.

The coach also mentioned the importance of getting a bye for the FCS playoffs. If the Bulldogs want to seriously contend for the national title, they almost certainly need to be a seeded team, and receive the bye that goes with that designation.

A loss to VMI would almost certainly end The Citadel’s chance at a bye. Conversely, the game against North Carolina in two weeks will probably not be a factor in The Citadel’s postseason placement, unless the Bulldogs perform well in that contest.

The Citadel has been a member of the Southern Conference since 1936. In all that time, the football team has never finished undefeated in league play.

Along with the outright SoCon title, and a tenth straight victory, the opportunity to finish undefeated in the conference would be reason enough for the Bulldogs to want this game very badly. They don’t really need another reason, however.

This is the Military Classic of the South.

It will be a fierce contest. VMI will come ready to play on Saturday. The Citadel must respond in kind, and with even greater ferocity.

The coveted Silver Shako is at stake, the greatest trophy in all of sports.

The Bulldogs have to do whatever it takes to keep it, and bring it back to Charleston, where it belongs.

During the 2016 season, what teams will the Bulldogs’ opponents play before (and after) facing The Citadel?

That’s right, it’s time for the annual July topic. In this post, I take a look at football schedules, and note which teams The Citadel’s opponents face before and after playing the Bulldogs. Sometimes, of course, the answer is “bye”.

Let’s review…

September 1 (Thursday): The Citadel’s first game of the season is a road conference matchup with Mercer. The game will be played on Thursday night, the first time I can recall the Bulldogs not opening the season on a Saturday.

As the opener for both teams, obviously neither will have faced a prior opponent this year. Mercer’s last game was a 47-21 home loss to Samford to close out the 2015 campaign.

After playing The Citadel, the Bears will prepare for another triple option team — Georgia Tech. It will be the first time the schools have met on the gridiron since 1938 (and the first game for Mercer against an FBS opponent since it restarted its football program in 2013).

September 10: Furman makes the trip to Charleston to face the Bulldogs. The Paladins open their 2016 season on Friday night (September 2), travelling to East Lansing for a meeting with Michigan State (the first time Furman has ever played a Big 10 team in football).

The Paladins’ home opener is on September 17, versus Chattanooga. It is the only one of FU’s first four games that will take place in Greenville, as Furman will play at Coastal Carolina on September 24.

September 17: The Citadel makes the journey to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, for a Bulldogs-vs.-Bulldogs battle.

It will be Gardner-Webb’s only home game in the month of September. The Runnin’ Bulldogs open with road games at Elon and Western Carolina before playing The Citadel, and will venture into the world of the MAC on September 24 for a contest against Ohio.

September 24: This is the open week for The Citadel. I’ll be on vacation myself. No, that isn’t a coincidence.

October 1: The Bulldogs will be in Cullowhee on the first day of October, tangling with Western Carolina. Both teams will be coming off a bye week.

WCU plays East Tennessee State in Johnson City on September 17. The game against The Citadel will be the first of two straight home contests for the Catamounts, as they play Wofford on October 8.

Western Carolina has FBS bookends on its schedule this year. WCU opens its season with a game versus East Carolina. There will be plenty of purple in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that night.

The Catamounts will conclude regular-season action with a trip to Columbia for an SEC-SoCon Challenge game against South Carolina. Will the local alt-weekly refer to the game as a “cupcake” matchup? I’m guessing it will not.

October 8: After almost a month away from Johnson Hagood Stadium, The Citadel returns home for a Parents’ Day game against North Greenville.

The Crusaders are at home on October 1, facing Mars Hill. After playing The Citadel, the next game for North Greenville is a road matchup versus Tusculum.

October 15: The Bulldogs play Chattanooga in Charleston on this date. The Mocs are at home for both their prior game (Mercer) and the contest that follows (VMI).

After playing eight SoCon games in nine weeks, Chattanooga finishes its regular season campaign with a non-conference clash against Alabama.

October 22: The Citadel faces Wofford in Spartanburg. The Terriers have a bye on October 15. The week following the game against the Bulldogs, Wofford hosts Mercer.

The Terriers open the season with two road games. Wofford plays Mississippi in the second of those contests.

October 29: The Bulldogs play East Tennessee State in the next-to-last home game of the season. The Buccaneers don’t have a bye the week before, but will get a couple of extra days of preparation, as ETSU hosts West Virginia Wesleyan on Thursday, October 20.

East Tennessee State is at Mercer the week following its trip to Johnson Hagood Stadium. ETSU finishes the season with two home games, against Cumberland (yes, the Cumberland of 222-0 fame) and Samford.

November 5: Samford is the Homecoming opponent for The Citadel this year. With the possible exception of Furman, none of the military college’s other opponents has a tougher task the week prior to facing The Citadel. Samford has a matchup at Mississippi State on October 29.

On November 12, Samford holds its own Homecoming game against Mercer.

November 12: The battle for the coveted Silver Shako resumes once again on November 12, this time in Lexington, Virginia. VMI plays at Western Carolina the week before, and concludes its regular season with a game at Wofford the week following this game.

November 19: There will be lots of light blue in Chapel Hill on November 19, as The Citadel comes to town to face North Carolina. The Tar Heels are at Duke on November 12, and have another rivalry game the following week, versus North Carolina State (with that game taking place on the Friday following Thanksgiving Day).

A couple of observations about the schedule:

– Mercer wound up as a de facto “travel partner” of sorts for The Citadel this season. The Bears play Chattanooga the week before the Bulldogs do. Following that, there are three consecutive weeks in which a team will play Mercer the week after playing The Citadel (those three squads being Wofford, East Tennessee State, and Samford).

– As far as “option preview” situations are concerned…

Western Carolina and VMI both face Wofford the week after playing The Citadel. Only two league teams (Samford and East Tennessee State) play Wofford before matchups with The Citadel; both play the Terriers several weeks before meeting the Bulldogs.

North Carolina will play Georgia Tech two weeks before hosting The Citadel in Chapel Hill. North Greenville has a meeting with Lenoir-Rhyne a few weeks before playing The Citadel, but L-R (which has a new head coach) is moving to a more balanced offense after several years running the triple option.

Football season is getting closer…

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 4 — Coach of the Year

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Head coaches not listed on the TSA watch list are also ineligible for post-season honors. However, TSA’s unique appeals process for players also applies to any SoCon head coach not on the watch list.

Without further ado, here is the TSA watch list for the SoCon Coach of the Year for 2016. Congratulations to all the coaches who were selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the offensive, defensive, and special teams watch lists.)

Link to watch lists — offense

Link to watch lists — defense

Link to watch lists — special teams


Bobby Lamb Mercer
Brent Thompson The Citadel
Bruce Fowler Furman
Carl Torbush ETSU
Chris Hatcher Samford
Mark Speir W. Carolina
Mike Ayers Wofford
Russ Huesman Chattanooga
S. Wachenheim VMI

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 3 — Special Teams

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Without further ado, here are the TSA watch lists for the SoCon’s special teams standouts. Congratulations to all the players who were selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the offensive and defensive teams watch lists, and the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year Watch List.)

Link to watch list — offense

Link to watch list — defense

Link to watch list — Coach of the Year, Southern Conference

Long Snappers

Adam Mullins LS RSo. ETSU
Alec Hulmes LS SR Samford
C. Addertion LS RS SR W. Carolina
C. McDonough LS FR W. Carolina
Chase Zeegers LS FR Samford
Dustin Nickle LS RFr. ETSU
Emory Norred LS Jr. Chattanooga
Evan Vaughn LS Fr. Furman
Jackson Wetherby LS RS FR W. Carolina
Jake Keith LS Fr. VMI
John Garrett Abernathy LS JR Mercer
Lee Riley LS So. The Citadel
Lewis Freeman LS FR Samford
Patrick Keefe LS So. The Citadel
Ross Hammond LS So. Wofford
Steven Nixon LS FR Mercer
Tanner Dillard LS So. Chattanooga


Christian Stewart K FR WCU
Cody Clark K Sr. The Citadel
Cole Fisher K FR Mercer
Colin Brewer K Fr. Chattanooga
David Marvin K Jr. Wofford
Dillon Christopher K Sr. VMI
Grant Reynolds K FR Mercer
Henrique Ribeiro K Sr. Chattanooga
Jacob Godek K Fr. The Citadel
Jagger Lieb K SO Mercer
Jake Poczobut K Fr. ETSU
Jeremiah Norman K RFr. VMI
JJ Jerman K So. ETSU
Jody Purnell K FR Samford
Joe DeFatta K RSo. ETSU
Joe Difilippo K Fr. Furman
Jon Croft Hollingsworth K So. Furman
Landon Kunak K RFr. ETSU
Logan Howard K SO WCU
Luke Carter K R-Fr. Wofford
Luke Morris K FR Samford
Marion Watson K So. ETSU
Mark Holtgrave K FR Samford
Nathan Geis K FR Samford
Reece Everett K SO Samford
Reed King K Fr. VMI
Tommy Smith K So. VMI
Tyler Zielenske K JR Mercer
Warren Handrahan K JR Samford


Austin Barnard P SO Samford
Bill Hogan P RSo. VMI
Brian Sanders P Sr. Wofford
David Marvin P Jr. Wofford
Destry Barnwell P JR WCU
Ian Berryman P RS SO WCU
Jacob Godek P Fr. The Citadel
Jake Poczobut P Fr. ETSU
Joe DeFatta P RSo. ETSU
Jon Croft Hollingsworth P So. Furman
Luke Carter P R-Fr. Wofford
Reed King P Fr. VMI
Rob East P JR Mercer
Seth Hinton P Sr. VMI
Tommy Smith P So. VMI
Will Vanvick P Sr. The Citadel

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 2 — Defense

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Without further ado, here are the TSA watch lists for the SoCon’s defensive positions. Congratulations to all the players who were selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the offensive and special teams watch lists, and the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year Watch List.)

Link to watch lists — offense

Link to watch lists — special teams

Link to watch list — Coach of the Year, Southern Conference

Defensive Linemen

A.J. Stokes DL Fr. The Citadel
Adam Wawrzynski DL R-Fr. The Citadel
Ahmad Gooden DL FR Samford
Alex Nolan DL Jr. Wofford
Alfred Brown DL FR Samford
Andre Newton DL FR Samford
Andrew Mayton DL RS JR Western Carolina
Anthony Eads DL FR Samford
Anthony Perella DL JR Mercer
Austin Barrett DL SO Mercer
Austin Rowan DL Fr. ETSU
Austin Wysor DL FR Mercer
Avery Worsham DL SR Western Carolina
Blake Jones DL FR Mercer
Boston Bryant DL Sr. Wofford
Brad Minter DL Jr. Furman
Brad Noble DL SR Samford
Bradley Carter DL So. The Citadel
Brandon Bourk DL Jr. Chattanooga
Brandon Curtis DL Jr. Wofford
Brandon Zamary DL So. Wofford
Brian Ross DL R-Jr. Furman
Caleb Hester DL So. The Citadel
Carew Alvarez DL So. Wofford
Chinedu Okonya DL R-Fr. Furman
Chris Boudreaux DL Sr. Wofford
Chris Bouyer DL So. ETSU
Chris Washington DL Fr. Furman
Cody Jones DL JR Mercer
Colt Jenkins DL RSo. ETSU
Connor Jackson DL R-Fr. Furman
D.J. Prather DL Jr. Chattanooga
Daniel Nash DL SR Western Carolina
DeAndre Thornton DL R-So. Furman
Destin Guillen DL FR Mercer
Devon Johnson DL RFr. ETSU
Dillon Vann DL Fr. Furman
Dorian Kithcart DL FR Mercer
Emeka Ikezu DL SO Samford
Ezavian Dunn DL JR Western Carolina
F. Charles DL RJr. ETSU
Fred Mooring DL SR Western Carolina
Hawk Schrider DL So. Chattanooga
Holden Edwards DL FR Western Carolina
Horace Roberts DL FR Samford
Hudson Brett DL FR Mercer
Ian Hayes DL Fr. Chattanooga
Isaiah Mack DL So. Chattanooga
J.C. Garvin DL RSr. VMI
Jake Helms DL FR Western Carolina
Jake Kingree DL JR Samford
Jalen Penn DL SO Mercer
Ja’Lon Williams DL R-Fr. The Citadel
James Stone DL Sr. Chattanooga
Jared Holloway DL JR Samford
Jarrod Richmond DL RFr. VMI
Jason Maduafokwa DL RFr. ETSU
Jay Gibbs DL RS FR Western Carolina
Jaylan Reid DL R-Fr. Furman
Joe Crochet DL Sr. The Citadel
Joe Dossett DL So. ETSU
Joe Pittman DL RFr. ETSU
John Mobley DL RSo. VMI
Jonah Tibbs DL Fr. Furman
Jonathan King DL Jr. The Citadel
Jordan Harris DL Fr. Furman
Jordan Hawkins DL Jr. Furman
Jose Casanova DL SR Samford
Joseph Randolph II DL Fr. The Citadel
Justin Foster DL FR Samford
Justin King DL Sr. Chattanooga
Justin Minick DL SR Samford
Keionta Davis DL Sr. Chattanooga
Kelly Brooks DL JR Mercer
Ken Allen DL So. The Citadel
Kevin Graham DL So. The Citadel
Khayyan Edwards DL Fr. Chattanooga
Marvin Davis DL JR Mercer
Matt DeGraffinreed DL RS SR Western Carolina
Mikel Horton DL Fr. Wofford
Miles Brown DL So. Wofford
Mitchell Smith DL JR Samford
Myreon Bennett DL RS FR Western Carolina
Nasir Player DL RFr. ETSU
Nick Collins DL JR Mercer
Noah Dawkins DL So. The Citadel
Olajuwon Pinkelton DL Fr. ETSU
Robbie Armstrong DL Fr. Wofford
R. Donaldson DL JR Samford
Royce Turnbull DL RJr. ETSU
Ryan Clark DL Fr. VMI
Sam Parker DL Sr. The Citadel
Seth Mallory DL RSr. VMI
Shavon Henderson DL RSo. VMI
Sheldon Kinard DL RS JR Western Carolina
Steven Cornellier DL Jr. Wofford
T.J. Warren DL R-Jr. Furman
Tahjai Watt DL RS JR Western Carolina
Tashion Singleton DL GS Western Carolina
Taylor Reynolds DL Jr. Chattanooga
Telvin Jones DL Fr. Chattanooga
Terrell Woods DL JR Samford
Thad Mangum DL R-Fr. Wofford
Thad Stevenson-Panchisin DL RFr. VMI
Toney Benson DL Jr. Wofford
Tony Zaffore DL So. Chattanooga
Travis Johnson DL Jr. The Citadel
Tra’von Ricketts DL RS FR Western Carolina
Tremond Ferrell DL So. ETSU
Tre’Von White DL So. The Citadel
T. Jachimowicz DL Jr. Chattanooga
Tunde Ayinla DL JR Mercer
Tyler Junius DL JR Western Carolina
Tyler Vaughn DL Jr. Wofford
Vantrel McMillan DL Sr. Chattanooga
Xavier Forrest DL SO Samford
Xavier Greenfield DL Jr. VMI
Zachary Greene DL RS SO Western Carolina
Zack Baker DL RSo. VMI
Zack Lockhart DL Fr. VMI


Aaron Harris LB FR Samford
Alec Happel LB FR Samford
Alijah Robinson LB Sr. VMI
Allan Cratsenberg LB Jr. VMI
Andrew Birkmire LB FR Western Carolina
Austin Chapman LB SO Samford
Austin Gatewood LB RSo. ETSU
Austin Howard LB Fr. ETSU
Austin Mosier LB RFr. ETSU
Bill Hogan LB RSo. VMI
Billy Hinton LB So. Wofford
Blake Bockrath LB Fr. ETSU
Brad Lipscomb LB RSr. VMI
Brandon Brown LB Fr. Wofford
Brian Lipscomb LB RSo. VMI
Byron Johnson LB Jr. Furman
Caleb Lindsey LB Sr. VMI
Campbell Jackson LB R-Fr. Wofford
Carl Rider LB R-Jr. Furman
Carter McManes LB SO Samford
Chris Seaborn LB JR Western Carolina
Cj Kleckley LB JR Mercer
Clark Dupree LB FR Samford
Cody Bennett LB So. Chattanooga
Cody Floyd LB So. The Citadel
Cody Peregoy LB RFr. VMI
C. Cunningham LB RS SR Western Carolina
Colton Clemons LB Jr. Wofford
Colton Lakes LB Fr. ETSU
Connor Riddle LB Fr. VMI
Corey Lockett LB JR Mercer
Cory Carter LB FR Samford
Dale Warren LB Jr. Chattanooga
D’Andre Belton LB RS SO Western Carolina
Daniel Riddle LB RS JR Western Carolina
Darnell Ashton LB Sr. VMI
Daryl Vining LB Jr. Wofford
Datavious Wilson LB Fr. Wofford
Deion Pierre LB SO Samford
Denzel Wright LB Fr. The Citadel
Derek Slaughter LB SR Samford
Derek Wilson LB RFr. VMI
Devin Davidson LB JR Mercer
Dillon Woodruff LB R-So. Furman
D. Perryman LB Fr. Furman
D. Copeland LB Sr. The Citadel
Dorsett Johnson LB FR Samford
Dru Seabrook LB Fr. Furman
Dylan Weigel LB RSo. ETSU
Dylan Young LB Jr. Wofford
Elliott Brewster LB Fr. VMI
Emory McKenzie LB Fr. Furman
Garrett Hicks LB R-Fr. Wofford
Gregory Pappas LB Jr. The Citadel
Isaiah Buehler LB FR Mercer
Israel Battle LB Jr. The Citadel
J.C. Coy LB Fr. VMI
Jack Raines LB FR Mercer
Jacob Powell LB R-Fr. Furman
Jake Brooks LB FR Mercer
Jake Massey LB FR Samford
J. Donahue LB RFr. VMI
JD Griffin LB Fr. ETSU
Jeremy Samuels LB Fr. The Citadel
Jerod Walls LB RS FR Western Carolina
Jerry Langan LB Jr. Furman
Jireh Wilson LB Fr. Wofford
John Patterson LB Jr. Wofford
Jonathan Baker LB Fr. VMI
Jonathan Mooney LB JR Samford
Jonathan Ward LB FR Mercer
Jordan Thomas LB R-Fr. The Citadel
Josh Bennett LB JR Mercer
Josh Killett LB SR Samford
Justin Cooper LB SR Samford
Kahlil Mitchell LB So. ETSU
Kendall White LB JR Western Carolina
K. Wilson LB Fr. Chattanooga
Kuony Deng LB Fr. VMI
Kyle Trammell LB SO Mercer
Kyle Vails LB RS JR Western Carolina
Kyle Williams LB SO Mercer
Lee Bennett LB SO Mercer
Lincoln Stewart LB Sr. Wofford
Luke Davis LB Fr. Chattanooga
Michael Bean LB Fr. Chattanooga
Michael Minder LB RS FR Western Carolina
M. Rainwater LB JR Mercer
Michael Roach LB Jr. Wofford
Michael Wagner LB JR Mercer
Mitchell Chancey LB SO Western Carolina
Myles Pierce LB Jr. The Citadel
Najee Lawrence LB Fr. VMI
Nakevion Leslie LB Sr. Chattanooga
Nathan Sanders LB So. Wofford
Neil Monaghan LB So. Wofford
Phil Davis LB R-Fr. The Citadel
P. Whitehead LB Fr. ETSU
Quinlan Washington LB So. The Citadel
Raleigh Webb LB Fr. The Citadel
River Boruff LB RSo. ETSU
Russell Hubbs LB So. The Citadel
Ryan Francis LB RJr. VMI
Shaheed Salmon LB SO Samford
Spencer Brien LB RSo. ETSU
T.J. Jenkins LB Jr. Chattanooga
Terrance Morris LB Jr. Wofford
Tevin Floyd LB Sr. The Citadel
Tim Whatley LB So. Chattanooga
Tonne Osaigbovo LB JR Samford
Tony Richardson LB Jr. VMI
Tosin Aguebor LB JR Mercer
Tradd Deaver LB R-Fr. The Citadel
Travonte’ Easley LB FR Mercer
Trey Nelson LB Jr. The Citadel
Trey Quillin LB RSo. ETSU
Tripp Patterson LB JR Mercer
Troy Barden LB RJr. VMI
Tyler Fedison LB RFr. VMI
Tyler Queen LB FR Samford
Tyler Voyles LB Fr. Furman
Tyler Ward LB JR Mercer
Tyreik Lyles LB So. Wofford
Tyson Dickson LB SR Western Carolina
Weston Rountree LB So. Wofford
Will Coneway LB FR Mercer
Za’Von Whitaker LB R-Fr. The Citadel

Defensive Backs

A.J. Newman Jr. DB JR WCU
Aaquil Annoor DB Fr. Furman
Aaron Avant DB JR Mercer
Adekunle Olusanya DB R-So. Furman
Adrian King DB Fr. Chattanooga
Alex Avant DB SR Mercer
Alex Burch DB Fr. Furman
Alex Keys DB RSr. VMI
Alonzo Francois DB RSo. ETSU
A. Heyward DB RFr. ETSU
Andy Nichols DB JR Mercer
A. Simpson DB FR Samford
Aron Spann III DB So. The Citadel
Ben Roberts DB Jr. The Citadel
Bobby Gibbs DB RS SO WCU
B. Meccariello DB R-Fr. Furman
Bradley Lythgoe DB Fr. VMI
Brandon Coney DB FR Mercer
Brandon Gurley DB FR Mercer
Bryan Okeh DB Fr. Furman
Bryce Suber DB RFr. ETSU
Bryce Wilson DB RS FR WCU
C.J. Fritz DB So. Chattanooga
C.J. Toomer DB SO Samford
Carl Cunningham Jr. DB So. The Citadel
Cedric Nettles DB Sr. Chattanooga
C. Steverson DB Fr. The Citadel
Charlie Jackson DB RFr. ETSU
Chaz Claunch DB SO Samford
Chris Armfield DB Sr. Wofford
Chris Howard DB RFr. ETSU
C. Gibson DB RFr. ETSU
Christian Stark DB FR Samford
C. Waddell DB Fr. VMI
Cody Brooks DB JR Samford
Cole Higbie DB Jr. Wofford
Curt Nixon DB R-Fr. The Citadel
Curtis Roach DB FR WCU
D.J. Williams DB Fr. Chattanooga
Damian Jones DB RSr. VMI
Daren Ardis DB Jr. ETSU
Darron Paschal DB Fr. Wofford
Dee Delaney DB Jr. The Citadel
D. Cortner DB FR WCU
Devin Watson DB So. Wofford
D. Redwood DB Fr. Wofford
D. Williams DB So. ETSU
D. Lemon DB So. Wofford
Donovan Franks DB R-So. Furman
E. Stawowczyk DB RSo. VMI
Emerson Brooks DB FR Samford
Eric Jackson DB FR Mercer
Fred Payne DB SR WCU
G. Sutherland DB RSo. VMI
George Gbesee DB R-Fr. Wofford
Graham Massey DB So. Wofford
Greg Sanders DB Jr. VMI
Jabari Scruggs DB JR Mercer
Jack Jones DB RSo. ETSU
Jackson Trawick DB Jr. ETSU
Jacob Finerty DB RS FR WCU
Jacque Evangelister DB Fr. Furman
Jaleel Green DB Sr. Wofford
J. Williams DB Jr. Wofford
J. Milliken DB R-Jr. Furman
J. Blount DB JR Samford
Jamond Glass DB FR Samford
Jarek Taylor DB FR Samford
J. Williams DB Fr. ETSU
Jaylon Harden DB Fr. Furman
Jeremy James DB SO Mercer
Jeremy Lewis DB Fr. ETSU
Jevon Gooden DB Jr. ETSU
J. Robinson DB FR Mercer
Joe Farrar DB R-Fr. Furman
John Brannon III DB FR WCU
John Patrick DB Fr. Furman
JoJo Tillery DB So. Wofford
Jon Strozyk DB RJr. VMI
Jordan Willis DB Fr. Furman
Josh Kimberlin DB SR Samford
K.J. Roper DB Fr. Chattanooga
Kaelin Snead DB Fr. VMI
Kailik Williams DB Jr. The Citadel
Kaleb Tucker DB Fr. VMI
Karee Carter DB So. VMI
Kavajae Ellis DB Fr. Furman
Keanu James DB So. ETSU
Keion Crossen DB JR WCU
Kevin Ferguson DB RFr. ETSU
Khafari Buffalo DB R-Fr. The Citadel
L. Bailey DB SO Mercer
Lendell Arnold DB JR Mercer
Le’Vonte Larry DB Fr. Chattanooga
Lucas Webb DB Jr. Chattanooga
Luke Cuneo DB R-Fr. Furman
Luke Stokes DB FR Samford
M. Herrington DB Fr. ETSU
Malik Diggs DB Sr. The Citadel
Malik Rivera DB So. Wofford
Marvin Tillman DB SO WCU
Mason Alstatt DB Fr. Wofford
Matt Azemar DB SO Samford
M. Nicholson DB Sr. VMI
Michael Murphy DB FR WCU
M. Sarafianos DB Jr. Wofford
M. Williams DB RSo. VMI
Mike Gray DB JR Mercer
Mikey White DB SO WCU
Montrell Pardue DB So. Chattanooga
Nathan Peeples DB So. The Citadel
Nevin Harton DB JR Mercer
Nick Barton DB FR Samford
Nick Miller DB Jr. Furman
Nick Payne DB Fr. ETSU
Nick Ward DB Jr. Wofford
Omari Williams DB SO Samford
Patrick Wells DB Fr. Furman
Paul Hunter DB Jr. ETSU
Pete Reed DB RJr. VMI
Phil Barrett DB Fr. The Citadel
Quandarius Weems DB Fr. Furman
Richard Hayes III DB Jr. Furman
R. Charles DB FR Samford
Ryan Powers DB Sr. ETSU
Ryan White DB SO Samford
Sam Pettway DB SO Samford
Scott Frazier DB RJr. VMI
Sean Dumas DB Fr. The Citadel
Sean McMahan DB Fr. Chattanooga
Sean Rusnak DB R-Fr. Furman
Sebastian Hicks DB JR Mercer
Shamon Elliott DB FR WCU
Shane Samuels DB RS JR WCU
Shy Phillips DB Jr. The Citadel
Stephen Gibbs DB FR Samford
Stephen Houzah DB FR Mercer
Stuart Smith DB R-Fr. Furman
S. Brown DB JR Mercer
Tae Davis DB Jr. Chattanooga
Tavian Lott DB Sr. ETSU
Tavon Lawson DB Jr. Chattanooga
Thomas Brown DB R-Jr. Furman
T. DeGrange DB FR Samford
Tony Mitchell DB Fr. ETSU
Tony Welch DB RSo. ETSU
T. Winton DB RSo. ETSU
Tra Hardy DB JR WCU
Trevor Wright DB Jr. Chattanooga
Trey Gowan DB Fr. ETSU
Trey Morgan DB SR WCU
Trey Robinson DB Jr. Furman
Tyler Jackson DB R-Fr. The Citadel
Tyriuq Trotman DB So. VMI
Tyus Carter DB Jr. The Citadel
Ulysses Strawter DB Fr. Wofford
Uzoma Kpaduwa DB RFr. VMI
Zach Jackson DB JR Mercer

For Immediate Release: TSA Watch List for the Southern Conference (SoCon), Part 1 — Offense

Today, TSA announced its watch lists for the 2016 SoCon Player of the Year and various associated positional honors, including quarterback, running back, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line, linebacker, defensive secondary, kicker, punter, and long snapper. The watch lists will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of league teams. There will also be a watch list for the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year.

TSA is a member of the Global American College Football Awards Consortium (GACFAC), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. GACFAC is the standard-bearer for tradition-selection excellence.

The membership of TSA unveils the preseason watch lists in a series of four releases, one for offensive players, one for defensive players, one for special teams stalwarts, and one for coaches. All players listed are eligible for TSA’s SoCon Player of the Year, as well as honors for each of their respective positional categories.

Players not listed on any TSA watch list are ineligible for any post-season honors. However, TSA has a unique appeals process by which a player not on a watch list can be nominated for a special exemption. Any players granted such an exemption will be named to their respective TSA late-season watch lists for each positional category, and would become eligible for league player of the year as well.

Without further ado, here are the TSA watch lists for the SoCon’s offensive positions. Congratulations to all the players selected.

(As noted earlier, other releases will feature the defensive and special teams watch lists, and the TSA SoCon Coach of the Year Watch List.)

Link to watch lists — defense

Link to watch lists — special teams

Link to watch list — Coach of the Year, Southern Conference


Al Cobb QB RJr. VMI
Albert Mitchell QB SO Samford
A. Bennifield QB Jr. Chattanooga
Alex Matthews QB JR Samford
Austin Coulling QB RFr. VMI
Austin Herink QB RSo. ETSU
Avery Armstrong QB Fr. Furman
Bishop George QB Fr. VMI
Brad Butler QB Jr. Wofford
Brandon Goodson QB Jr. Wofford
Brandon Rainey QB Fr. The Citadel
Carson Barnett QB SR Samford
David Howerton QB Jr. Wofford
Devlin Hodges QB FR Samford
Dominique Allen QB Jr. The Citadel
Drew Pederson QB SO Samford
Duncan Hodges QB Fr. VMI
Dylan Wieger QB RFr. ETSU
Evan Jacks QB Sr. Wofford
Harris Roberts QB R-Fr. Furman
Jake Allen QB FR Mercer
Jake Paladino QB RFr. VMI
Jalen Lampkin QB So. The Citadel
Jes Sutherland QB FR Samford
Joe Newman QB Fr. Wofford
John Mitchell QB FR Mercer
John Russ QB JR Mercer
Jordan Black QB R-Fr. The Citadel
Kalen Whitlow QB RS FR Western Carolina
Logan Bailey QB Fr. The Citadel
Luke Manning QB So. ETSU
Michael Eubank QB SR Samford
Michael Haynes QB JR Mercer
Nick Sexton QB RSo. ETSU
Nolan Beasley QB FR Western Carolina
P.J. Blazejowski QB So. Furman
Reese Hannon QB R-Jr. Furman
Reese Vita QB Fr. Furman
Ryan Burger QB Fr. ETSU
Tanner Brumby QB FR Mercer
Tucker Genal QB R-Fr. Furman
Tyler Roberson QB Jr. Chattanooga
Tyrie Adams QB RS FR Western Carolina
Wes Holcombe QB JR Western Carolina
Xavier Johnson QB So. Chattanooga

Running Backs

Alex Lakes RB SO Mercer
Alex Ramsey RB Fr. VMI
Alex Trotter RB So. Chattanooga
Andre Stoddard RB So. Wofford
Andy Riazzi RB Fr. Wofford
Anthony Preston RB SO Samford
Antonio Wilcox RB So. Furman
Artevius Smith RB RFr. ETSU
Austin Hayworth RB RSo. ETSU
Blake Morgan RB Fr. Wofford
Brice Tucker RB RSo. VMI
C.J. Goodman Jr. RB RS SR Western Carolina
Caleb Brown RB JR Mercer
Cam Jackson RB Jr. The Citadel
Chase Nelson RB Jr. Wofford
Chris Martin RB Jr. Wofford
Chris Miller RB Fr. Chattanooga
Connell Young RB FR Western Carolina
Corey Holloway RB RS SO Western Carolina
Cory Colder RB RSo. ETSU
Darius Morehead RB Fr. Furman
David Abee RB FR Samford
David Pascoe RB So. The Citadel
Dazmine Palmer RB Fr. VMI
Denzel Williams RB JR Samford
Deon Sanders RB Fr. Furman
Derrick Craine RB Sr. Chattanooga
Detrez Newsome RB JR Western Carolina
Devin Carper RB Fr. VMI
D. Spencer RB FR Western Carolina
Donovan Ward RB R-Fr. The Citadel
D. Monroe RB Fr. ETSU
Donte Maxson RB FR Mercer
Ellis Pace RB So. Wofford
Evan McField RB So. The Citadel
Falon Lee RB RJr. ETSU
Frank D’Alonzo RB FR Samford
Grant Drakeford RB So. The Citadel
Haddon Hill RB RFr. ETSU
Hunter Marshall RB RJr. VMI
H. Windham RB Jr. Wofford
Isiaha Smith RB Jr. The Citadel
Jajuan Lankford RB RSo. ETSU
Jajuan Stinson RB RSo. ETSU
Jake Wilks RB JR Samford
James Foushee RB RS SO Western Carolina
J. Chapman RB Fr. Wofford
JeTarii Donald RB JR Mercer
Jonathan Dorogy RB Jr. The Citadel
Jordan Williams RB R-Fr. The Citadel
Justin Curry RB FR Samford
Kealand Dirks RB R-Fr. Furman
K’rondis Larry RB SO Samford
Kyle Nalls RB So. Chattanooga
Kyle Vardo RB RJr. VMI
Lennox McAfee RB So. Wofford
Lorenzo Long RB Sr. Wofford
Luke Childress RB Jr. Wofford
Mason Dermott RB So. VMI
Matt Fox RB RFr. ETSU
Matt Thompson RB RFr. ETSU
Nate Pylant RB FR Mercer
Nick Colvin RB Sr. Wofford
Noah Mitchell RB R-Fr. Furman
Ostin McPherson RB Fr. Wofford
Payton Usher RB JR Mercer
Quan Myers RB So. VMI
Reggie Williams RB Jr. The Citadel
Richardre Bagley RB Jr. Chattanooga
Ridge Gibson RB R-Fr. Furman
Rod Johnson RB So. The Citadel
Roland Adams RB FR Samford
Skyler Matheson RB RS FR Western Carolina
Spencer Alverson RB R-Fr. Wofford
Stanley Robinson RB SR Samford
Tee Mitchell RB SO Mercer
Tony Drew RB RSo. ETSU
Triston Luke RB Fr. Furman
Tyain Smith RB Fr. VMI
Tyler Renew RB Sr. The Citadel
Will Gay RB Sr. Wofford

Wide Receivers

Aaron Sanders WR Sr. VMI
Adam Mitchell WR RFr. ETSU
Alec Mini WR Fr. VMI
A’lencio Graham WR R-Fr. Furman
Alex Johnson WR FR Western Carolina
Alphonso Stewart WR Jr. Chattanooga
Andrej Suttles WR R-Jr. Furman
Andrew Askew WR FR Western Carolina
Andrew Harris WR FR Samford
Andy Schumpert WR So. Furman
A. Spagnoletti WR RFr. ETSU
Armani Helligar WR So. Wofford
Austyn Hennings WR R-Fr. Wofford
Avery Ward WR SO Mercer
Bailey Rogers WR Fr. Furman
Bingo Morton WR So. Chattanooga
Brad Swan Jr. WR RS FR Western Carolina
B. Lemmons WR R-Fr. Furman
Braxton Richburg WR Fr. ETSU
Bryce Motes WR Jr. Wofford
C.J. Board WR Sr. Chattanooga
Caleb Woody WR Fr. ETSU
Cameron Scott WR Sr. The Citadel
Camiel Grant WR FR Mercer
Chad Pritchard WR Sr. ETSU
Chad Scott WR R-Jr. Furman
Chandler Curtis WR SO Mercer
Charles Johnson WR RS FR Western Carolina
Cole Cleary WR So. Wofford
Cole Staton WR SO Mercer
[Disqualified] WR N/A N/A
Dalton Ponchillia WR RJr. ETSU
Dane Forlines WR Sr. VMI
Daquan Patten WR FR Western Carolina
Darius Harvey WR FR Samford
Darius Means WR RS SO Western Carolina
Darius Tenney WR SR Mercer
Darrian Johnson WR RSr. VMI
DeAndre Schoultz WR Sr. The Citadel
D. McQuarters WR So. Chattanooga
Dijon Profit WR Fr. The Citadel
D. Wright-Linton WR Fr. Furman
Dorian Lindsey WR Fr. Wofford
Drake Powell WR So. ETSU
D’Vante Penamon WR JR Mercer
Elijah Mathes WR Fr. ETSU
E. Obajimi WR JR Samford
Evan Jager WR R-Fr. Furman
Gavin Sinclair WR SR Samford
Hank Black WR RSo. ETSU
Hunter Jacobs WR RS JR Western Carolina
Hunter Wike WR RSo. ETSU
Isaiah Gilmore WR Fr. ETSU
Isaiah Parker WR So. VMI
Jack Shoulders WR RFr. ETSU
Jacob Robinson WR RS FR Western Carolina
Jade Maher WR RSo. VMI
James Huston WR FR Samford
James Stovall WR Jr. Chattanooga
Jarred Hill WR RS JR Western Carolina
Jason Hill WR R-Fr. Wofford
Javeon Lara WR Fr. VMI
Javian Ramson WR JR Samford
Jay Gavin WR Fr. VMI
JD Tuten WR R-So. Furman
Jeff Bowens WR SO Mercer
Joey Brown WR RSo. VMI
Jordan Marshall WR JR Mercer
Jordan Mathis WR RS SO Western Carolina
Jorian Jordan WR Sr. The Citadel
Josh Jones WR JR Mercer
Josh LeBlanc WR Fr. The Citadel
Jovany Aris WR RSo. ETSU
Justin Anderson WR SO Samford
Justin Johnson WR FR Mercer
Karel Hamilton WR JR Samford
Keith Coffee WR Fr. ETSU
Kelvin McKnight WR FR Samford
Kendrick Jackson WR Fr. VMI
Kobe Kelley WR So. ETSU
Kota Nix WR So. Chattanooga
Kyle Harrell WR RJr. VMI
Lavell Ellerbe WR FR Western Carolina
Logan McCarter WR R-So. Furman
Luke Hill WR FR Samford
Malik Styles WR RSo. ETSU
Marquise Irvin WR FR Mercer
Matt Blaser WR Fr. VMI
Matt Williams WR Fr. ETSU
Merrick Mullins WR So. ETSU
R.J. Taylor WR Jr. Wofford
Randall Emerson WR RS SO Western Carolina
Rashad Riley WR Fr. The Citadel
Riley Davis WR Sr. Chattanooga
Rohan Martin WR Fr. VMI
Rudder Brown WR Sr. The Citadel
Ryan Knapp WR JR Mercer
Seth Greer WR Jr. The Citadel
S. Robinson WR RS SR Western Carolina
Steffon Hill WR SR Western Carolina
Taylor Stout WR Sr. VMI
Terryon Robinson WR RS JR Western Carolina
Thomas Gordon WR Fr. Furman
Tony Francois WR RSo. ETSU
Tyler Mitchell WR RS FR Western Carolina
Tyran Reynolds WR RS SO Western Carolina
Vaquan Small WR FR Samford
Vincent Lowe WR Jr. ETSU
Wade Smith WR Fr. Furman
Wen Burnette WR FR Samford
Whit Miller WR So. The Citadel
Wil Young WR So. Chattanooga
Will Wampler WR RFr. VMI
William Ramsey WR RS JR Western Carolina
Xavier Borishade WR Sr. Chattanooga

Tight ends

Ajay Williams TE R-Fr. Furman
Aubry Payne TE FR Western Carolina
Austin Phillips TE FR Western Carolina
Bailey Lenoir TE So. Chattanooga
Ben Cottingham TE FR Samford
Bijan Sirleaf TE FR Samford
Bryce Miller TE Fr. Chattanooga
Chad Jacob TE RJr. VMI
Chance Towery TE SO Western Carolina
Chandler Gouger TE Jr. Wofford
Chase Fisher TE FR Western Carolina
Chase Westfall TE FR Mercer
Clarke Miller TE FR Samford
Derek Owings TE JR Mercer
Devon Schmitt TE JR Samford
Duncan Fletcher TE Jr. Furman
Dylan Dockery TE So. ETSU
Eli Grambling TE JR Mercer
Grant Radakovich TE JR Mercer
Justin Gilliam TE So. ETSU
Kevin Carson TE RSo. VMI
Kevin Mall TE R-Jr. Furman
Kevin Marion TE FR Samford
Malcolm Colvin TE Jr. Chattanooga
M. Helms Jr. TE RS SR Western Carolina
Myles Taylor TE RFr. ETSU
Nic Hayes TE Fr. VMI
Nick Karas TE R-Fr. Wofford
Parrish Nichols TE FR Samford
Patrick Dolan TE Fr. VMI
Paul Leveritt TE RSo. ETSU
Riley Gessner TE Fr. Furman
Robert Brown TE JR Mercer
Roderick Poag TE RS JR Western Carolina
Ryan Swingle TE RJr. VMI
Sam Walker TE FR Mercer
Spencer McCoy TE RS FR Western Carolina
Stephen Antonelli TE RSo. ETSU
T.J. Novotny TE Jr. Wofford
Tony Philpot TE SR Samford
Trey Peppers TE FR Mercer
Troy Forrest TE SO Samford
Tyler Sexton TE SR Western Carolina
Tyler Small TE SO Samford
Zander Royston TE RFr. VMI

Offensive Linemen

Aaron Gallagher OL Unknown VMI
Alex Hooper OL Jr. Chattanooga
Alex Rios OL Jr. ETSU
Andrew Lewis OL Sr. VMI
Andrew Miles OL RS SO Western Carolina
Andy Clements OL JR Samford
Andy Godwin OL Fr. Furman
Anton Wahrby OL Sr. Wofford
Antwan Johnson OL FR Samford
A. Bonheur OL JR Samford
Asley Haynes OL RSo. ETSU
Attorney Gallman OL R-Fr. The Citadel
Austin Jacobs OL RS JR Western Carolina
Avery White OL JR Mercer
Bailey Byrum OL FR Western Carolina
Baker Richardson OL FR Samford
Ben Blackmon OL RFr. ETSU
Bennett Eibel OL FR Samford
Blake Jeresaty OL Fr. Wofford
Bo Layton OL Fr. Furman
Bradley Hann OL RSr. VMI
Bradley Way OL Sr. Wofford
Branden Parker OL So. Chattanooga
Brandon Berridge OL RS JR Western Carolina
Brent Rathbone OL RSo. ETSU
Bret Niederreither OL JR Mercer
Brett Steverson OL SO Mercer
Caleb Yates OL SO Mercer
Cameron Parker OL Fr. ETSU
Chad Mitchell OL FR Mercer
Chase Smith OL RSo. VMI
Chase Stehling OL RS SO Western Carolina
Chris Breedlove OL Fr. Furman
Chris Wade OL R-Fr. Furman
Chuck Rouse OL Jr. Wofford
Cody Cornelius OL So. ETSU
Cody Wyatt OL Fr. Furman
Cole Brummit OL RFr. VMI
Connor James OL Fr. ETSU
Connor Rafferty OL SO Samford
Corey Levin OL Sr. Chattanooga
Critt Johnson OL Fr. VMI
Dalton Sullivan OL R-Fr. Wofford
David Raschen OL JR Mercer
David Ricard OL JR Mercer
Dawson Ellis OL FR Mercer
Dequan Miller OL Sr. Wofford
Drew McEntyre OL Fr. The Citadel
Eddie Gajardo OL Fr. ETSU
Ethan James OL SR Western Carolina
Evan Horst OL Fr. Furman
Garrett Curtis OL RFr. ETSU
Garrett Smith OL JR Mercer
George Grimwade OL FR Samford
Gordon Crozier OL JR Samford
Greg McCloud OL RSo. ETSU
G. Bromelow OL SR Samford
Hal Weaver OL SO Mercer
Harrison Monk OL R-Jr. Furman
H. Naumann OL SR Samford
Hugh McFaddin OL Jr. The Citadel
Hunter Townson OL Jr. Chattanooga
Isaiah Pinson OL Jr. The Citadel
I. Roseborough OL RSr. VMI
Jack Bryant OL R-Fr. Furman
Jack Lightsey OL JR Mercer
J. Buonamia OL Jr. Furman
Jacob Conrad OL Fr. Furman
Jacob Milam OL R-Fr. Wofford
Jacob Revis OL Jr. Chattanooga
Jared Braiman OL Fr. VMI
J. Jacon-Duffy OL So. Wofford
J. Bockhorst OL Fr. Furman
J. Bolds-Lockwood OL Jr. Wofford
Jordan Veal OL RSr. VMI
Josh Andre OL Fr. VMI
Josh Burger OL Fr. Wofford
Josh Cardiello OL Jr. Chattanooga
Justin Lott OL Jr. Wofford
Justus Basinger OL R-Fr. Wofford
Kaleb Spry OL RS SO Western Carolina
K. Cadwell OL So. Chattanooga
Kevin McConnell OL RFr. ETSU
Kirby Southard OL JR Mercer
Kyle Weaver OL Sr. The Citadel
Lakin McCall OL Fr. ETSU
Liam Ronan OL R-Fr. Wofford
Malcolm White OL Fr. Chattanooga
Mark Weakland OL Fr. The Citadel
Mason McNutt OL RFr. ETSU
Matt Brewer OL RSo. ETSU
Matt Milner OL RJr. VMI
Matt Pyke OL RSo. ETSU
Matthew Bair OL FR Western Carolina
Matthew Holland OL FR Samford
Matthew Pittarelli OL FR Samford
Matthew Schmidt OL So. Furman
Max Ford OL So. The Citadel
Michael Ralph OL R-Fr. Wofford
Michael Scates OL RSo. ETSU
Mike Jones OL Jr. Wofford
Mike Rentz OL So. The Citadel
Mitch Mathes OL FR Mercer
Mitch Payne OL JR Mercer
Myles Smith OL RFr. ETSU
Nathan Dalton OL RS SO Western Carolina
Nick Jeffreys OL Sr. The Citadel
Nick Taylor OL So. Wofford
Patrick Doucette OL RJr. VMI
Patrick McFall OL RSo. ETSU
P. Howard-Whitaker OL Fr. The Citadel
Reed Kroeber OL Fr. Furman
Reid Huddleston OL FR Samford
Robert Hatcher OL SO Samford
Ronnie Brooks OL Fr. Wofford
Roo Daniels OL Jr. Wofford
Ross Demmel OL So. Wofford
Royus Amos OL JR Samford
Ryan Bednar OL Sr. The Citadel
Ryan Hughes OL JR Samford
Sam Arrington OL JR Mercer
Sammy Hall OL RJr. ETSU
Sawaar Canady OL Fr. VMI
Sean Biette OL RS SO Western Carolina
Spencer Campbell OL RS FR Western Carolina
Stanley Smith OL FR Mercer
Stephen Miller OL RJr. VMI
Sydney Martin OL So. The Citadel
Tanner Poindexter OL RS JR Western Carolina
Taylor Helton OL Fr. Chattanooga
Terrell Bush OL So. Furman
T. Marchman OL SO Mercer
Thomas Pietro OL JR Mercer
Tim Coleman OL Fr. Furman
T. Harkleroad OL So. The Citadel
Truett Moss OL FR Mercer
Tyler Davis OL So. The Citadel
Tyler Kisling OL Fr. VMI
Tyler Martin OL Fr. Chattanooga
Tyler Thacker OL RFr. VMI
Walker Hays OL RJr. VMI
Walker Lanning OL RS FR Western Carolina
Wesley Carter OL SR Samford
Will Morris OL RFr. VMI
William Matney OL FR Samford
Wilson Heres OL SR Mercer
Wyatt Burnette OL FR Western Carolina
Zac Rice OL FR Mercer
Zac Saalweachter OL RS FR Western Carolina
Zach Weeks OL RS SO Western Carolina

Preseason football ratings and rankings, featuring The Citadel (and the rest of the SoCon)

Hey, let’s look at preseason rankings and ratings!

First up, some rankings…

I went to my local Barnes & Noble to check out some preseason magazines. Not all of them include a section for FCS teams, but a few do.

The Sporting News has The Citadel in its preseason Top 25, at #21. However, TSN thinks the Bulldogs will only finish 3rd in the Southern Conference:

1 – Chattanooga (#8 in the Top 25)
2 – Wofford (#19 in the Top 25)
3 – The Citadel (#21 in the Top 25)
4 – Samford
5 – Mercer
6 – Western Carolina
7 – Furman
8 – VMI
9 – East Tennessee State

Lindy’s only has one SoCon team in its top 25 (Chattanooga is ranked 11th). The magazine’s projected conference standings look like this:

1 – Chattanooga
2 – Western Carolina
3 – Mercer
4 – The Citadel
5 – Samford
6 – Wofford
7 – Furman
8 – VMI
9 – East Tennessee State

Athlon doesn’t have an FCS section in its magazine, but its online presence does have an FCS Top 25. The Citadel is ranked 10th in that preseason poll (UTC is #7).

Last season, I started to incorporate the Massey Ratings into my weekly previews as the season progressed. For the uninitiated, a quick primer on this ratings system:

Ken Massey is a math professor at Carson-Newman whose ratings system was used (with several others) for fifteen years by the BCS. He has ratings for a wide variety of sports, but most of the attention surrounding his work has been focused on college football.

A quick introduction of the Massey Ratings, from its website:

The Massey Ratings are designed to measure past performance, not necessarily to predict future outcomes…overall team rating is a merit based quantity, and is the result of applying a Bayesian win-loss correction to the power rating.

…In contrast to the overall rating, the Power is a better measure of potential and is less concerned with actual wins-losses.

…A team’s Offense power rating essentially measures the ability to score points. This does not distinguish how points are scored, so good defensive play that leads to scoring will be reflected in the Offense rating. In general, the offensive rating can be interpretted as the number of points a team would be expected to score against an average defense.

Similarly, a team’s Defense power rating reflects the ability to prevent its opponent from scoring. An average defense will be rated at zero. Positive or negative defensive ratings would respectively lower or raise the opponent’s expected score accordingly.

…the Massey model will in some sense minimize the unexplained error (noise). Upsets will occur and it is impossible (and also counter-productive) to get an exact fit to the actual game outcomes. Hence, I publish an estimated standard deviation. About 68% of observed game results will fall within one standard deviation of the expected (“average”) result.

Preseason ratings are typically derived as a weighted average of previous years’ final ratings. As the current season progresses, their effect gets damped out completely. The only purpose preseason ratings serve is to provide a reasonable starting point for the computer. Mathematically, they guarantee a unique solution to the equations early in the season when not enough data is available yet.

In other words, preseason ratings mean very little. However, it’s July and we certainly need something to keep us going until college football season starts!

Massey rates every college football team — not just FBS and FCS squads, but D-2, D-3, NAIA, junior colleges, even Canadian schools. This season, there are preseason ratings for 923 colleges and universities.

This year, The Citadel is #113 overall in the preseason ratings. As a comparison, the Bulldogs were the preseason #174 squad last season.

As for the teams on The Citadel’s schedule:

  • Mercer — #204
  • Furman — #199
  • Gardner-Webb — #261
  • Western Carolina — #143
  • North Greenville — #312
  • Chattanooga — #106
  • Wofford — #172
  • East Tennessee State — #554
  • Samford — #149
  • VMI — #224
  • North Carolina — #24

Massey gives the Bulldogs a 5% chance of beating North Carolina. You may recall that last year’s preseason odds gave The Citadel a 1% chance of beating South Carolina. You may also recall that The Citadel finished 2016 as the transitive ACC Coastal Division champions.

One of the neat things about the Massey Ratings website is that it has matchup simulations — single games, best-of-seven series, etc. After refreshing a few times, I came up with a simulated result that favored the Bulldogs over UNC (by a 39-38 score). The average score of the simulations was 44-17 North Carolina, but I’m sure that was due to a programming error.

As for the other ten games on The Citadel’s schedule…believe it or not, the Bulldogs are currently projected to win all of them. The likelihood of that happening is remote, obviously, but it’s definitely a far cry from past prognostications.

I’ll go ahead and list the percentage chances of The Citadel winning each of those games, along with the median score, as calculated by the Massey Ratings:

  • at Mercer — 78% (30-17)
  • Furman — 87% (31-14)
  • at Gardner-Webb — 89% (27-7)
  • at Western Carolina — 56% (28-26)
  • North Greenville — 97% (41-10)
  • Chattanooga — 51% (24-23)
  • at Wofford — 66% (28-21)
  • East Tennessee State — 100% (48-3)
  • Samford — 70% (34-24)
  • at VMI — 83% (35-20)

To be honest, I’m not buying all of those ratings, even from a preseason ratings perspective.

I’m particularly dubious about the ratings for Mercer and North Greenville, and I’m not so sure about Furman’s numbers, either (I think all of them should be significantly higher). Also, Massey’s algorithm doesn’t account for SoCon officiating, especially for games played in Spartanburg.

As for FCS-only ratings, here is a list of select schools:

  • North Dakota State – 1
  • Northern Iowa – 2
  • Jacksonville State – 3
  • Illinois State – 4
  • South Dakota State – 5
  • Dartmouth – 6
  • Harvard – 7
  • Chattanooga – 8
  • Western Illinois – 9
  • Youngstown State – 10
  • The Citadel – 11
  • Southern Utah – 12
  • Richmond – 13
  • Charleston Southern – 14
  • Southern Illinois – 15
  • Montana – 16
  • Coastal Carolina – 21
  • Western Carolina – 22
  • James Madison – 23
  • William & Mary – 26
  • Samford – 27
  • Villanova – 28
  • Liberty – 34
  • Wofford – 39
  • Towson – 46
  • Furman – 49
  • Lehigh – 50
  • Mercer – 52
  • Presbyterian – 57
  • VMI – 61
  • Elon – 68
  • Delaware – 70
  • South Carolina State – 76
  • Kennesaw State – 77
  • Dayton – 81
  • Gardner-Webb – 82
  • Jacksonville – 88
  • Campbell – 102
  • Davidson – 120
  • East Tennessee State – 122
  • Mississippi Valley State – 125

The highest-rated FCS school is, naturally, North Dakota State, which checks in at #60 overall. Other schools in the “overall” list that may be of interest:

  • Alabama – 1
  • Ohio State – 2
  • Mississippi – 3
  • Stanford – 4
  • Clemson – 5
  • Arkansas – 6
  • Tennessee – 7
  • LSU – 8
  • Oklahoma – 9
  • Mississippi State – 10
  • Notre Dame – 14
  • Auburn – 17
  • Georgia – 18
  • Florida State – 20
  • Texas A&M – 22
  • Florida – 27
  • Navy – 33
  • Louisville – 35
  • Toledo – 39
  • Texas – 42
  • Miami (FL) – 46
  • Georgia Tech – 48
  • Virginia Tech – 49
  • North Carolina State – 55
  • South Carolina – 58
  • Georgia Southern – 59
  • Duke – 64
  • Virginia – 67
  • Maryland – 69
  • Vanderbilt – 70
  • Appalachian State – 71
  • Kentucky – 72
  • Northwest Missouri – 77 (highest-ranked Division II team)
  • Boston College – 78
  • Air Force – 79
  • East Carolina – 85
  • Wake Forest – 92
  • Calgary – 111 (highest-ranked Canadian team)
  • Kansas – 116
  • Army – 121
  • Idaho – 141
  • Tulane – 144
  • UCF – 154
  • Wyoming – 155
  • UTEP – 156
  • Hawai’i – 157
  • New Mexico State – 158
  • City College of San Francisco – 159 (highest-ranked junior college team)
  • Old Dominion – 161
  • Mt. Union – 175 (highest-ranked Division III team)
  • ULM – 176
  • Eastern Michigan – 181
  • North Texas – 192
  • Charlotte – 198
  • Marian (IN) – 244 (highest-ranked NAIA team)

The overall Top 10 is very SEC-heavy, similar to the MVC flavor for the FCS Top 10.

Football season is getting closer…