Only one automatic-qualifying conference is playing its regular season this spring: the Southern Conference. At mid-season, Mother Nature has taken her toll on a lot of the action in the Southern. This year, the conference has broken up into three divisions with the winner of each, and one wild-card, getting playoff spots.
Still every team has gotten at least one game in, and at this point here is how the season is shaping up in the three divisions.
Appalachian State University- (1-0 division 2-0 overall) Last year’s conference runner-up Appalachian State has started the season off very strong outscoring their opponents 149-10 in two games. They are 1-0 in the mountain division with a win over Western Carolina and 2-0 overall with a cross divisional win over UNC-Greensboro. The boys on the Mountain look primed to make a strong run for the Mountain Division, and possibly a number 1 seed going into the Southern Conference play-offs.
Furman University- (1-0 div 2-0) Furman has also started 1-0 in their division and 2-0 overall. Their first game of the season was a cross divisional game against long time rivals the Citadel. The Paladins outscored them 77-21 in a convincing win. Their next game was a Mountain Division match up against Lander University which they won 25-8. They also are positioning themselves to make a run at the Mountain division, but will have to go on the road and win at Appalachian State and Western Carolina.
Lander University- (1-1 div 1-1) Lander has played two divisional road games and is sitting at 1-1. They lost at Furman, but were able to go to Western Carolina and pull off a 35-34 victory. They still have two tough home games left on their schedule with Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina.
Western Carolina University- (0-2 div 0-2) WCU is new to the Southern Conference this year, and their first game was a rude awakening with a 101-0 loss to Appalachian State. Still, they bounced back and played Lander University to a 35-34 game the following week showing that they can compete in the Southern Conference. They have two more games to try and get a win, but neither will be easy as they travel to Elon and host Furman.
Davidson- (1-0 div 1-0) The Piedmont division has been the one affected the most by the weather, but as of now the newcomer Davidson University sits on top with a 1-0 divisional record. They received a forfeit from UNC-Charlotte as UNCC has some paperwork issues. The 20-0 win puts them on top of the division for now, but with three games left to go the new DII School has a lot of hard work in front of them.
Elon University- (1-0 div 1-0) Elon is also 1-0 in the division with an early season victory over rival UNC-Greensboro 15-14. With only playing one game Elon is already sitting a very good position in the Piedmont division. They have three more games, but two of them are against newcomers Davidson and Western Carolina. Elon has been a team that has been steadily improving, and this could be the year they make it to the playoffs.
UNC-Charlotte (0-1div 0-2) UNCC started this season with many thinking they could be a dark horse to win the conference. They finished last year by going up to Boone and winning on the road against Appalachian State, a feat that not many teams can boast. They then appeared to start off strong against Davidson, but ended in a forfeit when there were some issues with their paperwork. Their second game saw them on the road against UNC-Wilmington which they lost 44-14. Despite the 0-2 start the 49’ers could still find their way into post season play if they can win out and Davidson was to lose to either UNCG or Elon.
UNC-Greensboro (0-1 div 0-2) UNCG finds themselves in a very similar situation as UNCC. They still have a shot at returning to the playoffs this year, but they are going to have to be perfect from here on out. Their first game was a close loss to Elon 15-14 and this past weekend they lost to Appalachian State 48-10.
UNC-Wilmington (2-0 div 3-0) UNCW has gone out to a 3-0 start in the Southern Conference and are 2-0 in their division. The Seahawks have one more home match against College of Charleston, but if they can get a win there they will be set to defend their Southern Conference title. So far this year UNCW has won 11-0 at Coastal, 44-14 at home against UNCC, and 39-16 at the Citadel. The Seahawks have yet to lose a conference game in their two years in the Southern Conference.
Coastal Carolina University (1-1 div 1-1) Coastal started the season with a tough loss to UNCW 11-0. Coastal did something that no other Southern Conference team has done yet, and that was hold UNCW to only one try. Coastal then traveled to Citadel and came away with a 22-10 victory. Coastal is also in a position where they could get to the post season, but they are also going to have to be perfect from here on out.
College of Charleston (1-0 div 1-0) CofC won their first game of the season14-13 at home against the Citadel. The Cougars are looking to try and get back to post season play again this year, but have two tough road games ahead of them. They still have to travel to Coastal Carolina and UNCW, but are more than capable if they can get their hard-nosed style of play rolling again.
The Citadel (0-4 div 0-4) Citadel has actually gotten all of their conference games in this year, but was unable to get a win. The Cadets have shown marked improvement this year, and were competitive in all of their divisional games. For a program that is still in the rebuilding process they are showing some flashes of improvement, they just haven’t been able to put a complete 80 minutes together.