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SoCon Weekend Primer

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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Wofford will attempt to keep Chattanooga from clinching a SoCon title this weekend.

Wofford at Chattanooga

There's a lot on the line in Finley Stadium this Saturday. Chattanooga has a chance to guarantee at least a share of the SoCon title and clinch the playoff auto-bid. Wofford is playing for its life. If the Terriers win out, they will win at least a portion of this year's conference title. And should Chattanooga slip up against Furman, Wofford could find itself with the auto-bid. Chattanooga is coming off a shockingly decisive win over another contender in Western Carolina. The Mocs will try to ride that wave of momentum into the Wofford game. It won't be an easy task, though, as Mike Ayers had an extra week to get his Terriers squad ready for their powerful opponent. Look for Chattanooga to stack the box and try to make Wofford beat them through the air. Unless Wofford is still able to impose its will with a physical running game, which will be difficult against the Mocs' stout defense, they will have needed to have spent the last two weeks expanding their playbook. It will take a heroic performance from both the offensive and defensive lines for the Terriers to have a chance. Expect another resounding victory for Chattanooga.

Prediction: 28-14 Chattanooga

Furman at Citadel

This matchup might not carry any widespread importance, but everyone enjoys a good rivalry game. This is one of the more heated rivalries across the entire conference, spawning from a deep-seated disdain and maybe even hatred in some cases. Neither team is still in contention for the conference title or the playoffs, so the least they can do is beat up on one another for four quarters and try to get bragging rights for the next year. The Citadel is fresh off its first conference win, having just beaten Mercer in a nail-biter. Furman hasn't won a game since week two, a seven-game skid culminating in a loss to lowly VMI, and it wasn't even close. The Bulldogs will run the ball down the Paladins' throat and get their second win, as well as bragging rights.

Prediction: 21-7 Citadel

Western Carolina at Samford

Western Carolina is playing to stay in contention. If Chattanooga slips up against Wofford or Furman, the Catamounts are right back in the hunt for a share of the SoCon title. Samford is pretty much out of contention, but don't be surprised if the Buldogs embrace their role as potential spoilers this week. Not that they needed any more motivation, but if Pat Sullivan's Dogs can get him the win, Sullivan will become the winningest head coach in the history of Samford football. Western Carolina is coming off a brutal loss to Chattanooga a week ago, failing to even score one point. It will interesting to see how this team responds, and it will be indicative of how resilient this squad can be. This game will come down to effectiveness on third down and turnovers. Whichever team converts more often on third down and protects the football will walk away victorious.

Prediction: 28-27 Western Carolina

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP