Back The SoCon’s Perfect Match

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The SoCon’s Perfect Match

By Kevin Thomas
SouthernPigskin.com
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Much like the Big East and others at the FBS level, the SoCon now finds itself searching for new members in order to maintain relevance and athletic supremacy amongst its fellow FCS brethren.

With the news now official that Georgia Southern and Appalachian State will be leaving the Southern Conference following next season, where will the league turn to fill the power void left by the two perrenial contenders?

Much like the Big East and others at the FBS level, the SoCon now finds itself searching for new members in order to maintain relevance and athletic supremacy amongst its fellow FCS brethren.

Gone are the national title runs of the Eagles and Mountaineers. The lore of beautiful Eagle Creek and the giant-slaying Mountaineers will soon be history.

The replacement needs to be someone that brings football credibility and someone with high championship aspirations. The answer for the Southern Conference's newfound dilemma may lie just a few hours away from the sidelines of Paulson Stadium.

Valdosta State, nestled in to the heart of the ESPN-dubbed "Titletown", aka Valdosta, GA, may provide the spark needed. The Blazer program, much like Georgia Southern, was born in the 80's and has risen to national prominence as a Division II football power. The school boasts three national championships, seven Gulf South Conference titles, and two Harlon Hill Trophy winners.

When it comes to coaching tradition, the Blazers have that too. The program boasts former head coaches Hal Mumme and Chris Hatcher. Other coaches who have earned their stripes along the famed sidlines of Cleveland field include Dana Holgorsen, Will Muschamp, Mike Leach, and Kirby Smart.

Add it all up and you get a championship caliber football program, in a football crazed town, with a great football tradition. Sounds like a recipe fit for the tastes of the Southern Conference.

Finally, the move makes sense for both parties. Outside of football, the Blazer program can boast a national title in Tennis, a Men's Final Four Appearance in basketball and a commitment to athletics department wide. In fact, the university has recently added varsity sports, such as women's soccer, that would hint at the desire to spread the athletic footprint. What better partnership than to join Titletown with the Conference of Champions.