Andy Davis

It's Showtime In The GSC

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The GSC showed up in their road games this past weekend and showed out with big wins!

Delta State, West Florida, and West Georgia all traveled to higher seeds from other conferences and beat them at home. Pretty impressive.

The Statesmen went up big and then saw a flourish of the highly-touted Bowie State offense who came back to lead the game. DSU got enough offense going to finish out the battle with a 10-point win. West Georgia overcame a couple of turnovers and looked very good against CIAA Champs Virginia State handing them their first defeat of the year by 26 points while West Florida went up to North Carolina and shut out the SAC Champions, defeating Wingate 31-0 and secured their first playoff win ever.

These victories really validate the decision of the committee to put four Gulf South teams into the playoffs and could potentially help the GSC in future years if similar situations happen.

Here we go again.

While the phrase “the second season” is used a lot, it has literally been true in the Gulf South Conference for decades.

The best teams in the conference have had to face off again during the playoffs almost annually for the past twenty years, at least. For a large chunk of those years it was “The Big Three” knocking each other off season after season and now, it’s up to seven schools taking part in the postseason in consecutive years.

This weekend, the GSC will represent a quarter of the teams still left in the playoffs as two weeks of conference rematches take place during second round and quarterfinal action.

Can I come over and play?

Sure! There’s always some side talking on the fact that several teams in Division II have a certain number of transfers on their squads. The GSC has been called on it a bit more in recent years, especially after Terry Bowden took on several DI players while he was at North Alabama who had issues at their former school, including his father’s Florida State program.

UNA was talented and won a lot of games. Yet, a lack of chemistry that sometimes accompanies using this method cost them a few contests and even titles.

Certain players are drawn into these GSC programs because of the geographical footprint of the conference is in a football hotbed and adequate potential to make it to the next level. Those from junior colleges are a given because of the talented JUCO programs in the area but it’s the DI’s that seem to stick in the craw of some. Yet, many times, the “transfer” situation is when a local or regional student-athlete was signed by an FBS school but, for whatever reason, wasn’t seeing playing time and decides to come home.

While those players are often the key components of a team, sometimes they don’t even play. I don’t really see much of a correlation in how a player performs and the number of years they have played on a team.

West Florida is a prime example of that. They just got their first playoff win after only two years of fielding a competitive team.

Bringin’ Home That Bling

Get that trophy! The Gulf South Conference will represent the Super Region in the semi-finals for the fourth consecutive season and 14th out of the past 16 seasons.

What the conference has not done, however, is win the big one. Well, since 2012. But that’s a bit of a drought.

Now, transfers or five-year guys or chemistry or mojo, I don’t know.

But what I do know is that the GSC has to have the crème of the crop rise to the top the next two weeks in order to push through and get a national championship.

But, they have an advantage!

Public vs. Private. There was some talk last Saturday via social media and commentators that Gulf South Conference teams have an advantage over their smaller, private opponents. The argument was made that state dollars, tuition rates, and other factors favored the public schools. Well, they now feel the pain that Shorter and Mississippi College experience at the bottom of the conference.

Yes, Florida Tech is private but it’s a bit of an anomaly. They are focused on technology, located in Florida, and do get some Federal dollars as a space-grant university.

Unfortunately, money and recruiting tools (location, etc.) usually drive the train of success in college sports.

Déjà Vu

What, this again? Fourteen days after traveling to Carrollton, Georgia and propelling them into a series of historic events, the West Florida Argonauts will have make that same journey this Saturday to face the West Georgia Wolves. In an odd turn of events and what might be another first this season, the seventh-seeded Wolves are hosting the sixth-seeded Argos because UWF did not submit a bid to host playoff games.

What we have here is two very good teams going at it to advance to the regional finals. Two weeks ago, the game was pretty evenly played in many respects with both teams having 21 First Downs and about 400 yards of offense. The Argos were able to get the win by scoring on each of their six trips into the UWG red zone and pressuring the Wolves offense. UWF got five sacks and 9 Tackles for Loss in that contest while holding the Wolves to just 25% on Third Down Conversions and they basically shut down the West Georgia running game. The Wolves were -2 in rushing yards for the final three quarters. If this game has a similar theme, UWF will win by even more this time.

Yet, I mentioned fate last week and we’ll see what the fates of these two teams are this week. But, based on the history of knowing that rematches often times go the opposite way and that this hosting twist put the game in Carrollton, I think UWG will start their quest to right some wrongs of the regular season.

My pick: West Georgia by 4

So We Meet Again

Hey, I remember you. The battle between West Alabama and Delta State was hard fought earlier in the season and I expect much of the same Saturday when the Statesmen travel to take on the Tigers. UWA has had an off week while DSU traveled to Maryland to take on a firecracker Bowie State team escaping just in the time with the win.

In early October, during the second installment of the “2017 GSC Championship Game” series, the DSU defense kept the Tiger offense off the field after forcing five three-and-outs early on before UWA jumped out to a lead in the second quarter forcing DSU to play catch up, which they almost pulled off with 16 4th Quarter points. Even with the UWA defense holding the Statesmen to just 91 rushing yards, DSU outgained the Tigers (395-316) after a great showing through the air of 304 passing yards. It was also a penalty-laden affair with UWA racking up 122 yards in losses due to flags and DSU being penalized for 73 yards. West Alabama won the game by good punting, averaging 46.8 yards per punt, and defensive play as they executed seven sacks and 12 Tackles for Loss.

While the regular season loser does seem to have the upper-hand sometimes in rematch games, there are other times when a good team can continue on their path of winning. I expect West Alabama to get off to a quicker start in this game and hold off the DSU offense just enough to get the win.

My pick: Tigers by 7

Andy Davis has followed GSC sports since 1985 and proudly covered the conference for since 2014. He is a past contributor to the D2 Football Preview, TimesDaily, and Franklin County Times as well as having appeared on ESPN Pensacola radio. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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Updated 11-23-2017 at 06:51 PM by Andy Davis



  1. TheBraveWolf's Avatar
    Thanks Andy for taking your Thanksgiving evening and putting out your column. I always enjoy reading. You have been right on so far so I hope your picks come to pass. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and once again thanks for all you do for this website.
  2. BlazerLady's Avatar
    Nice one, Andrew.

    BTW. The state of Ga. gives NO money to universities for athletics.