Two weeks ago, the Georgia Southern University football team capped off a transition year by upsetting the University of Florida on its home field.
The win brought more than a big pay day and 15 minutes of SportsCenter highlights to GSU. It also showed everyone skeptical of the move to the Football Bowl Subdivision that the Eagles will be able to compete with best the Sun Belt Conference has to offer.
GSU beat the Gators by pounding the ball on the ground and playing strong defense. The fact that the Eagles did not have to change their identity as a football team in order to win a big game on a big stage should be enough to shut up the triple option haters for at least one more year.
The win should also impact recruiting in the immediate future. Football Championship Series titles take blood, sweat and tears, but at the end of the day FBS wins over big-name schools that carry more weight.
Most of us can’t name the team GSU beat for its last FCS national title, but the Eagles first win over an FBS opponent and the Gators first loss to an FCS opponent in The Swamp is something casual fans from both sides will not forget anytime soon.
Outside of Southern Conference country, Appalachian State University is known as that team that beat a highly ranked University of Michigan Wolverines team. For now, GSU will be known as that school that knocked off UF during one of the team’s worst seasons.
The win over the Gators shined just enough of the national spotlight on the Eagles to make a recruit with some solid options give GSU a second look.
If the Eagles manage to stay healthy next year and string together some more upset victories over prestigious opponents, GSU head coach Jeff Monken could land the caliber of athlete GSU needs to become a fixture on television during bowl season.