Putting the win in perspective

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  • Cheney is a senior journalism major from Augusta. He is the current football reporter

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Will Cheney

With the hangover of Georgia Southern University’s upset over the University of Florida still in effect, it is important to take a step back and think what exactly a win like this means.

After the game clock hit zero, GSU head football coach Jeff Monken and several players came into a room for the postgame press conference with what my late grandfather would describe as “grins from ear to ear.” An elated Monken was asked by a reporter if this was the biggest win in program history.

“It’s a big win. There have been a lot of big wins at Georgia Southern,” Monken said. “There’s a flag pole that flies at our stadium with six flags on it and those are some really big wins. I don’t know if any wins top a national championship, but this is certainly a big win.”

That was a good answer, albeit a politically correct one. No coach on the planet is going to say a win is bigger than that of a national title. Winning national championships is what coaches are hired to do. With six national titles, it’s hard to argue against GSU being the most successful Football Champion Subdivision program in history.

This is where an “apples to oranges” comparison comes into play. Six FCS championships is undeniably a great accomplishment, against other FCS programs. The win over UF last Saturday was the first win in program history against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. Not to mention an FBS opponent from the highly-touted Southeastern Conference that has won the last seven FBS national titles and is still in play for an eighth.

The 4-8 Gators may have just completed one of the most horrific seasons in program history. They were on their third-string quarterback and fielded a defense that was riddled with injuries. The truth of the matter is that GSU fielded an injury-laden team as well and a program with three FBS National Titles and three Heisman Trophy winners should not have lost that game. UF head coach Will Muschamp said it best.

“I’m very disappointed for our program and the embarrassment of the situation,” Muschamp said.

This game cannot help but to bring comparisons to previous upsets of FBS teams by FCS teams, the biggest being GSU-rival Appalachian State University’s last-minute shocker over No. 5 University of Michigan in 2007. The Gators were not a top-five team at the time like UM was, not even close. The Wolverines rebounded to go 9-4 that season, winning a bowl game against UF and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

It may not be the same type of defeat App. State handed UM in The Big House, but I believe it is, hands down, the biggest win in program history. Frankly, once GSU heads to the FBS next season, six FCS National Titles might not be something they can hang their hats on at the end of the day. A win over UF in “The Swamp,” however, is a huge hat rack for any team, FBS or FCS.