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Week One SoCon Primer

By Robbie Ross
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Three SoCon teams begin 2018 ranked in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll and three others received votes.

Three SOCON teams begin 2018 ranked in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll and three others received votes. Samford lands in the top 10 at #10, followed closely by Wofford at #11, while Furman comes in as the 23rd ranked team in the nation. Western Carolina, Mercer and The Citadel all received votes.  

Two new coaches will be roaming the sidelines in the SOCON this season. Randy Shannon takes over at East Tennessee State for the retiring Carl Torbush, who restarted the football program in Johnson City after a ten-year hiatus. Josh Conklin will follow a hall of fame coach in Mike Ayers at Wofford.  Ayers held the reins for the Terriers for the last 30 years. 

Two SOCON players were among the 25 listed on the preseason watch list for the Walter Payton Award for the outstanding offensive player of the year. Two signal callers made the list, Samford senior quarterback and two-time defending SOCON offensive player of the year Devlin Hodges and Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams. Samford defensive lineman Ahmad Gooden, Western Carolina defensive back Marvin Tillman and Wofford defensive lineman Miles Brown were all named to the preseason watch list for the Buck Buchannan Award, which is given to the outstanding defensive player of the year. 

SOCON schools will play 10 games against FBS opposition in 2018. Each SOCON team will take on at least one team in the FBS ranks, VMI will play two (Toledo and Old Dominion). Three SOCON teams open the season with FBS foes this week. Furman travels down I-85 to take on #2 ranked Clemson, Mercer heads to take on Memphis and VMI will play Toledo in the first of the Keydets two FBS clash’s this year. 

Week 1 Schedule

Thursday, August 30th

Tennessee Tech at Chattanooga, 7:00, Chattanooga, TN, ESPN3
Shorter at (10) Samford, 7:30, Birmingham, AL, ESPN+

Saturday, September 1st

(23) Furman at (2 FBS) Clemson, 12:20, Clemson, SC, ACC Network
(RV) The Citadel at (11) Wofford, 6:00, Spartanburg, SC, ESPN+
Newberry at (RV) Western Carolina, 6:00, Cullowhee, NC, ESPN+
(RV) Mercer at Memphis, 7:00, Memphis, TN, ESPN3
VMI at Toledo, 7:00, Toledo, OH, ESPN3
Mars Hill at East Tennessee State, 7:30, Johnson City, TN, ESPN+

Robbie Ross - Robbie Ross is Southern Pigskin's lead SoCon writer. A 19-year veteran of the Furman Radio Network, Ross also spent time with the Georgia State Radio Network prior to his ventures with Southern Pigskin. He is a voter in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll.