College football story lines around the state

dshirley@macon.comAugust 19, 2013 

MercerFB

JASON VORHEES/THE TELEGRAPH Macon, GA, 08/16/2013: Mercer head coach Bobby Lamb talks with quarterback John Russ (7) during an intrasquad scrimmage Friday night.

JASON VORHEES — jvorhees@macon.com Buy Photo

The next few days we will look at the top story lines from around the Southeast for the upcoming college football season. 

Tuesday: Southern Conference.

Wednesday: ACC.

Thursday: SEC.

Let's start with some of the other story lines from around the state outside of Georgia and Georgia Tech..

1. Mercer kicks off: It has been 72 years since Mercer has had a football team, and that will change Aug. 31 with a game against Reinhardt. 

The Bears will move into the Southern Conference next year, but they will have one year to play in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League to worry about before then.

2. Defending champs: Valdosta State won its third national championship last year in Division II play, and the Blazers should be strong again this year. They will play a game in Macon against Fort Valley State as they go for title No. 4.

3. Making the move: Georgia State didn't exactly set the world on fire in FCS competition, but the Panthers have moved up to FBS play this year. They will compete in the Sun Belt Conference and will be joined next year by Georgia Southern.

The season of change also is seen in the coaching staff with first-year head coach Trent Miles.

4. A Wild year: Fort Valley State is coming off a strong year and should be ready for another solid one in the SIAC. The Wildcats have a solid head coach in Donald Poole.

5. Can they compete?: Savannah State has not had much success on or off the field recently, and it is hard to see that changing even with a new coaching staff.

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