Southern Conference story lines

dshirley@macon.comAugust 20, 2013 

GEORGIA SOUTHERNGeorgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon (1) is a candidate for the FCS’ Walter Payton Award.

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

Today, we focus on the Southern Conference.

1. Ready and focused: Georgia Southern and Appalachian State aren't eligible for the conference title or the FCS playoffs as they prepare for their move to the FBS level and the Sun Belt Conference. But that doesn't mean Jeff Monken's Eagles don't have anything to play for. In fact, the Eagles likely will try to make a statement in their final season in the conference. It will be interesting to see how big the target is on their backs for the other programs.

2. Dynamic leader: The Eagles fans and coaches are expecting big things out of quarterback Jerick McKinnon and with good reason. McKinnon is one of the best players in FCS play, and he is a candidate for the Walter Payton Award because of just how important he is for the Eagles. He is the perfect fit for the Eagles' option offense.

3. New era: After Jerry Moore's long and ultra successful stint as the Mountaineers' head coach, Scott Satterfield has taken over. That is a big change after such a long run of success, but the Mountaineers should be able to continue their winning ways under Satterfield.

4. Who steps up?: While the the Eagles and Mountaineers should be among the best in the conference, another team will win the title and represent the conference in the playoffs. Wofford has been strong for years, while Samford should be in the hunt, as well, with Chattanooga right there also.

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