An SB Nation piece from last spring touted the success of Georgia Southern football dating back to the 1980s, but also highlighted a problem for the FBS upstarts: nobody wants to play them.
Post-Florida GS is an in-demand opponent for top-tier FBS programs looking for one-off wins. They hand GS a paycheck near $1 million and they (likely) get a quality non-conference win for the Playoff committee. But try getting a team to Statesboro.
"It absolutely helped the mission of this university and this program, but from a scheduling perspective, Florida hurt us," [Georgia Southern Athletic Director Tom] Kleinlein said. "I'd love for people to call me and schedule our school. No one wants to right now."
Bolstered by some recent success in a Twitter battle, a group of fans have taken it upon themselves to get that phone ringing for a road date at Paulson Stadium.
Congrats Vandy, it's you.
RT if you want to see Vanderbilt in Paulson Stadium. #Vandy2Paulson @vucommodores @VandyFootball @TKleinleinAD pic.twitter.com/ZBIjWj6Zbb— Ga Southern Troll (@GaSouthernTroll) August 17, 2015
@TKleinleinAD @GaSouthernTroll @vucommodores @VandyFootball Eagle Nation is everywhere. We want Vandy #Vandy2Paulson pic.twitter.com/0aALo29pPN— Mark Mobley (@mark_mobley) August 17, 2015
Vandy, why won't you return our calls?!? Are we not pretty enough?!? #Vandy2Paulson @vucommodores @VandyFootball pic.twitter.com/aCLCZjA1fO— Ga Southern Troll (@GaSouthernTroll) August 17, 2015
What does Kleinlein think of this? He's all for it.
"@GataTrain: @TKleinleinAD #vandy2paulson it needs to happen soon!" We would welcome the opportunity to play a home with Vandy.— Tom Kleinlein (@TKleinleinAD) August 17, 2015
"@thekicky: @GaSouthernTroll @vucommodores @VandyFootball @TKleinleinAD #Vandy2Paulson Dooooo it!" Would love 2 play them. I have asked.— Tom Kleinlein (@TKleinleinAD) August 17, 2015
Why Vanderbilt? From reading a few message boards (the idea appears to have originated on GSUFans.com) there are three basic reasons.
1. They're in the South.
2. It's a team that could realistically sign up to play in Statesboro.
3. Last time the Eagles faced an SEC team things went pretty well.
Come on 'Dores, ye of the mighty Southeastern Conference. The call to battle has been sounded, the fans want YOU to make a trip to the Coastal Empire. I mean, you're not scared right? You can definitely handle a little Sun Belt team that was in the FCS two years ago...
UPDATE: Our Vanderbilt site, Anchor of Gold, has something up about this as well:
So while I find this campaign hilarious, GSU fans, thanks but no thanks. If Nick Saban didn't the best defense in the country playing y'all, I certainly don't want our team near a game with ya...
...Hit us up if you know anyone at Georgia State, though.