And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was
And Hell followed with him.
-Johnny Cash, allegedly
As any conventional football coach will tell you, playing a triple option team is its own special form of hell. You have to prepare for a scheme that you'll likely never see for the rest of season. You have to account for 3 highly mobile ball carriers on every play and know where they are at all times.
All this on top of dealing with blockers who use schemes you won't be used to and (especially if you're Navy) may employ more than its fair share of cut blocks that could shred your roster if you're not careful. After you've loaded the box with 9 defenders, you have to watch for the once-in-an-eon pass over the top of your cornerbacks, who were likely already a pile of mush for having to actually tackle people all the time.
While playing any triple option team can be hell, playing a good triple option team is like facing the grim reaper dead in the face, and then realizing he's already handed it off to a receiver on an end around and oh damnit he's already 60 yards down the field.
Welcome to Georgia Southern Eagles football.
- Being third on the FBS totem pole in talent heavy Georgia means you can pick up an embarrassment of high caliber recruits (by Sun Belt standards) without having to try nearly as hard as your peers.
- Loud, boisterous, knowledgeable, seemingly omnipresent fans who show up on gameday.
- A history filled with national and conference titles that matches up with anyone in the current iteration of the SBC.
- An administration that's 100% embraced the power of winning football and a personable athletic director who has a coherent vision for success.
- Like the triple option? You've come to the Mecca, Medina, Nirvana, Jersualem, and Valhalla of developing running quarterbacks, insanely powerful fullbacks, and flashy, thrilling running backs.
- Want to run anything other than the triple option? Well you can just get the h-e-double hockey sticks out, sir. I bet you don't even put sugar in your tea, Yankee.
- Georgia's the latest state to put a law on the books that won't exactly help G5 schools.
- Despite the recent FBS move-up, any head coach had better win, and win soon. Georgia Southern fans aren't known for their patience.
Making the case for why Georgia Southern should be ranked higher than 2nd: Haisten Willis, Managing Editor and Georgia Southern Beat Writer:
Well of course they should be higher. Can we place the Eagles on top of of the AAC as well, plus the ACC, SEC and the universe?
Okay, maybe I'm a bit biased. But if you're a head coach Statesboro is a great place to go and build a career. GS's last two coaches left for higher-paying (notice I didn't say better) jobs, and Paul Johnson still reigns after nearly a decade at Georgia Tech.
You've got a sort of ace in the hole with the offense. Southern doesn't recruit the same type of player as most other schools, so you've got a major leg up there, plus a fun college town and great fan base to sell in a state overflowing with talent.
Cons? Well, you've also got to be okay running the triple option, so there's a risk of getting typecast. And those diehard fans can be a double-edged sword. We expect a lot of wins, but the exit of Willie Fritz shows there can be hostility when the winning leads to a paycheck at another school.
Still, I'd take the built-in infrastructure, talent and tradition and try to keep Georgia Southern strong long before I'd look to buck history and turn around a struggling program. College football tends to be pretty top heavy, and your best bet is often to sign up for a winner.
If you were playing NCAA football in an online dynasty...
You would choose Georgia Southern because you probably found a glitch where the opposing linebacker jumps 7 feet up in the air when you pump fake on a triple option pass and then hit your one good receiver for a 95 yard bomb despite the ball hanging up in the air like a dead duck for approximately 60 seconds.
You might also be an Alabama fan who hasn't upgraded to a digital television yet and your tv's RGB color balance is on the fritz and you can't tell the difference in uniform. "HEY THESE UNIFORMS LOOK KINDA LIKE AUBURN BUT I BET THAT TINY-ASS STADIUM WAS WHAT BRYANT-DENNY LOOKED LIKE BACK WHEN THE BEAR COACHED I APPRECIATE THE HISTORICAL ACCURACY OF THIS HERE GAME PAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWL."
If you choose this job in real life:
You have to have a certain personality to fit in at GSU--one that adheres to a triple option doctrine with an almost Nebraska-like level of fanaticism as well as arbitrary traditions both impressive and quirky set 30-40 years ago. All the while you must still be cheeky enough to embody the raw energy of an underdog that quietly knows it's going to kick the asses of most of its opponents. You also don't mind a surprising amount of pressure to win at a Sun Belt school.
Everything's in place to win consistently at Georgia Southern, a plucky underdog that has embraced its role so thoroughly that they've become the North Dakota State of the FBS as the small school that a P5 school should never, ever schedule at all costs.
Oh, did I mention that Georgia Southern is breaking in a new head coach? That's right, I left that little tidbit until the end because it almost seems a certainty that the Eagles will make the coaching transition with relative smoothness. There's only one team that's better equipped to handle a coaching change, and not coincidentally, they'll be the #1 team in our countdown.
Best jobs in the Sun Belt countdown:
2. Georgia Southern