Georgia Southern (GaSo) is not going to go to the FBS within the next decade. At best this is a pipe-dream. In reality, the administration at GaSo is just saying that they want to do this because Georgia State moved up to the FBS. The GaSo admin is under 21 questions from boosters about why they haven't done it and this is just the smoke screen. GaSo does not have the financial resources or the alumni support for the move. Maybe they never will. Kennesaw State Univ has already passed GaSo in student size so GaSo is at best the 5th largest college in Georgia. The GaSo history has been as an A&M school and a Teachers college so there is no wealthy alumni to mine. In short, this is never going to happen for GaSo. Just hicks and rednecks with a dream!
Each February, more SEC football signees come from the state of Georgia than from any other state in the Union. That includes Florida, despite the fact that the Sunshine State produces more NFL-caliber talent year-in and year-out than the Peach State does. The explanation for that is pretty simple:
FBS Schools in Florida: Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International.
FBS Schools in Georgia: Georgia and Georgia Tech.
It’s easier for SEC schools like South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Auburn to target Georgia kids because — face it — they can’t all stay in state. That’s the reason Missouri is now aiming at Georgia and Atlanta, too.
Ah, but things could get a bit tougher in the years ahead for all those schools who mine Georgia for talent. And don’t laugh too hard when you read this: Georgia State is moving to the FBS level this season and Georgia Southern is taking steps toward such a move down the road. Remember, at one point South Florida and UCF were laughers, too. Now they’re in a BCS league and can go toe-to-toe with SEC teams in football on occasion. (Ask a Georgia fan about UCF’s Liberty Bowl win over the Dawgs two years ago, for example. Then again, don’t. You’ll get slapped.)
Bill Curry’s Georgia State program has potential. This year they’ll move into the Sun Belt Conference. The school is located smack in the middle of downtown Atlanta. That means prospects and it also means a busy campus life to sell to those prospects. The school’s enrollment is already 30,000 and it’s the second largest school in the University System of Georgia. Now, there’s certainly the potential for the board of regents of Georgia’s system to handcuff and hold back GSU the way the power brokers in the Alabama system consistently undermine UAB’s football program. Still, it’s one more program to compete with for all those out-of-state programs looking to raid the Peach State.
As for Georgia Southern — which is also in the University System of Georgia and under the same board of regents as UGA — the six-time FCS champion Eagles are now readying for a move to the big time, too. According to The Statesboro Herald the school is trying to raise $36.6 million over five years to make the move up in class. ”There’s no question it’s where we want to go,” said president Brooks Keel.
All of this is coming at a time when the NCAA is seriously looking at its current make-up. For the first time ever even the NCAA president is openly talking about how hard it is to try and keep all schools — rich and poor, big and small — competing on an even level. Obviously there’s a chance that both Georgia State and Georgia Southern could move up to the FBS just in time to see the biggest BCS portion of that group shift off into its own supersized subset of the FBS and NCAA, thus defeating the purpose of those schools’ moves.
But all things being equal, the potential doubling of FBS football programs in Georgia bears watching by Southeastern Conference teams. If Georgia State or Georgia Southern are able to keep just one key recruit at home each year, that’s one less impact player who most likely would have landed at another SEC school in previous years.
For all the cracking wise done at the expense of programs like FAU and FIU in Florida, they have had an impact on SEC recruiting. You can see it every February… when the league’s teams ink more players from Georgia than from the state just below it on the map.