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Originally published: 2012-11-12 16:09:07
Last modified: 2012-11-12 16:09:07

ASU waits for results of Furman-Citadel game

by Steve Behr Sports Editor

One week after Appalachian State beat Furman, Mountaineers fans will be wearing purple shirts in support of the Paladins.

It’s because of the complicated circumstances that surround which of the three tri-champs of the Southern Conference race gets the league’s automatic berth in the Football Championship Subdivision. Although it’s likely that all three teams — Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Wofford — will make the playoffs, one team gets the guarantee.

When Appalachian State beat Furman 33-28 Saturday, the Mountaineers clinched a share of the Southern Conference championship with Wofford and Georgia Southern as each team finished with a 6-2 league mark.

The problem is that the head-to-head tiebreaker does not break that tie since Appalachian State beat Georgia Southern, Wofford beat Appalachian State and Georgia Southern beat Wofford, forcing the league to go to plan B.

That involves the team’s results against the fourth-place finisher, which involves Samford and The Citadel. That’s where Furman’s game against The Citadel comes into play.

If Furman beats The Citadel, Appalachian State gets the bid because The Citadel would finish behind fourth-place Samford in the standings. Since Appalachian State and Georgia Southern beat Samford, Wofford, which lost to the Bulldogs, would be eliminated from the automatic berth.

Then the tiebreaker goes back to head-to-head, which ASU would have the edge because it beat Georgia Southern 31-28.

If The Citadel beats Furman, Georgia Southern would win the bid. The Citadel would tie with Samford for fourth place. In that case, all the head-to-head tiebreakers would be even among the three league champions.

The next tiebreaker is points allowed in conference games. Georgia Southern holds a one-point edge, allowing 163 points to Wofford’s 164. Appalachian State allowed 238 points in the league this season.

Chattanooga could also finish in a tie for fourth place with Samford and The Citadel, but Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Wofford all beat Chattanooga during the regular season, which eliminates that as a potential tiebreaker.