Behr: Citadel puts ASU's playoff bid on hold
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
They might have also been glued to their computers checking out scores that determined their playoff fate. It’s understandable since there was one game that would indicate if the Mountaineers would be awarded the Southern Conference’s automatic bid, or if they would get a probably at-large bid into the FCS playoffs.
That game, The Citadel at Furman, is the game everybody at ASU is watching. A Citadel win would have tilted the field toward Georgia Southern because of a tiebreaker that awards the Eagles the league title because the Eagles gave up the fewest SoCon points.
A Furman victory would have given the league championship to Appalachian State because of other tiebreakers.
The Citadel came through for Georgia Southern by beating Furman 42-20 Saturday.
The bigger question that’s been making the rounds in our little tourist trap isn’t so much if the Mountaineers will make the playoffs, but when and where will they play.
They should make the playoffs. At 8-3, their losses was to a red-hot Citadel team at the time, to fellow tri-champ Wofford and to FBS East Carolina.
They also have a victory over Georgia Southern, which the AFCA coaches ranked No. 1 at the time. ASU also beat Montana, which is a quality victory no matter what the Grizzlies’ record is.
ASU deserves a playoff game. This is a good team that has improved over the course of the season. Quarterback Jamal Jackson raised his game to the level of being added to the Walter Payton Award, and receiver Sean Price is probably atrracting the attention of NFL scours already.
Getting a bye in the first round could be a different story. It’s hard to gage what the FCS committee will do, especially on the East Coast where the bulk of the teams will come from.
In the past, Appalachian State, when unseeded, generally gets a home game. Kidd Brewer Stadium is one of the top facilities in the FCS, and the stadium has lights.
Some places don’t.
Appalachian State has also been willing to bid much more cash than the minimum to land a first-round game in the past. It’s rare that the Mountaineers have had to travel for a first-round game.
The Mountaineers could get a bye in the first round and then face a tougher second-round opponent, such as one from the Colonial Athletic Association.
A winner from the first round, such as Western Illinois in 2010, or S.C. State in 2009, could be in the cards.
It’s impossible to know for sure. But I would not put away the tailgaiting supplies just yet.