The Citadel Beats South Carolina…Again

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The Citadel scored one of the biggest upsets of the 2015 college football season last November, deploying its option offense and an aggressive defense to beat South Carolina in Columbia, 23-22.

The win snapped a 27-game losing streak for the FCS program against SEC competition, but despite its historic implications, probably won’t air on South Carolina’s takeover of the SEC Network.

Can’t fault The Citadel for trying, though.

Nov. 21, 2015, is a day the SEC honks would probably like to delete from the archives altogether. The typical body-bag Saturday — a weekend in which the Toughest Conference In College Football™ loads up on FCS and Sun Belt opponents, while the rest of the nation is embroiled in league competition — became the single strongest exhibit in the case against SEC chest-thumping.

The Citadel’s win highlighted a day that also included a team languishing in the cellar of the Conference USA East division, FAU, took the winner of the SEC East, Florida, to overtime. Meanwhile, Georgia Southern’s option offense very nearly springing the same kind of low-pass upset of Georgia as former SoCon counterpart The Citadel scored against South Carolina.

The Citadel will not repeat its conquering of the mighty SEC in 2016; the Bulldogs instead face 2015 ACC Coastal champion North Carolina on the last week of the FCS regular season. Ironically, the Tar Heels lost Week 1 to the same South Carolina squad the Bulldogs took down in November.

Replicating any of last season’s going to be a challenge for The Citadel. Head coach Mike Houston left for James Madison after leading the Bulldogs to the FCS Playoffs and an opening-round win over Coastal Carolina.

Couple its defeat of the Chanticleers with the upset of the Gamecocks, and The Citadel’s Playoff ouster against Charleston Southern stings even more. The Bulldogs were one victory away from being able to pretty definitively declare themselves Palmetto State champions (with all due respect to Clemson, which beat only one in-state opponent compared to The Citadel’s four).

No championship rings are being commissioned, but South Carolina really should have to cede a block of its SEC Network programming to The Citadel. Seems only fair.