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Top Southern Conference Games For 2017.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCON!!!!

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Boise State at Air Force
AIR FORCE LOVE THE KIDS!!!
Photo by John Mortland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Southern Conference was really fun to follow last year. Though still a young conference, you really got a sense that something good was brewing down south. Richmond and Air Force demonstrated that they could play with anyone in the country, High Point had a huge win over UVA, and Jacksonville’s hiring of John Galloway and Casey Powell got everyone’s attention. While the SoCon is still not yet in the same tier as the Patriot League or CAA, it is certainly closing the gap and heading in the right direction.

Hopefully the conference continues its upward trend in 2017. Here are some of the games I’m most excited about this season.

Air Force Falcons.
Top non-conference games:

  • Air Force @ Duke, February 5, 2017.
  • Air Force @ Denver, February 11, 2017.
  • Air Force @ Boston University, March 4, 2017.
  • Air Force @ Marquette, March 11, 2017.

Good thing the lads at Air Force don’t have a problem flying because they’ll be doing a lot of traveling in the first month of the season. Air Force starts out the season HOT with back-to-back away games versus Duke & Denver. The Blue Devils will be looking for some payback after their overtime loss to the Falcons last year in Durham.

Top conference game:

  • Richmond @ Air Force, April 22, 2017.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this one, as it might end up being for the top seed in the 2017 Southern Conference tournament.

Bellarmine Knights.
Top non-conference games.

  • Michigan @ Bellarmine, February 18, 2017.
  • Ohio State @ Ohio State, March 5, 2017.

Nice to see Belarmine getting to host two B1G teams this season. The Knights have played the Buckeyes tough the last four years. Outside of last year’s 4 goal loss, they lost to OSU by only two, three, and one, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively. Maybe this is the year they finally get over the hump and get the W.

Top conference games:

  • Richmond @ Bellarmine, April 15, 2017.
  • Jacksonville @ Bellarmine, April 29, 2017.

Furman Paladins.
Top non-conference games.

  • Furman @ Ohio State, February 5, 2017.
  • North Carolina @ Furman, February 11, 2017.
  • Furman @ Penn State, March 7, 2017.

After back-to-back games in Chapel Hill in 2015 and 2016, the champs travel down south for their first game at Furman since 2014. Additionally, Furman will play half of the Big Ten this year as they also host Michigan on March 4th.

Top conference game:

  • Furman @ High Point, April 15, 2017.

Furman has yet to beat their North Carolina neighbor. Could this be the year BOSS Meade finally leads the Paladins to victory?

High Point Panthers.
Top non-conference games.

  • High Point @ Duke, February 11, 2017.
  • High Point @Maryland, February 18, 2017.
  • High Point @ Virginia, March 1, 2017.

While they were blown out by Duke by 11 points last year, High Point had the Blue Devils on the ropes back in 2015. After the loss of their great class of 2016, Duke has a lot of question marks going into 2017. I’m not predicting an upset, but if High Point is going to steal a win from Duke, 2017 might be the year to do it. As for UVA, I have a feeling that Boss Tiffany’s lads haven’t forgotten what happened last year.

Top conference games:

  • Richmond @ High Point, March 25, 2017.
  • High Point @ Jacksonville, April 22, 2017.

High Point lost only 3 conference games all of last year and two of them were to Richmond. Richmond vs. High Point is one of the best rivalries in the Southern Conference the last three years and I think we’re in store for another great chapter in the rivalry this year.

Jacksonville Dolphins.

  • Marquette @ Jacksonville, February 18, 2017.
  • Jacksonville @ Hartford, March 4, 2017.
  • Jacksonville @ Duke, March 13, 2017.

While I want to temper my enthusiasm, it’s hard to not get excited about Jacksonville’s future after they hired Syracuse greats John Galloway & Casey Powell as head coach and assistant coach, respectively, over the offseason. If the performance on the field can match the energy the two coaches have generated this summer, Jacksonville really has a chance to be something special.

Top conference games:

  • Richmond @ Jacksonville, March 18, 2017.
  • Jacksonville @ Air Force, March 25, 2017.

Mercer Bears.
Top non-conference games:

  • Vermont @ Mercer, February 4, 2017.
  • Michigan @ Mercer, March 4, 2017.

Even though we are northeast big city homer bloggers OBJECTIVE WORLD RENOWN JOURNALISTS here at College Crosse, there’s no denying how much we LOVE the Bears. (Ed. Note: Shout out to our man @Crfflax!) If Mercer looks half as good on the field as they do in this fall strength and conditioning highlight reel, they are going to be a BIG problem for the other SoCon teams in 2017

Top conference games:

  • Air Force @ Mercer, March 18, 2017.
  • High Point @ Mecer, April 1, 2017.
  • Bellarmine @ Mercer, April 22, 2017.

Mercer just missed out on a bid to the Southern Conference tournament last season after finishing with a 3-4 conference record. A midseason loss to Bellarmine was the difference in 2016. If Mercer can win all the conference games they did last year and steal one more game from either Bellarmine, Air Force, or High Point (all home games), they’ll be dancing come conference tournament time. (Ed. Note: GO BEARS!!!)

Richmond Spiders.
Top non-conference games.

  • Marquette @ Richmond, February 25, 2017.
  • Duke @ Richmond, March 5, 2017.
  • Virginia @ Richmond, April 1, 2017.

Shout out to BOSS Chemotti for putting together a great 2017 non-conference schedule. Aside from the games listed above, Richmond will also be playing non-conference games versus North Carolina and Fairfield. That’s a BEEFY out of conference schedule. We know Richmond can play with the big boys though as they demonstrated last year against the Blue Devils.

Top conference games.

  • Richmond @ Jacksonville, March 18, 2017.
  • Richmond @ High Point, March 25, 2017.
  • Richmond @ Air Force, April 22, 2017.

While Richmond gets to host some big non-conference games, they will be on the road against High Point and Air Force. Both High Point and Air Force would love to drop an L on the Spiders, as all three should be in the running for the top seed in the SoCon tournament. However, I’m also looking forward to Richmond’s game versus Jacksonville, as this will be the first conference game for the Dolphins in the Galloway-Powell era.

VMI Keydets.
Top non-conference games:

  • VMI @ Army, February 20, 2017.
  • VMI @ WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGNER, March 7, 2017.

If VMI can pull out a win against NEC powerhouse WAAAAAAAAAAAAGNER, it might be a sign that things are starting to turn around at VMI.

Top conference games:

  • VMI @ Bellarmine, March 25, 2017.
  • Mercer @ VMI, April 29, 2017.