Furman football: a competitive tradition
Published: Friday, September 17, 2010
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011 16:05
In the aftermath of a 45 to 15 win over the 25th ranked Colgate Raiders, it would be great to talk about and reflect upon the history and tradition of Furman football. Many students on Furman's campus, when asked who has won the most Southern Conference (SOCON), football titles in the history of the conference would probably immediately say Appalachian State.
This is not true. In 1978, Furman claimed its first of a conference leading 12 SOCON football championships with a win over archrival The Citadel thanks to a goal line stand late in the fourth quarter.
As a passionate fan and a third generation Furman student, I think it would be great for the student body to have knowledge of and hopefully gain a greater appreciation for the heritage of Furman University football.
Furman has one of the most respected football programs not only in the Southern Conference, but also in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly known as Division 1-AA).
Furman began its rich football history in 1889, when it competed in the first official organized football game in South Carolina and was defeated by Wofford.
In 1936 Furman joined, the SOCON, which birthed two of the major conferences today in the SEC and ACC, and contained teams such as Alabama, South Carolina, Marshall, Clemson, West Virginia, Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Furman's historical archrivals are the military men from Charleston, The Citadel. For years, The Citadel vs. Furman game concluded the Paladins schedule. While App. State and Ga. Southern games have determined more playoffs and conference titles in recent years, Furman and The Citadel are still rivals. It would be great to see the student body embrace that rivalry.
Since the Southern Conference joined the FCS in 1982, the Paladins have played for 3 national championships, in 1985, 1988, and most recently in 2001. Furman became the first private institution to win a national championship in 1988 and was the only one until Richmond claimed the title in 2008.
Furman has also had success in recent years. The Furman football program had 11 consecutive winning seasons, which would have been enough to qualify for the Googlesearch.com bowl, or some other insignificant game in the big college scene. However, it is much tougher to qualify for the postseason in the NCAA Division 1 FCS.
Furman played for the National Championship in 2001, played in the quarterfinals in 2004, and played in the National Semifinals in 2005. Furman also played in the playoffs in 2002 and 2006.
In order to qualify for the postseason, Furman would not be able to lose more than 2 games to FCS opposition (unless they did so and still claimed the SOCON champion's automatic bid). If Furman's football program was not well- respected, it probably could not lose more than one game to FCS opposition.
Furman University has a rich tradition in football. The team goes out year after year to compete on the football field while maintaining the same course load as the rest of us, as do all athletes here at Furman. They work hard fall, winter, spring and summer to maintain the rich tradition that is Furman football.
Being a lifelong Paladin fan, it was awesome to see the student body come out with great spirit despite the rain to watch the Paladins take a dominate week 1 win over a good football team in Colgate.
I hope to see everyone the rest of the season as the 'Dins go out seeking to reclaim our spot on top of the SOCON. FU ALL THE