The Southern Conference title is up for grabs, despite Appalachian State's five-year stranglehold on the top spot.
Yes, the Mountaineers are still among the favorites, but that list of favorites is longer than it has been since the arrival of Greenwood, S.C. product Armanti Edwards. With Edwards' departure for what could potentially be an outstanding NFL career, the rest of the field has a chance to close the gap and end Appalachian State's string of five straight conference championships.
With Edwards, an All-American dual-threat quarterback, the Mountaineers went 8-0 in the Southern Conference and 11-3 overall, losing at Montana in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.
Appalachian State was followed by Elon (9-3, 7-1), Furman (6-4, 5-3), resurgent Chattanooga (6-5, 4-4) and Georgia Southern (5-6, 4-4). A youthful Wofford team struggled to a 3-8 overall and 2-6 conference record.
With UCLA transfer Chris Forcier -- older brother of Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier -- set to take over at quarterback for the Paladins, Furman could be poised to take a step back to SoCon prominence.
The same goes for another traditional SoCon power, Georgia Southern. The Eagles and Paladins battled for conference supremacy in the 1980s and could begin the 2010s doing the same thing.
Twenty minutes up I-85, Wofford will be a year older and presumably have the same trademarks of head coach Mike Ayers contenders of the past -- toughness and discipline.
Wofford and Furman are to play one another Oct. 2 at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium.
Here are the 2010 schedules for Furman, which will play South Carolina for the first time since the Paladins notched a 28-23 victory over the Gamecocks in 1982, and Wofford:
2010 Furman Paladins Football Schedule
- Sept. 11 Colgate
- Sept. 18 at South Carolina
- Sept. 25 The Citadel (Family Weekend)
- Oct. 2 at Wofford
- Oct. 9 Howard
- Oct. 16 at Samford
- Oct. 23 Chattanooga (Homecoming)
- Oct. 30 at Appalachian State
- Nov. 6 Western Carolina
- Nov. 13 at Elon
- Nov. 20 Georgia Southern
2010 Wofford Terriers Football Schedule
- Sept. 4 at Ohio University
- Sept. 11 at Charleston Southern
- Sept. 18 Union (Ky.)
- Oct. 2 Furman
- Oct. 9 at Georgia Southern
- Oct. 16 Western Carolina
- Oct. 23 at Elon
- Oct. 30 The Citadel
- Nov. 6 at Samford
- Nov. 13 at Appalachian State
- Nov. 20 Chattanooga