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FACTOR FIVE FIVE FACTOR PREVIEW: GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT APP STATE

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THE CHAMPIONS OF THE FLORIDA/MICHIGAN RIVALRY MEET

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

NEBULOUS STATISTICAL COMPARISONS OF DUBIOUS VALIDITY

Unlike some conferences in this nation, the Fun Belt gives you actual value for a Thursday night game. Georgia Southern and Appalachian State are, in almost every statistical sense, the two best teams in the league. Both alternate one-two in every major offensive and defensive category; both teams sit comfortably in the top fifty for F+. Both teams are undefeated save for one loss to a Power Five team, with App State losing 41-10 to a top ten Clemson team, and Georgia Southern blanking at a 42-0 meeting with West Virginia in the opener.

It says something about that win that the takeaway from that shutout by West Virginia was "West Virginia is really good on defense in 2015," and not "well, it was Georgia Southern." Not that anyone here would say this, not at all, nope, no one on this website would ever disparage Georgia Southern. App State is slightly better in a few defensive indicators (passing defense being the most obvious one,) but Georgia Southern has the better special teams numbers, so this is a push, even when you remember that time Will Muschamp lost to Georgia Southern at home. In Gainesville. When Georgia Southern was an FCS team.

ADVANTAGE: Georgia Southern. Damn you, Will Muschamp.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!

MASCOT

Georgia Southern's mascot is Gus the Eagle. Gus looks like a rejected cereal spokesmascot, which accurately describes 30% of all suited animal mascots, but it's a hard deal trying to work with something as basic as an eagle. It can only go so many ways when you're trying to charm up a lizard with feathers. OH: Georgia Southern used to be the "Blue Tide", which would have been amazing for Alabama's intellectual property attorneys to wrestle with in court.

In contrast, Yosef, the Appalachian State Mountaineer, appears seconds away from unloading two barrels full of rock salt into the ass of the varmint who dared get too close to his still.

YosefAppState

Yosef also has a rambling, surprisingly thorough bio, too.

His costume of blue jean overhauls and a yellow flannel shirt has remained constant since his origination. Once upon a time, Yosef had a voice in The Appalachian during the late 1940s called "Musings of a Mountaineer". Since the end of this column in 1949, Yosef has kept to himself, but has been yearning to come out and yell with students and members of the Boone community

Awww, Yosef. Beneath that burly, terrifying exterior lies the heart of someone who just wants to belong, so long as he doesn't have to pay excise taxes or recognize the authority of the federal government. Same, Yosef. [wipes tear away from corner of eye] Same.

ADVANTAGE: APPALACHIAN STATE

APPALACHIAN STATE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!

AURA

Without looking it up, we'll just say this is the highest FBS stadium east of the Mississippi by elevation. Kidd Brewer Stadium (no hyphen, as it's named after its at 3280 feet above sea level, which really won't be a factor but is still neat to point out anyway. Appalachian State being 215-63-5 there historically isn't an accident, though: Mountaineer fans roll hard, yell real loud, and even have luxury boxes now if they have the cash to level up to the "Yosef Club". Dammit, we want to be a member of the Yosef Club now SO BAD, especially if it means we can pay the mascot to stare into the bedroom windows of our foes until they wake up screaming.

(Oh, Kidd Brewer, the stadium's namesake, went to jail for bid-rigging state road contracts. NORTH CAROLINAAAAAAAAAAA--)

ADVANTAGE: APPALACHIAN STATE

APPALACHIAN STATE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!

NAMES

Georgia Southern:

Ironhead Gallon
Vegas Harley
Obe Fortune
Zander Yost
Montay Crockett


Appalachian State:

Mondo Williams
Toronto Thomas
Bentlee Critcher
Zach Matics
Simms McElfresh

The deciding factor here? Bentley Critcher and Zach Matics are both kickers. Most teams consider themselves lucky to have ONE kicker with a sweet name. Two is the kind of depth that can take you places.

ADVANTAGE: APPALACHIAN STATE

APPALACHIAN STATE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!

GRUDGES/SCORES TO SETTLE/SHEER CUSSEDNESS

Yessir, but you already knew that since flatlander Gnat Belt barons have been in a turf war with mountain bootlegger freedom types for years. In 2007 Georgia Southern, then coached by Paul Johnson, ended a five year win streak for Appalachian State in the "game that cracked The Rock." That's legendarily bitter all by itself, but there's more, way, way more, including a long, bitter history of the team ranked higher inevitably taking a two-by-four in the face from the lower-ranked team. The Ineligibowl last year was an aberration in the overall trajectory of this rivalry, which is a long curve trending upward towards entertaining cruelty in all directions. Appalachian State lost badly last year, so...

ADVANTAGE: APPALACHIAN STATE

APPALACHIAN STATE, YOU'VE BEEN FACTOR'D!

FINAL TOTAL: APPALACHIAN STATE 4, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 1. Yosef ain't respectin' the laws about that herb farm he planted up on "Federal" [makes finger quotes] land up in the Smokies, and he ain't about to being respectin' yer laws about what birds he can and can't hunt.