COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia is one of those coaches who believes in the idea of taking each game on its own and don't look ahead. So with just a win over Liberty on Saturday standing between the Chanticleers and an undefeated season, Moglia is ready to embrace what this team has accomplished over the whole season.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia is one of those coaches who believes in the idea of taking each game on its own and don't look ahead.
So with just a win over Liberty on Saturday standing between the Chanticleers and an undefeated season, Moglia is ready to embrace what this team has accomplished over the whole season.
"It would be incredible — 12-0 and undefeated season," said Moglia, who is in his third season at Coastal Carolina. "That would be just wonderful, spectacular, to wind up the No. 1 team in the country."
For the rest of South Carolina's Football Championship Subdivision teams, there isn't a lot of drama. South Carolina State can still win a share of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title with a win over Norfolk State and some help, but the league's automatic bid is out of reach. Charleston Southern heads to Football Bowl Subdivision Georgia, while the state's Southern Conference teams have no postseason shot. The Citadel travels to VMI; Furman hosts Chattanooga; and Wofford hosts Mercer.
In Conway. Coastal Carolina (11-0, 4-0 Big South) must beat Liberty (7-4, 3-1) to get the Big South's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, even though the Chanticleers are playoff bound with a loss. The Flames win the league's bid if they pull off the upset.
"We know how big a game this is for Liberty. It's a huge game for them. They have a lot at stake," Moglia said. "I have no doubt our guys are going to be ready to play. Our guys know what is at stake. We have a lot going on, too."
The Chanticleers remain No. 1 in the FCS coaches poll and No. 2 in The Sports Network poll of media members. A win Saturday, and Coastal Carolina would likely end up with a top four seed in the playoffs that would assure two home playoff games. The door could open for a top two seed, which would allow the Chanticleers to play at home until the FCS championship game.
Liberty is one of Coastal Carolina's biggest rivals in all sports in the Big South, and Moglia has not lost to them yet.
"Obviously, I don't have to say a whole lot, They understand the magnitude of it. You win, you're in," Flames coach Turner Gill said. "We've got a tough task at hand on the road against the best team in the country."
Charleston Southern (8-3) will keep an eye on the scoreboard as it faces Southeastern Conference opponent Georgia (8-2) in Athens, Georgia.
Buccaneers coach Jamey Chadwell said he thinks the Big South deserves two teams in the FCS playoffs, and if Coastal Carolina beats Liberty, than perhaps his team should get the nod, especially since Charleston Southern beat the Flames last week and the two teams would have the same conference record.
"We have the number one team in the country in our league, and our league is highly competitive," Chadwell said. "It's a sham and they really need to look at the playoff system if we don't get two teams from our league in."
Going against Charleston Southern is two of its eight wins are over Division II teams.
South Carolina State (7-4, 5-2 MEAC) can still win a league title if the Bulldogs beat Norfolk State (4-7, 4-3) in Orangeburg and North Carolina A&T loses.
That loss could mean as many as five teams could finish on top of the league. But the Bulldogs lose every tiebreaking scenario sent out by the MEAC this week.
"I don't think we can get anything out of it. But at least we'd be in it. It would give us a chance to share another title," South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough said.
Pough said his team isn't likely good enough to get an at-large playoff bid. But he is still ending the season with positive vibes.
"I thought they overachieved to a certain degree," Pough said of his Bulldogs. "You look at the youth and the development of this team. I'm still proud of them and looking forward to seeing just where these guys can lead us to."
For only the second time since 1998, South Carolina won't send any of its SoCon teams to the playoffs.
In Spartanburg, Wofford (5-5, 3-3 SoCon) is the only league team from the state that can finish with a winning record if the Terriers beat Mercer.
It's been a frustrating season for Wofford coach Mike Ayers. His normally sure-handed team has given the ball away more than it has taken the ball back. His offense is next-to-last in the SoCon. And there has been only one loss by a score or less.
"We know how to win them, we just haven't been able to do it," Ayers said.
The Citadel (5-7, 2-4 SoCon) might not have a playoff bid to play for, but the Bulldogs will try to hold on to the Silver Shako against VMI (2-9, 1-5) in Lexington, Virginia,
The Silver Shako is the trophy for The Military Classic of the South, pitting the two state military schools.
The Citadel has owned the trophy since a 27-23 win over VMI in 2003. The teams didn't play every season because VMI left for the Big South, but the Bulldogs have won six in a row over the Keydets going into Saturday's game.
Both Citadel coach Mike Houston and VMI coach Sparky Woods said it is one of the best rivalries in the South.
"It is great for players to be a part of," Woods said. "The schools are both outstanding. They stand for so many of the things we believe in."
In Greenville, Furman (3-8, 2-4 SoCon) will try to end a frustrating season in a positive way against Chattanooga (7-3, 6-0).
The Mocs have already won the league title outright and are trying to finish their first undefeated SoCon season ever.
The Paladins' season started off wrong after starting quarterback Reese Hannon broke his ankle in the opener. The injuries kept piling up and a year after making the FCS playoffs, Furman lost eight in a row before beating Wofford 31-14 last week.
One of the stars of that win was true freshman P.J. Blazejowski who set a school record with 15 straight completions.
"We're proud of our guys for hanging in there," Furman coach Bruce Fowler said.