Coastal looks to return to FCS playoffs

Who has the toughest out of conference schedule in 2013? Here’s our opinion:

#6 Charleston Southern
8/31 at The Citadel; 9/7 vs Shorter; 9/14 @ Campbell; 9/21 @ Norfolk State; 9/28 @ Appalachian State; 10/5 vs North Greenville; 10/26 vs Charlotte

Charleston Southern continues to have weak schedules year in and year out. This season they face 2 sub-DI opponents in North Greenville and Shorter. They also play a startup program in Charlotte, and a non-scholly Campbell team which finished 1-10 a season ago (although surely Mike Minter and Brian Hudson will turn them around).

#5 Presbyterian
8/29 @ Wake Forest; 9/7 vs Brevard; 9/14 @ Furman; 9/28 vs Charlotte; 10/5 @ Wofford; 10/26 vs Point

The Blue Hose are the only Big South team to not schedule 12 games, and for good reason as 2 sub-DI games are enough. The rest of the schedule will be a challenge with Wake Forest, Furman, Charlotte, and Wofford.

#4 VMI
8/31 @ Richmond; 9/7 vs Glenville State; 9/14 vs North Greenville; 9/21 @ Virginia; 9/28 vs Robert Morris; 11/16 @ the Citadel; 11/23 vs Bucknell

This will be VMI’s final season in the Big South before heading to the Southern Conference. The Keydets always face a couple of in-state rivals and do so again in 2013 with Richmond and Virginia. Robert Morris and Bucknell are both winnable FCS games.

#3 Liberty
8/29 @ Kent State; 9/7 vs Monmouth; 9/14 vs Morgan State; 9/21 @ Richmond; 9/28 vs Kentucky Wesleyan; 10/5 @ ODU; 11/16 vs Brevard

The Flames have a solid, but not outstanding non-conference schedule. The 2 DII schools have to be a disappointment, but the administration wanted 7 home games. Liberty will be favored in both home games against Monmouth and Morgan State. The Richmond and Old Dominion games are terrific in-state clashes.

#2 Gardner-Webb
8/31 vs Furman; 9/7 @ Marshall; 9/14 vs Richmond; 9/21 @ Wofford; 9/28 vs Point; 10/5 @ Charlotte; 11/2 vs Warner

The Runnin’ Bulldogs stepped up their schedule this season even with the games against Point and Warner (who?!). Furman and Charlotte will be good tests; while Richmond and Wofford are pre-season top 25 FCS teams.

#1 Coastal Carolina
8/31 @ South Carolina State; 9/7 vs Furman; 9/14 @ Eastern Kentucky; 9/21 vs Hampton; 9/28 @ Elon; 11/2 vs Charlotte; 11/23 @ South Carolina

A very impressive non-conference slate for the Chanticleers as even with the 12 game schedule they have 0 games against sub-DI competition. All of Coastal’s FCS non-league games are challenging yet winnable. With an impressive season, the Chants could set themselves up nicely for an at-large bid if they don’t win the automatic playoff birth.