The college football season is just past halfway through, and the state of Alabama is looking pretty great right about now. Here is my take on the top five teams in the Gulf South Conference.
1. North Alabama: The Lions have definitely had a great start to their season, only losing their first game to FCS powerhouse Jacksonville State. In conference, UNA is undefeated and I believe they will stay that way. Their next three conference games are with teams who are all below top five. Delta State will be a challenging matchup for the Lions, but I still believe UNA will come out as the solo GSC champion.
2. West Alabama: With a not so hot start to the season, the Tigers have shown up to play for the last three games. The only conference loss they have is to North Alabama, and that was their second GSC game of the year. If UWA had played them in the second half of conference, the outcome may have been different. UWA is a very offensive based team while UNA’s defense killed the Tigers on their home field. But, yet again, it was the beginning of the season. UWA deserves to be sitting solely in second, but I do not believe they can pull out a GSC championship due to their second half schedule.
3. Valdosta State: The Blazers are truly a stickler to their name, because they are on fire right now. With a four-game winning streak, they have only lost to North Alabama. Now, if VSU and UWA come into the November 11th matchup each only having one loss, that will be a game you do not want to miss. I believe the fire is there and they have the ability to pull out a second place in the GSC, but it will not come easy.
4. Florida Tech: I did not want to put Florida Tech in at number four because of the cancelled UNA game, but their skill holds them to a fourth place title over Delta State. They have a very tough schedule ahead for the remainder of the season, facing UWA, VSU, DSU, and UWG. These are all teams that could potentially have a top 5 spot in the conference depending on their second half of season.
5. Delta State: For the past couple years, I believe Delta State should always be in the top five. The are strong, athletic, and always put a good amount of points on the board no matter the outcome of the game. Still, it looks ot me that the highest ranking Delta will see is fourth place in the conference and the lowest could potentially be seventh. It all depends on if they can pull out wins against any of the teams that are above them.
The key phrase throughout all of these teams is who can pull out a win against the teams above or near them in the standings. The second half of conference is not going to be easy for any top five contender, including West Georgia and West Florida. I believe they still have a shot but
other teams in the conference will have to lose regardless on how many wins they can get in the next four games.
So now I will give you my end of the year predictions for the GSC standings
1. University of North Alabama, finishing 8-1
2. University of West Alabama, finishing 7-4
3. Florida Tech University, finishing 7-3
4. Valdosta State, finishing 7-3
5. University of West Florida, finishing 6-5
6. University of West Georgia, finishing 6-5
7. Delta State, finishing 4-6
8. Mississippi College, finishing 3-7
9. Shorter University, finishing 0-11
Now, I may be wrong come the end of the year and teams that should win will not, but as of skill and overall consistency, I feel this is pretty close to the outcome of the GSC.