Savannah, Ga., is one of the most beautiful and historical cities in all of the South. Statesboro is an hour away. Close enough for Georgia Southern to earn 91 on our Top College Football Towns in America countdown.
To celebrate 100 days until the start of the college football season, HERO Sports is counting down the Top 100 FBS College Football Towns in America. Each day, starting May 17 and ending Aug. 24, a new city will be revealed. We will analyze the city, the program, the good and bad of the city as well as the bottom line. If you got a problem, @me on Twitter.
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91. Statesboro, Georgia – Georgia Southern
[credit]Georgia Southern's football tradition lay rooted in option football…God bless them. (Photo: Georgia Southern Athletics)[/credit]
Georgia Southern was the premier FCS program in the nation before they made the move up to FBS. The Eagles won six national championships, four in six years. Altogether the team played in eight national championship games from 1985-2000. Lucky for those in Statesboro, Georgia Southern entered the FBS in 2014 and joined the Sun Belt, AKA the "Fun Belt." A conference made up entirely of schools in the south. The games are competitive, traditionally high-scoring and…fun.
After starting FBS play going 18-7 in its first two years, the Eagles have taken a slide the last two, winning five games in 2016 and just two in 2017. Strangely enough, Georgia Southern's down years are also years where the team has strayed away from the option. The offense that garnered them so much success from the mid-80s to the 2000s. Why would anyone walk away from such a fantastically, simple yet dangerous offensive game plan?
Statesboro during the summer is the equivalent of watching paint dry
— Connor Scott (@connorfscott) May 20, 2018
To say that this is a verified statement would be a disservice to the public's sensibility and twitter as a credited source. What should be noted is that even the city's tourism website touts its proximity to Savannah as one of the main draws to Statesboro. The liveliness of Statesboro survives by the college population that feeds the city. There is nothing really to do outside of the main area.
The city is too far from any major hub to provide the colorful characteristics that make a college town unique. That is unless you want to go to Savannah–which may be God's southern oasis in the United States of America (unofficially). 90 minutes east of Statesboro lies Hilton Head, South Carolina, another beauty of the South.
While the talent may not be at an elite level, the parity of the Sun Belt will entertain. Football talent is secondary in comparison to the Allman Brothers' hit song "Statesboro Blues". The song originally performed by Blind Willie McTell in 1928, the Allman Brothers made it famous in 1971. That recording ranked ninth on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time."
A confederate statue sits on the courthouse steps in Statesboro, an image invoking a painful past, tainted by slavery. If a city wants to contend to be a place of inclusion and higher learning then those beliefs should be rooted in the monuments and landmarks within the city. The fact this statue still stands falls flat on city aspirations.
Georgia Southern football's traditions lie in option football, which is one of the more spectacular things to watch live. If you want to continue that enjoyment, however, even the people of Statesboro would tell you to head east to Savannah.
NEXT: Top 100 College Football Towns: No. 92 – Buffalo, New York