introduced Mercer as part of our "New SoCon Members" series, but in case you need a refresher, the Bears put football back on campus last season, which was the first since 1941.
Former Furman head coach Bobby Lamb's Bears, competing in the Pioneer Football League, finished with a statistically pleasing 10-2(6-2 conference) record.
However, they didn't necessarily take on the "cream of the crop", so to speak. In fact, four of their wins came against NAIA or Division III schools(Reinhardt, Warner, Berry, Carnegie Mellon), and still others came against struggling conference opponents like Davidson(0-11) and Valparaiso(1-10).
Another good point was brought up by Southern Pigskin: Mercer's young roster doesn't look very promising, especially coming straight into the SoCon fray.
Mercer's 2013 Season
The Bears ended their program's long hiatus with four straight wins, two of which came against NAIA Reinhardt (40-37) and Warner (61-0). The latter two consisted of a stomping of Division III Berry (43-0), and a 31-17 conference victory over Drake.
San Diego served Mercer their first loss, 45-13, but the Bears rebounded to take a 35-21 decision over Valparaiso. After routing Division III Carnegie Mellon 54-21, they won the next three Pioneer League contests, against Campbell (38-31), Davidson (51-26), and Jacksonville (45-42).
A swift 33-7 defeat at the hands of Marist, and a 41-14 thumping of Stetson concluded the campaign.
The Bears finished third in the Pioneer League, behind Butler and Marist.
Hopefully, the Terriers' attack can overcome the young Bears, and this will just be another win contributing to the playoff cause.
With the help of the VMI and Mercer contests, if we can step up our game and win not only the non-conference slate (which, other than Gardner-Webb, really doesn't matter in the committee's eyes), but the games that eluded us last season, theoretically, we're home free.
We've got a ways to go, and a relatively short time to get there, but our time will come(again). Maybe this revamped SoCon is just what we needed.