Matchups of nationally ranked college football teams have become almost routine in Columbia and Clemson.
But such a sporting spectacle hasn’t been held in our community since No. 6 Elon hung on for a 27-23 victory over No. 21 The Citadel at Johnson Hagood Stadium on Oct. 11, 2008.
And there has never been a game between ranked teams at Charleston Southern University.
That changes today, when Coastal Carolina plays Charleston Southern in a 1 p.m. showdown at Buccaneer Field.
The 9-0 Chanticleers are ranked No. 3 in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches’ poll. The 9-1 Buccaneers are No. 16.
To the victor will go first place in the Big South Conference — and dramatically elevated chances of winning the league title and an FCS playoff berth.
CSU’s 2013 success continues an impressive upward trend. After going 0-11 in 2011, the Bucs bounced back with a 6-5 record last year.
Then with Jamey Chadwell taking over as head coach this season, the Bucs won their first seven games before falling at the University of Colorado. Along the impressive way, the Bucs earned a national football ranking for the first time in school history.
They also won the unofficial local championship with their 32-29 comeback victory at The Citadel in the season opener.
Adding to today’s Coastal Carolina-CSU spotlight: Both the South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers are off this week — and The Citadel is playing at Elon on Saturday.
So go Bucs.
And if you want to see two nationally ranked teams playing for high stakes, head for Buccaneer Field.