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Kennesaw State running back Shaquil Terry tiptoes the sideline against Presbyterian in last season’s game at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. This weekend, the Owls will make the trip to Clinton, South Carolina, to face the Blue Hose for the final time before they shift into the non-scholarship Pioneer League.

KENNESAW -- On Saturday, Kennesaw State will head to Presbyterian College for the last time. 

The Blue Hose football program will leave the Big South Conference following the season. It is no longer offering athletic scholarships and will join the Pioneer League, a conference of non-scholarship Division I teams.

As Presbyterian leaves, it will be the third program to depart the Big South since Kennesaw State joined the conference in 2015.

In fact, when the Blue Hose end the season, Kennesaw State, at five seasons, will be the team with the fourth-longest tenure in the seven-team conference after Charleston Southern (18 years), Gardner-Webb (18) and Monmouth (six).

Two other teams to leave the Big South were two of its best -- three-time champion Coastal Carolina and four-time champion Liberty. Both made the move to the Football Bowl Subdivision, with Coastal Carolina joining the Sun Belt Conference and Liberty an FBS independent.

Among the holdovers, Charleston Southern is on its third coach in four years and was put on probation with scholarship limitations following the 2018 season. The Buccaneers' downfall, with a 11-12 record over the last two-plus seasons, has left two-time defending champ Kennesaw State and Monmouth -- football-only members of the conference -- as the standard-bearers. 

Because of the current setup, it has been difficult for Kennesaw State to build any kind of consistent rivalries. Coach Brian Bohannon said it is something that is being addressed, but there is not a lot he or the Owls can really do about it. 

"All we can do is go be the best at what we can do," Bohannon said. "There's been some ebb and flow and change, and that seems to be the world we live in. I think a lot of that goes on and we have to navigate it. 

"We have some new teams in the league that are really good football programs. Some of them we haven't played, and we don't know that much about yet."

Kennesaw State will face the new teams in the near future.

North Alabama, a traditional Division II power, joined the Big South this season and will visit Kennesaw State on Oct. 26. The Owls will travel to second-year member Campbell on Nov. 9, one year after beating the Camels 49-0 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. 

On Nov. 16, Kennesaw State will travel to Virginia to face a Hampton team led by former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois.

After five years of upheaval, it is hopeful the conference will remain stable going forward once Presbyterian completes its exit. 

"We want to be as stable as we can in the league," Bohannon said. "We want to be as good as we can as a league and do everything we can to promote the Big South. 

INJURY UPDATE

Bohannon said the Owls are still beat-up and he does not expect the players who missed last week's game -- defensive lineman Andrew Butcher, running back Cade Radam and offensive linemen Sam White and Alexander Feliz -- to be ready this week. They all are dealing with upper-body injuries.

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(1) comment

Cade Gallagher

Standard bearers? Just those 2? That is ridiculous. CSU is still a very capable football team and has long been a member of the big south so you can show some kind of decency

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