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"Crown us champions." Coach claims conference title, rips shirt off

Stephen F. Austin was among the first of the handful of FCS programs to spurn the rest of its subdivision's move toward a spring season in favor of remaining in the fall.

"IMO, playing a college football season in the spring, followed by another college football season in the fall, makes about as much sense as eating soup with a fork," SFA head coach Colby Carthel tweeted at the time.

This was a risky decision, to say the least. At that time, in late August, there was no guarantee the SEC, ACC and Big 12 would be able to actually pull a fall season off. The Big Ten and Pac-12 were still dormant, waiting to play in winter or spring. Testing was, and still is, expensive.

What hope could little old SFA have of actually pulling this move off?

The path has been full of ups and downs, as has every team's. The Lumberjacks opened with three games, all road games and all losses, against FBS opponents. They had a game postponed. Their head coach got COVID.

And, still, they pressed on.

That decision was rewarded on Saturday when SFA pulled out a 35-32 overtime victory over Abilene Christian. SFA and ACU are two of the three Southland Conference teams playing this fall instead of the spring, and Saturday's game was the only Southland v. Southland game of the season (Central Arkansas is the third team; UCA does not play either of the other two.)

As such, the teams dubbed Saturday's tilt the Southland Championship, and after the 'Jacks pulled out the win, Carthel -- who missed last game with the virus -- celebrated accordingly.

“It feels great to be a champion,” Carthel said. “We are the only ones that chose to play. 2020 Southland Champions. You can’t at me on that one. We are going to take it and be proud of it. This is a big win for our program, for our players, for our coaches and for our fans. We have gone through a lot to play this season as has Abilene Christian and the others that chose to play. Fortune favors the bold. We won this one and crown us champions.”

As we've seen elsewhere, celebrations have gone up a notch this season, and with good reason. Winning college football games is never easy, and that's especially true this season. When moments of celebration arrive, every program should err on the side of taking it a little too far.

In 2020, maybe every coach should take their shirt off after every win.

Okay, maybe not. But you get the point.