Thoughts about Georgia State’s 2015 football schedule, of which the Sun Belt portion was released on Friday:
What a way to open. The Panthers, which went 1-11 last year, must fly to the West Coast on back-to-back weeks, 1,400 miles one way to Las Cruces, New Mexico for a Sept. 12 game and 2,700 miles one way to Eugene, Ore. for a Sept. 19 game.
Flights from Atlanta to El Paso, Texas start at $412, according to Travelocity.
Flights from Atlanta to Eugene, Ore. start at $496.
The good news is the team is off the next week.
The conference slate. Georgia State must play all six Sun Belt teams that went at least .500 in the conference last year. They are only conference team that will do that. Those teams are Appalachian State (6-2), Arkansas State (5-3), Louisiana-Lafayette (7-1), Texas State (5-3), South Alabama (5-3) and Georgia Southern (8-0).
Georgia State was outscored 283-130 by those teams last year. There were close losses to Louisiana-Lafayette (34-31) and South Alabama (30-27), and blowouts to the rest.
Overall. The Panthers must play seven teams with winning records overall: Oregon (13-2), Liberty (9-5), Appalachian State (7-5), Arkansas State (7-6), Louisiana-Lafayette (9-4), Texas State (7-5) and Georgia Southern (9-3).
Oregon, of course, lost in the national championship game last year. The Panthers have yet to defeat an FBS team.
Four teams played in bowl games.
Home stands. Georgia State won’t host more than two consecutive home games. That may not seem fair after those back-to-back long road trips but just two conference teams, Appalachian State and Texas State, will host three consecutive home games.
Bye weeks. Unlike last year, when Louisiana-Lafayette, Georgia Southern, South Alabama and Appalachian State had bye weeks before facing the Panthers, only Troy will get a true by week before facing them this year. Arkansas State will play on a Tuesday and South Alabama a Thursday the week before playing the Panthers.
Georgia State’s bye week will come before it hosts Liberty and before it plays at Arkansas State.
Georgia Southern. Many Panthers fans hoped that Georgia State would get to play Georgia Southern during rivalry week, which would be Nov. 28. Instead, they will tangle in Statesboro on Dec. 5, the week most conferences host their championship games.
Not done yet. Two games may move.
Georgia State is asking the NCAA for permission to move the opener against Charlotte from Sept. 4 to Sept. 2, a Wednesday. The Georgia Dome isn’t available on Sept. 3.
Georgia State is considering moving the Nov. 28 game against Troy to Nov. 27, a Friday.