Continuing the Georgia State football A-to-Z series.
Quick recap: the Panthers went 6-7 last season with that last loss coming in the team’s first bowl game, the Cure Bowl in Orlando against San Jose State.
Coach Trent Miles will return seven-eight starts on offense (depending upon your definition of what makes a starter) and nine on defense.
The team should be picked to finish in the top half of the media polls and, if not for the lock that Appalachian State will likely have on first-place votes, might even receive a vote or two in that category.
Anyway, off we go:
N is for non-conference
Georgia State’s football team has an interesting slate of non-conference games this season:
Sept. 2 vs. Ball State
Sept 10 at Air Force
Sept. 17 at Wisconsin
Oct. 22 vs. Tennessee-Martin
It’s still a mystery why the Panthers scheduled a home-and-home with the Falcons, but this game in Colorado Springs will wrap up that contract and will likely be the last non-conference game the Panthers play that far west of the Mississippi River for a long, long time. The philosophy is to play teams in the East, particularly in the region, something you’ll notice when you look at the schedule posted below.
Of this year’s four games, Georgia State should have a shot to win three. Going 2-2 wouldn’t be bad and would put the team on pace to make a bowl for the second consecutive year.
The Panthers defeated Ball State in Muncie, Ind. last year in a pivotal turning point for the program. The Cardinals have a new coach and this will be their first game playing for him.
The Falcons are always a tough game because they do what they do on offense very well. But the Panthers did a solid job against option offenses in the last half of the season. With nine starters returning, it stands to reason that should continue as long as the offense isn’t making mistakes and putting the defense in difficult situations.
Defeating the Badgers would be a huge upset and would buck the Panthers’ not-surprising history of getting walloped by schools from the more-prestigious conferences (previous games/losses include Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, as well as losses to Air Force, Houston and San Jose State).
Tennessee-Martin is homecoming.
The future non-conference games are:
2017: vs. Tennessee State, at Charlotte, at Penn State and vs. Memphis
2018: vs. Kennesaw State, at N.C. State and at Memphis
2019: at Tennessee
2020: at Alabama and at Charlotte
2021: vs. Army, vs. Charlotte, at Auburn and at North Carolina
2022: at Army, vs. Charlotte, vs. North Carolina
2023: at Charlotte
2024: vs. Vanderbilt
2025: at Vanderbilt