Continuing the A-to-Z series:
Can Georgia State produce its first winning season as an FBS program this year?
It lost the chance last year by being beaten by San Jose State in the Cure Bowl. Instead of going 7-6, the team went 6-7. Not producing a winning record is something the players have forgotten, despite the good feelings and positive forecast produced last year.
So, how can Georgia State come up with its first winning season?
There are a few key games that should determine the probability:
Sept. 2 vs. Ball State: The Panthers can’t drop the season-opening home game to a team with a new coach and new systems. It will be tough to find film to study, but this is a game the Panthers should win. However, last year’s season-opening loss to Charlotte in the Dome isn’t something anyone should forget.
Sept. 10 at Air Force: The Panthers played better on the road or at neutral site games (4-3) last year than at home (2-4), so it’s not unreasonable to think that the Panthers can win this game. Whether they will is obviously a different question. Beating the Falcons, which went 8-6 overall, 6-2 in the Mountain West, would be a major achievement for Georgia State because it has posted just one win against an FBS team from outside of the Sun Belt Conference. That, of course, came last year at Ball State.
Let’s say the Panthers win both of these games to finish 2-1 (loss at Wisconsin) to end September.
October, as I wrote in the O chapter in this series, is huge.
It’s not unreasonable to think that, after going 2-1 in September, the Panthers could be 6-2 by the end of October. Note, I said unreasonable, not probable. The Panthers should beat Texas State at home. Playing at South Alabama on Oct. 29 is more of a toss-up.
The next key game is Nov. 12 vs. Louisiana-Monroe, which was simply awful last year. The game is sandwiched between monster games against Arkansas State on Nov. 3 and Georgia Southern on Nov. 19 in a three-game homestand. It would be easy for the Panthers to overlook the Warhawks, but should they drop one of the games at Air Force or South Alabama it will become a must-win game.
Let’s say that the Panthers are either 5-6 or 6-5 after these first 11 games, the final key game is obviously the last at Idaho on Dec. 3. The Vandals won’t be an easy opponent. It certainly won’t be an easy trip, particularly at the tail end of a season with the possibility of a bowl berth and/or winning record at stake.
Football A-to-Z series