The Georgia Southern Eagles begin their 2021 season in just a few short weeks.
While Chad Lunsford’s squad have one of the toughest schedules in program history following up a season that saw them win a bowl game, the Eagles still have the tools to turn in a strong campaign.
Sept. 4: vs Gardner-Webb
GS opens at home against Gardner-Webb. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are an FCS team, and a poor one at that. Before going 2-2 in 2020 due to a shortened spring season, Gardner-Webb turned in a 3-9 record in 2019. An Eagles win by less than two scores in this one would be highly unusual.
Prediction: Eagles win by at least 17.
Sept. 11: at Florida Atlantic
The FAU Owls got trampled by the Eagles in the December 2020 rendition of this matchup. However, that game was an offensive nightmare for both sides and should be seen as an outlier, not the standard.
With that said, momentum is a big part of football. GS will be just one week removed from its likely demolition of Gardner-Webb and FAU will likely have just been beat down by the Florida Gators. This will be a tighter game than in 2020, but still an Eagles win.
Prediction: GS wins by no more than a touchdown, going 2-0 to start the season.
Sept. 18: at Arkansas
This is where it could begin to unfold for Georgia Southern. Arkansas, while a basement dweller in the SEC, is still a strong football program. The Razorbacks had strong showings against the likes of Mississippi State and Auburn, showing their record is indicative of their opponents’ strength, not their weakness.
Week three is the earliest possible return date for QB Justin Tomlin, but it would be a herculean task to turn this into a win.
Prediction: A close first half, but Arkansas pulls away in the third.
Sept. 25: vs Louisiana
Georgia Southern begins their conference schedule with a tough one: reigning co-champion Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns are heavy favorites to repeat in the West division and is the odds-on pick to win the whole Sun Belt. The Eagles are 2-5 against ranked opponents, and 2-2 against ranked Sun Belt opponents. Louisiana is 24th nationally in the preseason Coaches Poll.
Prediction: UL is a nationally recognized name; Georgia Southern isn’t there, at the moment. Cajuns, easily, in this one.
Oct. 2: vs Arkansas State
Butch Jones will make his in-conference debut as head coach of Arkansas State against the Georgia Southern Eagles. By this point in the season, Jones’ Red Wolves will have already tuned his team up against Central Arkansas, Memphis, Washington, and Tulsa.
Prediction: Jones will turn around last season’s 2-6 Sun Belt performance. That begins with a win against Georgia Southern.
Oct. 9: at Troy
Following a three-game skid, the Eagles get a break. The Trojans are by no means a laughable team, but their roster and coaching staff scream borderline mediocrity. It is important Georgia Southern not fall victim to hubris and get caught flat footed, but they should win this one.
Prediction: Georgia Southern snags a much needed first Sun Belt win of the season.
Oct. 14: at South Alabama
South Alabama is a recently atrocious team with a rookie head coach in Kane Wommack. At this point in the season, the Jaguars could still be hunting for their first FBS win of 2021.
Prediction: Georgia Southern is 7-0 against South Alabama all-time. Do the math.
Oct. 30: vs Georgia State
This will be a fun matchup. Aside from the harsh in-state rivalry, both teams statistically mirror one another. State’s offense was fourth best in the Sun Belt last season, Southern’s was third worst. Southern’s defense, however, was third best while State’s was fourth worst.
Prediction: Rivalry games can go either way, but State is the better team. It won’t be easy, but the Panthers over the Eagles by a margin no greater than 10.
Nov. 6: vs Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina, like Louisiana, is a fringe Top 25 team. The Eagles will be able to stifle the Chants’ offense but won’t be able to generate enough points of their own to steal a win.
Prediction: Neither teams sees the end zone until the second quarter; CCU wins with under 28 points.
Nov. 13: at Texas State
This will be a crucial game for both Georgia Southern’s and Texas State’s head coaches. By this point in the season, both Chad Lunsford and Jake Spavital could be on the hot seat. A win by either team could save its respective coach’s job.
Prediction: Lunsford wins and coaches another day.
Nov. 20: vs Brigham Young
BYU’s only 2020 loss came against the Sun Belt’s Coastal Carolina. However, as mentioned, CCU is a tier above Georgia Southern. The Cougars could very well be playing for a playoff position at this point, so it’s full steam ahead for them.
Prediction: Cougars by at least 10. Could get ugly.
Nov. 27: at App State
Final week of the season! Both App State and Georgia Southern will be playing for bowl game placement; App State might even be pushing for the East division title. Southern’s defense must halt the rushing production of Camerun Peoples. If that can happen, the Eagles end the regular season with a win.
Prediction: Georgia Southern keeps Peoples to a season-low; Eagles win.
Conference record: 4-4