Both the Georgia Southern Eagles and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers limp into the 2017 season finale with disappointing records. This one’s just for the diehards, but if that’s you, here’s how to tune in:
Start Time: 1 p.m. EST, Dec. 2
Location: Brooks Stadium, Conway, S.C.
Records: Georgia Southern (2-9, 1-5 Sun Belt), Coastal Carolina (2-9, 1-6)
Weather: 57 degrees at kickoff, 5 MPH winds, cloudy, 15 percent chance of rain
Betting Line: GS -2.5, Over/Under of 52
Georgia Southern Outlook
After a disastrous 0-9 start and the firing of head coach Tyson Summers, the Eagles turned it around to win two in a row under interim coach Chad Lunsford. The grand finale was Lunsford landing the gig on a full-time basis, and we’ll see how that turns out in 2018 and beyond.
Which leaves this game as sort of a strange appendage on the season. There’s not much to gain or lose, so what’s the point?
Well, it’s college football, and we don’t get enough of that, so here are some reasons to watch:
Georgia Southern ended the last four seasons with big-time, emotional wins. In 2013 it was beating Florida, 2014, winning the Sun Belt with a victory over ULM, 2015 it was the first bowl win and in 2016 an upset over Troy to gain some redemption for one of the best senior classes in school history.
2017? Well, we can send out another senior class with a big win, and Lunsford can notch his first W as a full-time head coach. It would also give Southern a 2018 recruiting boost.
The game has absolutely no bearing on bowl eligibility or anything else of substance, so perhaps we’ll see some new, experimental wrinkles in the offense to test out for next fall. It’s also the last game for seniors like running back LA Ramsby and linebacker Chris DeLaRosa, which is sad.
Most importantly: A win means we all get to watch another folding chair elbow drop. Don’t tell me you don’t want to see that.
Coastal Carolina Outlook
Coastal’s first FBS season was more or less derailed way back in July when head coach Joe Moglia went on medical leave. Brand-new offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell took over as interim coach and did his best to patch a season together.
The Chants are 2-9, which is really bad, but you can feel free to throw out a “not so fast my friend” regarding this team. Five of Coastal’s losses were by eight points or less. Seven times they’ve either had a fourth quarter lead or were within one possession.
They fell to SEC
power team Arkansas by just one point, 39-38, and beat UMass, who later stomped Georgia Southern and put an end to Summers’ tenure in the process. This could be a close game no matter how much the Eagles show up and/or show out.
Coastal won their last game, on the road at Idaho, by a score of 13-7.
Watch out for senior running back Osharmar Abercrombie and junior receiver Malcolm Williams, who has racked up 673 yards so far this season.
Starting quarterback Tyler Keane, also a senior, is expected to miss the contest owing to a sprained thumb. Junior Kilton Anderson will probably get the nod in his place. The 6-2, 220-pound Anderson is completing just 43.5 percent of his passes, with 6.12 yards per attempt and five touchdowns against two interceptions.
I was lucky enough to visit Conway when CCU faced GS way back in 2007 and can tell you: it’s a lot of fun. The fans tailgate and they know how to have a good time. It’s on the beach, which isn’t as awesome in December as it could be, but still. The stadium is nice and Coastal enjoys something of a dedicated following.
The Eagles won then, and also beat the Chanticleers in 2006 and ‘10 to own a 3-0 advantage in the series.
It’ll be senior day in Conway. They’ve struggled a bit with attendance this year, though word has it Southern fans are gobbling up tickets pretty fast. We could be in for a neutral site feel come Saturday.
The line opened for this game as a pick ‘em, then Southern quickly moved out to a 2.5-point favorite. Can Lunsford keep up the momentum and excitement as a full-time head coach?
I think so, at least for this game. GS will be more fired up, more motivated playing for its new leader and will edge out a close-ish win.
Georgia Southern 24, Coastal Carolina 14