Start Time: 2:00 p.m. EST, Nov. 19
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Records: GS (4-6, 3-3 Sun Belt), GSU (2-8, 1-5)
Weather: It’s a dome.
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -3. Over/Under of 47.5
The most positive thing I can say about both teams going into this one is that the season is almost over. I’m sure after firing head coach Trent Miles, Georgia State is as eager to see the 2016 season finished as Georgia Southern is.
Georgia Southern Outlook
We’re nearing the end.
That’s the most encouraging thing I can take from this dumpster fire of a season. What should have been a farewell tour for Kevin Ellison, Favian Upshaw, Matt Breida, and the rest of the senior class has turned into a nightmare that seemingly has had no end in sight, and could wind up harming the program for years to come.
Georgia Southern has looked lethargic on offense all year. We know this. The team showed significant signs of improvement offensively against Ole Miss two weeks ago, and then squandered all that built up goodwill by effectively laying an egg last Thursday night against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Not having either of the starting quarterbacks in Ellison and Upshaw may have played into that against LA, but the play calling was as stale as we’ve seen it all year. Every handoff to Breida was straight up the middle for either one or no yards, and throwing the ball with freshman third-stringer Seth Shuman was the only recourse as the Eagles dropped their sixth game of the season.
People who read my previews and recaps can easily tell I am not an optimist by trade, but even in a season as bad as this one, I’ve struggled to find any sort of hope for the future under head coach Tyson Summers. Every coordinator/position coach he’s hired has looked utterly incompetent, and his forte of being defensively-minded has yet to show any signs of real results. This secondary may be young, but damn, they absolutely could not cover anyone if their lives depended on it.
There is an absolutely real chance that Georgia Southern shows up flat for the umpteenth time this year and gets run out of the Georgia Dome in front of tens of fans, a la last season’s meeting between these two teams.
Georgia State Outlook
Much like I prefaced this preview with, Georgia State is looking to get to the offseason just as quickly as the Eagles are.
Last season, the Panthers reached their first-ever bowl game after beating Georgia Southern 34-7 in Statesboro, but this season has been way downhill compared to 2015.
GSU dropped its first four games of the season, but defeated Texas State in game No. 5.
Since that win on Oct. 8, the Panthers’ lone other victory came over FCS opponent Tennessee-Martin.
Georgia State decided it had seen enough from head coach Trent Miles after last week’s 37-23 home loss to UL-Monroe, and the Panthers will focus their attention on putting this season behind them as soon as possible and trying finding Miles’ successor.
None of the offensive numbers for either team look particularly impressive, but if there’s one thing we can be sure of, it is that if opponents throw deep against the Eagles’ secondary, there is a 99 percent chance of a completion being allowed or a pass interference flag being thrown. That should be on the scouting report for Saturday.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, I think there is a real chance Georgia Southern sleepwalks through the rest of this season and gets beaten by State and Troy, ending up 4-8.
Roll up your “Paulson North” signs and stick them back in your closets. Even if the Eagles end up lucking their way into a win, it won’t be anything to write home about.
Georgia State wins a tight one, and grab the under.