This is the time of year all “experts” in the media predict how college football teams will fair this upcoming season. So I decided to join the party and inform Panther fans out there what the next 135 days is going to look like.
2 days – The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup be decided. Will the U.S. Men’s soccer team take home the big prize? I. Believe. That. We. Will. Win.
14 days – The Georgia State Panthers begin practice for the 2015 season.
43 days – The 49ers will travel to Atlanta to face the Panthers in the Georgia Dome. This will be UNC-Charlotte’s first foray into Division 1 football after going a meager after going 5-6 their first two years as an FCS independent. The 49ers will not likely have a very good year in their inaugural season in FBS. My prediction? A W.
51 days – The Panthers will pay a visit to New Mexico State University. In 2014, Georgia State fell to the Aggies in a 34-31 nail biter. This was the first in a series of games in 2014 where a defensive stop could have meant a win for the Panthers. The Aggies will be coming off what will likely be a major beating from the Florida Gators the week before. The Aggies might be favored headed into this game, but I think the Panthers can pull off the upset.
58 days – 7 days after potentially matching their entire win total from 2014, the Panthers will be making a business trip even further west to earn some cash to hopefully and eventually purchase Turner Field. Oregon isn’t likely to go too easy on the Panthers either. I think it’s safe to say this will be one for the L column.
72 days – The panthers will have had a week off after taking what is likely a pretty good beating by the Ducks. It also gave them time to prepare for their upcoming home game versus FCS opponent Liberty Flames. In 2014, Liberty went 9-5 and included a victory over the Panthers SunBelt rival Appalachian State. Panthers should win this game but must take the Flames seriously.
79 days – Speaking of the Mountaineers, they come into the Georgia Dome to face the Panthers. Last year, the Mountaineers put quite a beating on the Panthers, shutting them out 44-0. The weather may have factored into the 3 turnovers and only 62 yards total the entire game. Considering how well the state of Georgia handles snow, the Panthers should get a pass on this. The Mountaineers won’t have the same luxury in 2015, however, I think they pull out another W but only by 10 at most.
86 days – The Panthers hit the road again in a SunBelt versus MAC clash versus Ball State. The Cardinals are coming off a 5-7 season in 2014 but nearly came away victors against Iowa. Panthers will likely come back to Atlanta with an L, but I suspect they give Ball State a decent test.
100 days – After another open week, the Arkansas State Red Wolves will welcome the Panthers to attempt to settle the cats versus dogs debate. Last season the dogs had a pretty easy time of the cats with a 52-10 decisive win in the Georgia Dome. Arkansas State are a fairly established program thanks the likes of Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, and Bryan Harsin who have all moved on to bigger and better gigs. Expect the Red Wolves to make it 2-0 versus the Panthers all time.
104 days – Major League Baseball season will officially be over. Let us all rejoice! But no one cares about baseball anyway because they are all watching football.
107 days – OK, back to a sport that really matters – College Football. In 2014, the Ragin’ Cajuns barely managed a 34-31 W playing host to the Panthers. They make a trip to the Georgia Dome this year and to me this could be the game that proves the Panthers are heading in the right direction. If you want the one game the Panthers must win… this is it. Put it all-out there.
114 days – Last year the Bobcats laid it on the Panthers pretty good ending Georgia States season with a 54-31 loss. 2015, the Panthers should be able to make this one a lot closer if transfers Kendrick Dorn and Demarcus Kirk can burn some clock and help keep the other teams off the field. Texas State pulls out another W.
121 days – In 2014, the Panthers were 4 points away 3 times from having 4 wins. One of those three was a road trip versus the Jaguars where the Panthers were 5 minutes away from a victory until the Jaguars marched right down the field 85 yards in 1:02 minutes to take the lead and score the eventual game winning TD. This game will be close again, but I think the Panthers will be worn down by this point of the season due lack of depth.
128 days – The Panthers stay home 2 weeks in a row as the Trojans come rolling in on their horse with new head coach Neal Brown after a stint as Offensive Coordinator for the Kentucky Wildcats. The Trojans didn’t exactly have a very stellar 2014 either even if they defeated the Panthers by 24. I don’t expect the Trojans to go home with a W, but the Georgia State will make it not quite as easy in the Georgia Dome.
135 days – Remember how Georgia Southern was “forced” to enter Division 1 football after Georgia State decided to make the jump? Well now they are on a mission to make sure everyone across the state knows who the real GSU is, not to mention the team touted to repeat as SunBelt champions. The Eagles will likely dominate this match up with a Panthers rush defense allowed 613 yards on the ground in 2014. Georgia State just isn’t built to stop that kind of attack just yet.