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It’s here: Time to show up and show out


September 05, 2018

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Folks, it is here. The grueling offseason is finally over. Last month I gave you my thoughts on the first half of the season, in which I predicted the Eagles being 5-1, with a possibility of 4-2. After much thought, and reading my own writing more than two weeks after thinking on it, I more realistically see the 4-2 being a real outcome, with 5-1 being a gratuitous reward. So, say the Eagles start 4-2, do they go bowling?

New Mexico State: The Eagles get some much needed rest after taking on Texas State on a Thursday Night skirmish, and nine days of rest will be quite beneficial for the trek to Las Cruces. The Aggies of New Mexico State are coming off a historic season in which they came to Paulson Stadium and knocked off the Eagles en route to their first bowl game in 57 years, in which they defeated Utah State in the Arizona Bowl. The Aggies do however lose Larry Rose III, who was pivotal to say the least in their campaign last year. Rose, who is a free agent in the NFL, had more than 800 yards last season. Even though he was a huge weapon, bear in mind that he did not play in Statesboro last fall. Another good thing going for the Eagles is the addition of Coach Bob Debesse. Debesse faced the Aggies six times (once each year) in his stint with the rival institution, University of New Mexico. The Lobos’ offense guided by Debesse conjured up a 4-2 record against the Aggies, and I believe this, compounded with the Eagles’ familiarity of New Mexico State leads to an Eagle win, 38-28.

Appalachian State: After a long trip out west to Texas and New Mexico, the Blue and White come back to the friendly confines of Paulson to take on our old foe in App State. The Mountaineers ride a three-game winning streak against Georgia Southern, and the environment will be as intense as ever, being on ESPNU under the lights of Glen Bryant Field. The Eagles have a few things going for them, however. Both defensive coordinators for the Mountaineers departed, including new Eagle DC, Coach Sloan, as well as multiple of the top defenders for the Boone bunch. Taylor Lamb also graduated on the offensive side of the ball, departing with his 2,700-plus yards through the air last year, and the next QB is still up in the air, as no one on the depth chart really has much prior experience in games. When it boils down to it, a rivalry game like Georgia Southern-Appalachian State can hardly ever be predetermined on paper, and I think the sheer emotion that Coach Lunsford and company can instill in our boys will be enough to prevail on a Thursday night, Eagles win 28-24.

Louisiana-Monroe: It has been two years since the Battle of the Birds last took place, in which the Eagles held on in Paulson by blocking a last minute field goal to win 23-21. That being said, it will be a fresh sight for Georgia Southern. Last year, the Warhawks were one of the more explosive offenses in the Belt, averaging over 450 yards per game, along with more than 30 points per game. This explosive offense returns Caleb Evans as the QB1 and his duo of RJ Turner and Marcus Evans as his top two targets. I don’t want to call this matchup a “trap game,” simply because everyone in the Sun Belt is on a somewhat similar level. However, after the emotion of the Appalachian State game, along with the fact I believe that Louisiana-Monroe will hop off the 4-8 train this year, if the Eagles do not come to Monroe with a clear mind and laser focus, Louisiana Monroe will take the game 34-28.

Troy: The Trojan Horse has fallen apart. I say that with pun fully intended, but Jordan Chunn, the 3,000-plus yard rusher: Gone. Brandon Silvers, 10,000-plus yard passer: Gone. Six defensive starters, who helped create the toughest defense in the conference: Gone. Now I list all of these departures, but do take it with a grain of salt. The offense returns four offensive line starters, and the defense does return four starters, all of whom made an All-Sun Belt Team last postseason. I am not here to say that Troy won’t make a bowl game, because I guarantee they will. I am here to say I wholeheartedly believe that they won’t win 10 games, and should not be considered a “lock” for Sun Belt East champions as some consider them. On top of this, they come to Paulson Stadium, on Senior Day. Because of these compounded on each other, I think the Eagles bust out for a 38-31 win.

Coastal Carolina: The Bash at the Beach gets a second round in as many years, thanks to the reconfiguration of the Sun Belt scheduling. Last year, hot off naming Coach Lunsford head coach, the Chanticleers, led by Jamey “Man with a Vengence” Chadwell. Coach Chadwell was quite miffed about being looked at in the 2016 offseason, only to be passed over as Tyson Summers was retained. The Eagles also seemed to overlook the final game in Conway, as the Teal Chickens ran amuck over us. This year, however, I do believe that Coach Lunsford will be looking for revenge of his own, looking for payback for spoiling his first game as full-time head coach. Eagles soar 45-21.

Georgia State: Last year was a heartbreaker, 2016 was an embarrassment, 2015 was an embarrassment, 2014 was how it should be. That’s all I will say about that, but the X-Factor is Penny Hart for the ACC (Atlanta Commuter School). If Brinson and Vildor can stop Hart, then the Eagles will be as dominant as the 1990s Braves were in Turner Field. Eagles win 56-28.

Overall, my take is that the Eagles get back to Bowl eligible this year, and compiling my revised 4-2 record from the first half of the season, along with the 5-1 of this half, Georgia Southern does have a realistic shot of getting eight wins if I am ambitious, nine or 10 if my ambition matches the performance of the Eagles. Heck, even seven wins is amazing, speaking that was the total amount of wins from the previous two years.

Final Thought: It’s time to GATA. Show up, show out. Put your foot on their throats, and don’t let up. I’m behind these Eagles, and you should be too!

 

 


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