Georgia Southern 2017 Football Schedule Released

March 1st is a little slice of Christmas for Sun Belt fans as the 2017 football schedule has now been released. For Georgia Southern fans, it’s a fairly favorable schedule, overall.

Georgia Southern Football Schedule

So, let’s break this down. First up, there is no massive road stretch like last season. In 2016, the Eagles had a period where they were gone for nearly the entire month of October and that included a tough series of games. This year? There are some road trips, but nothing major on the order of last season. There are only two games on the schedule when the Eagles play consecutive weekends in Statesboro.

The other good thing is that other than travelling TO Indiana and then playing Arkansas State at home, there are no sets of games that should be set up to give us a series of tough games. That’s assuming everyone else plays at the same level as last year and the Eagles markedly improve, though. That’s no guarantee. In fact, it’s probably not going to happen. We can hope the Eagles improve, but other teams probably will, as well.

The Schedule:

1) September 2nd, @ Auburn – This will be a tough game. I know a little bit about Auburn, so I know what the Eagles are up against. I also remember the last time Georgia Southern opened the season against Auburn, too. I was at that game in 1991. It was so much fun for the first half. Auburn returns literally (1) every major playmaker on offense and added an upgrade at QB. The defense lost some key pieces, but I expect it to be as stout. This is probably a loss. Hopefully, it’s still a good game.

2) September 9th, New Hampshire – The FCS game on the schedule. These should be wins, but we really don’t know how Georgia Southern is going to look on offense or defense just yet, and UNH isn’t exactly a pushover. It’ll be the home opener, so hopefully, the home crowd and some excitement over the offense can help push the Eagles to a big victory that makes a statement of where this team is. Chalk it up as a win.

3) September 23rd, @ Indiana – Is this winnable? That depends a lot on how the offense is playing. The Hoosiers were a bowl team last year and gave a pretty good Utah team a run for their money. They didn’t do too bad against Michigan, either. They’ll be playing for a new head coach, though, with the whole Kevin Wilson fiasco. I’m giving this a push. It could be the first P5 win as a FBS team, but it’s going to take great effort and a team vastly improved over what we saw last year. The good news is that the Eagles have a bye between the UNH game and this one to work on what worked and what didn’t in the first two games.

4) October 4th, Arkansas State – No game exemplifies my frustration with last season more than Arkansas State. That’s back when I still had hope. I was still defending parts of the play calling and coaching staff. That was gone by the end of this one. That is a game that Georgia Southern absolutely should have won – and won big. Instead, the offense was inept and Arkansas State capitalized and took advantage of what Georgia Southern was doing – and failing to do. I don’t know what all the Red Wolves have coming into this one, but it’s at Paulson Stadium and I think this is one Tyson Summers will definitely have marked to emphasize to the team. It’s a Tuesday night game, which gives the Eagles another break to work on things between the Indiana game and this one. It’s going to be close, but the Eagles pull this one out at home.

5) October 14th, @ New Mexico State – Last year’s game against the Aggies was ugly. Very ugly. Let’s hope the Eagles look much better in this one. It should be a win, especially without the travel to Las Cruces involved.

6) October 21st, UMass – For the first time, Georgia Southern will travel to Amherst, Massachusetts to take on the Minutemen. The last game between these two featured Georgia Southern’s Adrian Peterson putting up a ridiculous 333 yards in the quarterfinals of the 1999 playoffs while suffering from the flu. UMass is an independent in football, now, and since this one is in late October, it’s liable to be pretty cold. UMass was very not good in 2016, finishing 2-10. This should be a win.

7) October 28th, Troy – The Trojans had a great team last season. They’re going to be a great team this year. They’re going to want revenge in for what happened last season with Georgia Southern helping to kill their Sun Belt title dreams. This is another that could come to the wire, but I’m going to give the Trojans this one, right now.

8) November 4th, @ Georgia State – To say we owe the Panthers is an understatement. Tyson Summers knows how important this game is, overall, but I think he also understands how important this game is to his future at Georgia Southern. A great year and another inexplicable home loss to Georgia State, and no one will suffer him not being shown the door. This better be a win.

9) November 9th, @ Appalachian State – I hate to say this, but this is probably a loss. It’s Thursday night in early November in Boone. Playing in Boone is already a bad recipe for success to the Eagles, lately. Playing on Thursday night in the cold? That’s even worse.

10) November 18th, South Alabama – The Eagles have had the Jags’ number so far in the Sun Belt. That should continue, particularly with this being the last home game of the year. I’m calling it a win, right now.

11) November 25th, @ Louisiana – Another game from last year that exemplifies the 2016 season. Georgia Southern – if they offense is clicking – should win this one. I’ll give it a push.

12) December 2nd, @ Coastal Carolina – The Chanticleers are transitioning to FBS. I’m not a huge fan of getting them at their place in the last game of the season – when they’ve had a chance to get everything together and learn offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell’s offense effectively. Given the difference in talent levels on the rosters, this should be a win. Should be. Don’t underestimate how much Chadwell may want this one since he wasn’t offered the Georgia Southern job after the 2014 season.

Overall:

I’ve got this looking like a likely 8-4 season, which is definitely good enough for a bowl game. The ceiling is 10-2, most likely. The floor? Well, let’s not talk about that. It’s not an easy schedule by any stretch, since 7 of these teams played in bowl games last year. What hurts the Eagles more than anything in the race for the Sun Belt title is having to play Troy, Appalachian State, AND Arkansas State with only one of those as a home game. In addition, the Eagles play normal Sun Belt power Louisiana. That’s no easy conference slate. Georgia Southern should return enough playmakers on offense, though, that they should be able to get back to the basics of the option quickly and be a terror for a number of those teams.

So much depends on what the offense will look like and if the Eagles can find a QB to effectively run the option and how well the defensive front performs. Last year’s issues there were a big part of the Eagles’ struggles. Of course, I still think some of those issues can be tied to the lack of a true Strength & Conditioning Coach and program. I still owe a look back at the 2016 season, and I’ll hopefully get to that very soon.

Regardless, we should know more about how these games may play out in the coming weeks after Spring Practice in Statesboro.

Hail Southern!

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