This article was originally published to The Collegian.
By now preparations for the upcoming football season are in full swing. Excitement o four preferred team’s future is at a paramount. One of the most popular ways to catch up on everything for your team is to obsess over the various preseason magazines.
If you were to collect the 5 most popular that would hit your wallet for a good $50. Save it for the party…I mean school. I’ve done the hard work by extracting condensing the information needed into highlights from what the preseason magazines have to say about Georgia State football.
ESPN the Magazine College Football Preview
–ESPN FPI (Football Power Index) indicates the Panthers could reach 4 wins this season. Best win percentages on this year’s schedule are UNC Charlotte (70 percent), Liberty (82 percent), South Alabama (55 percent) and Troy 63 percent).
–To defeat the Panthers, you have to force turn overs in a pass happy offense. GSU has 30 turnovers in 2014, 18 of those were interceptions. (For the record, I fully expect the running game to be better this year.) Defensively, the Panthers defensive line allowed 303 yards per game last season and all 4 starters return in 2015.
–On the flip side, GSU can and likely will continue to beat you through the air. The Panthers, with QB Nick Arbuckle under center, managed the 15th best passing attack in all of FBS with 3,283 yards. Defensively, the Panthers didn’t do a whole lot to play a part in helping put too many in the W column, but this group is more experienced and should help with some retooling of the defensive schemes.
Harris College Football 2015 Preview
–Harris believes that the offensive line, while each player returning for the Panthers this upcoming season has had at least one start, did not have very stellar play a year ago and will likely not be very stellar again this year.
–While pass protection is likely to be an issue, Nick Arbuckle is likely to have another great season with his arm. Fortunately, he has WR Donovan Harden, Robert Davis (who combined accounted for 99 receptions, 1617 yards and 9 TDs), TE Joel Ruiz and have UAB transfer Nyiakki Height joining in on the fun in 2015.
325 pound JUCO transfer Julien Laurent was brought in to bolster the front seven void of talent and will join Joseph Petersen and Trey Payne. Additionally, GSU added UAB talent (Bobby Baker and Demarco Davis) to an already serviceable (but in my opinion untested) secondary.
Lindy’s College Football National 2015 Review
–According to Lindy’s, the Panthers will end up 10 when all is said and done this season stating that “a friendly schedule could net the Panthers more than just one victory.”
–WR Donovan Harden, TE Joel Ruiz, LB Joseph Peterson all appear on Lindy’s All Sun Belt Team and also mentions Joel Ruiz as an NFL talent who is a “rangy, solid receiver” and LB Michael Shaw the team’s top newcomer.
–Projected starters on offense are Arbuckle (QB); Neal (RB); Harden, Davis, Smith (WR); Ruiz (TE), Ivory, Evans, Folau, Moore and Roldan (O-line).
–Projected starters on defense are Cheridor and N. Lawrence (DE); J. Lawrence (NG); Shaw, Payne, Peterson, McGee (LB); Dukes and Sullivan (CB); Batiste and Williams (S); Lutz (K/P).
Sporting News 2015 College Football
–Sporting News doesn’t exactly hide the fact that they do not provide equal treatment to all teams. Where most teams, even in the SunBelt, are receiving at least half a page of analysis… GSU, New Mexico State and Idaho all shared one page.
–The magazine ranks the Panthers recruiting efforts as dead last in the conference with 18 total players in the latest class and only 2 with 3 stars and expected to finish 2015 ranked ninth in the SunBelt.
Phil Steele’s 2015 College Football Preview
–Phil Steele has tabbed Georgia State as the Sun Belt’s bottom feeder for 2015 but notes the Panthers could finish higher based on Head Coach Trent Miles experience turning around programs from the basement to 6 wins in his third year.
–No Panther from any position group made Steele’s top draft eligible players nor did any position group even find a blip for any honors on his radar.
–According to this preview, the Panthers have the 115th toughest schedule (down from 96 a season ago) in all of FBS, but is also considered the most overrated schedule based on the NCAA rankings. The Panthers opening opponent, UNC Charlotte, has the worst schedule.
–Harden, Ruiz and Peterson once again all appear as First Team Preseason Sun Belt Conference team and Will Lutz making second team.
Woody Bass is a staff writer at The Collegian and can be found on Twitter as @WoodyBass.