Elephants. Mountaineers. Ducks. Falcons.
Georgia State’s football team is jumping into its FBS era with both feet.
The Panthers, who will be led by a new coach, will play at Alabama and West Virginia, two teams that could play for the national championship this year, in 2013. Those opponents, combined with joining the Sun Belt Conference next year, will be the toughest schedule the Panthers have played in their short history.
Georgia State will play in Morgantown, West Va. in its first game against a Big 12 team on Sept. 14 and at Alabama on Oct. 5. The Panthers will receive $550,000 for the game against the Mountaineers and $700,000 for the game against Tide. It will be the second time Georgia State has played at Alabama. They were beaten 63-7 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2010.
Those aren’t the only challenging games the Panthers have scheduled. They will play at Oregon, which has become a perennial national power, in 2015. They will receive $900,000 for the game. In between, the Panthers will host Air Force in 2014 and then finish the home-and-home series in Colorado Springs in 2016.
Rounding out the non-conference portion of the 2013 schedule, Georgia State will host host Chattanooga on Sept. 7 and Jacksonville State on Sept. 21. The Panthers have played the Gamecocks twice, losing in 2010 and 2011. Georgia State hasn’t played the Moccasins. The Sun Belt schedule will be released early in 2013. The non-conference schedule dictates that the Panthers’ season-opener will be against a Sun Belt team.
The games against Chattanooga and Jacksonville State, which should bring more fans than the Colonial Athletic Association teams on this year’s schedule, should help improve Georgia State’s home attendance.
The NCAA mandates that FBS teams have an average home attendance of at least 15,000 once in a sliding two-year window. Georgia State is playing an FCS schedule as it continues the first year of its two-year transition to FBS, but its two-year window began this year. Failure to meet that minimum this season or the next could result in a 10-year probation for the school. Failure to meet the attendance minimum within that probationary period could result in a bowl ban. Georgia State is averaging 12,356 fans this year.
9/7 vs. Chattanooga
9/14 at West Virginia
9/21 vs. Jacksonville State
10/5 at Alabama
vs. Air Force
at Air Force
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu