Tensions, anxiety, excitement and anticipation grows the closer we get to the start of yet another college season. Every team has questions their fans want answers to and the Georgia State Panthers are no exception. Never fear… I will give you my answers to those burning questions.
Who is going to start at quarterback?
Coach Miles has this answer locked up and secured tighter than the gold at Fort Knox and he likely won’t reveal that answer till the day of the game and maybe even at kick off. This is a three-headed race between Utah graduate transfer Conner Manning, Aaron Winchester and JUCO transfer Jaquez Parks. Emiere Scaife is still listed at QB on the official roster at GeorgiaStateSports.com, but #12 was noticeably absent at the open scrimmage August 20.
I think Coach Miles and Coach Huard will point to two things as they zero in on their decision on who will take the reins under center for the Panthers in 2016. Consistency and decision making. There is no doubting that Winchester has a rocket for an arm, and he very well may be the future for the Panthers under center. It is Manning, however, who has shown to be more consistent and made better decisions with the ball. I fully expect Manning to be the guy in 2016, but I have a feeling the coaches will want to get Winchester some valuable playing time, but it will be solidly Manning’s job to lose.
How many games will the Panthers win in 2016?
The Panthers raised the bar on what will be expected of them after a 6 win season and the programs first ever trip to a bowl game a season ago. With Georgia State’s purchase of Turner Field now official, 2016 is likely the last season the Panthers will play in the Georgia Dome. This season, Ball State, Texas State, UT Martin, Arkansas State, UL Monroe and that team from Statesboro all pay a visit to downtown Atlanta. I think Panther fans can expect to come away with a W in 4, possibly 5 of those games.
The away schedule for the Panthers is brutal particularly early in the season as they head west to Air Force, Wisconsin, App State, Troy, South Alabama, and closes the season at Idaho who will be playing their final game as a member of FBS. Georgia State will likely start 0-4 on their away schedule with Troy likely to be much improved over a season ago under second year head coach Neal Brown, but closing out their two remaining away games 2-0.
Will the Panthers return to a bowl game?
I think it is entirely reasonable to expect this team to match its record from a season ago, and perhaps improve by a game. Panther’s fans should start packing their bags and prepare now to make a return trip to a bowl game.
Woody is a staff writer for Peach State College Sports and the beat writer for The Signal covering Georgia State Football. He can be found on Twitter at @WoodyBass.