The first game of the FBS college football season kicks off tonight in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It will be the first of an action-packed week in the dome, which will later host Boise State and Ole Miss on Thursday and Alabama and West Virginia on Saturday. But tonight will see Georgia State get it all started with a home game against Abilene Christian, an FCS program. The Panthers are looking to pick up the first win on the football field in 683 days.
Georgia State is opening the 2014 season with plenty to look forward to. The young program is entering just the fifth season in program history. This season is the first the school is officially eligible for the FBS postseason, needing six wins to become bowl eligible. This is a big deal for the program, which was put on a fast track to the FBS in the realignment madness of the past few seasons. Getting a win against Abilene Christian would be a significant step in the right direction for the Panthers, coached by Trent Miles. Despite being a classification level above their opponent, Miles believes his program will be tested Wednesday night.
“Abilene Christian brings in a winning mentality because they’ve had eight straight winning seasons,” Miles said. “They’ll be just as talented, if not more talented, than we are, so it will be a battle.”
Georgia State is in the Sun Belt Conference, a conference that welcomes a couple of new members from the FCS this fall. Former FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern make the transition starting this season. I am not sure it would be appropriate to suggest Georgia State is a step ahead of either newcomer as far as the state of the programs are concerned, but the Panthers have been recruiting with the intention of being in the FBS longer than both FCS transfers. Either way, Georgia State getting to six wins may not be entirely out of the question this season, but a young defense is going to be put to the test along the way.
Whatever happens tonight, it is good to have college football back.
A helmet sticker to the Reddit community for the information.