Georgia State Panthers

A fan takes a photo of the sun setting behind Turner Field during a baseball game between Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Georgia State moving forward with buying Turner Field

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Since the day the Atlanta Braves announced plans to move out of Turner Field, Georgia State was very motivated to make the former Olympic-turned baseball stadium its new home. According to The Atlanta Journal-Consitution, Georgia State and Atlanta-based real estate firm Carter will be the proud new owners of a pre-owned baseball stadium.

The official sale is still in development, but Georgia State and Carter have been announced as the winning bidders for the venue. The plan was previously reported to be a joint venture in renovating the stadium into a football facility while also developing student housing, apartments, retail locations and more. he plan was supported by the mayor of Atlanta, and there were apparently not too many bidders standing in the way. The AJC reports two other bidders had interest in Turner Field location, but not much is known about those bids.

“After a through review of all the proposals, including in person presentations, the Board of the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority has a preferred bidder and will commence negotiations immediately,” board chairman William K Whitner said in a news release. “We will move forward expeditiously to ensure that we make meaningful progress toward determining the future of this historic neighborhood. AFCRA has been a long-time partner in this community and we fully appreciate the importance of negotiating with a developer that will have the community’s interest foremost in mind.”

Georgia State currently plays home game sin the Georgia Dome, which itself will soon be left vacant by its pro sports tenant. The Atlanta Falcons of the NFL are moving into a brand new football stadium in 2017. That is the same year the Braves are expected to open the doors on their brand new stadium in Cobb County.

San Jose State takes inaugural Cure Bowl over Georgia State

during the AutoNation Cure Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl on December 19, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.
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San Jose State claimed the inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl in a 27-16 decision over Georgia State Saturday night at a mostly-empty Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando.

The Spartans (6-7), who came in at 5-7 and earned their right to play in the postseason thanks to an impressive APR score, led nearly the entire way. After a scoreless opening frame, San Jose State got on the board on a 19-yard Austin Lopez chip shot with 11:05 to play in the first half. After forcing a three-and-out, star running back Tyler Ervin took the ensuing punt 85 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 10-0.

Georgia State (6-7) immediately responded with a five-play, 87-yard touchdown march punctuated by a 38-yard scoring strike from Nick Arbuckle to Donovan Harden.

Another Lopez field goal nudged the Spartans’ lead to 13-7 in the third quarter, but Georgia State briefly grabbed the lead thanks to a safety at the 12:44 mark of the fourth quarter and, after a 24-yard kickoff return following the safety, a four-play, 36-yard touchdown march, ended on a 19-yard pass from Arbuckle to Todd Boyd, giving the Panthers a 16-13 edge with 10:46 to play.

San Jose State immediately struck back with a three-play touchdown drive of their own, capped by a 42-yard keeper by quarterback Kenny Potter.

A 29-yard kickoff return gave Georgia State the ball at the 40, but 1st-and-10 at the 40 quickly became 4th-and-1 at the 49. After taking a timeout to think it over, head coach Trent Miles elected to throw it deep, and Arbuckle overshot an open Penny Hart streaking toward the end zone.

San Jose State methodically strolled 49 yards in 11 plays and more than five minutes, with the capper coming on a one-yard toss from Potter to tight end Josh Oliver with 2:40 to play.

Potter completed 10-of-19 throws for 89 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Ervin carried the day with 30 rushes for 132 yards in addition to his punt return score. Ervin’s 132 yards were enough to put him at 1,601 on the season, breaking San Jose State’s single-season rushing record.

The game proved to be a perfect swan song for San Jose State’s outgoing defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, who announced Friday that today’s game would be the last in a 41-year coaching career. His defense held Arbuckle, the nation’s sixth-leading passer at nearly 347 yards per game, to just 208 yards on 14-of-29 passing with two scores and one end-of-game interception. San Jose State also held six Panthers rushers to 23 yards on 20 carries.

The win gives Ron Caragher his first bowl victory in three seasons as San Jose State’s head coach and just the seventh in program history.

Georgia State was denied its first bowl win in program history — unlike Sun Belt bunkmate Appalachian State — but 2015 will still be viewed as a success for a program that came into the fall looking for its first FBS win of any kind.

San Jose State edging Georgia State halfway through Cure Bowl

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 02:  Head coach Ron Caragher of the San Jose State Spartans watches his players warm up before their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium on November 2, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. San Jose State won 34-24.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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San Jose State holds a slight 10-7 over Georgia State midway through the inaugural Cure Bowl.

After a scoreless first quarter, Austin Lopez opened the scoring for the Spartans with a 19-yard chip shot at the 11:05 mark of the second quarter. San Jose State forced a punt on the ensuing possession, and running back Tyler Ervin returned the boot 85 yards for a touchdown.

Georgia State answered with a swift five-play, 87-yard drive, capped by a 38-yard scoring strike from Nick Arbuckle to Donovan Harden. The Spartans held Arbuckle in check in the half, holding him to 5-of-11 passing for just 96 yards.

Ervin rushed 13 times for 62 yards to lead the Spartans. Kenny Potter completed 7-of-13 throws for 60 yards with a Hail Mary interception at the end of the half. Immediately prior to Potter’s interception the Spartans he had completed a Hail Mary to Tim Crawley for a touchdown, but the completion was negated due to a chop block.

San Jose State out-gained Georgia State 135-121 in the half while holding a 12-4 first downs edge.

Georgia State will receive to open the second half.

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 19 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 25: head coach Trent Miles of the Georgia State Panthers walks on the sideliens in the second half against the Georgia Southern Eagles at the Georgia Dome on October 25, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 19 bowl menu, which on “opening weekend” features five bowl games as the 2015 postseason officially kicks off.  Included in that quintet of contests is one bowl making its debut, another in just its second year as well as the holiest of Beehive State wars.

WHO: Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5)
WHAT: The 10th Gildan New Mexico Bowl
WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
WHEN: 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: The uncertainty over the availability of Arizona starting quarterback Anu Solomon (concussion) has some sportsbooks, including the one we use for lines, Bovada.lv, taking the game off the board.  If Solomon is healthy, the Wildcats would likely be double-digit favorites; without him, one could make a very good case for the Lobos.  In fact, the Wildcats went 0-3 in games that Solomon either didn’t start or didn’t finish because of injury.  Even with Solomon on the field for most of the last five games, though, UA still lost four of those.  UNM, meanwhile, comes into its first bowl berth since 2007 on a high, finishing out the season with wins over bowl-bound Utah State (6-6), Boise State (8-4) and Mountain Division champion Air Force (8-5).  The combination of how both teams finished the season, the uncertainty over Solomon and ‘Zona likely feeling underwhelmed with its postseason lot has a very motivated Lobos squad primed for an upset.
THE LINE: Off the board
THE PREDICTION: New Mexico 33, Arizona 27

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WHO: BYU (9-3) vs. Utah (9-3)
WHAT: The 24th Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium, Whitney, Nevada
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
THE SKINNY: This promises to be one of the best “non-marquee” bowl games of the 2015-16 cycle because not only are both teams coming into it with nine wins but because of the whole “Holy War” aspect, and in Sin City no less.  The two football programs have been on a sabbatical the last two seasons in a rivalry that’s seen 89 previous matchups, but will resume in the regular season beginning next season and running through 2020.  The Utes have won four straight in the series and nine of the last 12 meetings dating back to 2002.  The Cougars’ situation is somewhat muddled as their long-time head coach, Bronco Mendenhall, has accepted the same job at Virginia but will coach his “former” team in the bowl game.  After beginning the season 6-0 and with playoff talk dancing in their heads, the Utes muddled through the remainder of the schedule at 3-3.  Here’s to guessing the Cougars, winners of seven of their last eight, add to their rival’s late-season misery and send their old coach with off with his first bowl win since 2012 — especially if words can be used as motivation.
THE LINE: BYU, +3
THE PREDICTION: BYU 27, Utah 23

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WHO: Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2)
WHAT: The 2nd Raycom Media Camelia Bowl
WHERE: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: There were 21 teams that won 10 or more games during the 2015 regular/championship season; I’d bet you could make some pretty decent coin regarding Appalachian State’s inclusion in that select group.  And ASU’s two losses this year came against top-ranked Clemson in Death Valley and 2015 Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State.  Ohio University, not to be confused with Brady Hoke‘s derisive “Ohio” directed at Ohio State, had a near-perfect start to the season at 5-1, with the only loss coming by three at Minnesota… before they lost three in a row (two by a combined 66 points)… before they regrouped to win their last three by a combined 49 points.  The Bobcats are looking for their first bowl win since 2012, while the Mountaineers are playing in their first bowl game as an FBS program.  ASU is a touchdown favorite… and even that might be a little on the short side.
THE LINE: Ohio, +7½
THE PREDICTION: Appalachian State 45, Ohio 24

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WHO: San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6)
WHAT: The 1st Cure Bowl
WHERE: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
WHEN: 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
THE SKINNY: If you like underdog stories, tune into this one.  Georgia State went 3-29 from the beginning of the 2013 (first FBS season) through the eighth game of the 2015 season.  The Panthers then ripped off four straight wins — by double digits in each, no less — to close out the year and reach a level 6-6 to become bowl-eligible.  GSU’s Nick Arbuckle, one of the most prolific quarterbacks you’ve probably never heard of, is currently sixth in the country in passing yards with 4,160.  Its head coach, Trent Miles (pictured), will very likely be one of the hot names on the 2016 spinning of the coaching carousel.  As for San Jose State?  I have zero desire to discuss a sub-.500 team that doesn’t deserve a bowl bid.  And this isn’t to pick on the Spartans; rather, this will be a running theme throughout these types of posts when it comes to 5-7 teams getting an unwarranted and undeserved invitation to the postseason. [/steps off soapbox]
THE LINE: Georgia State, +3
THE PREDICTION: Georgia State 31, San Jose State 21

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WHO: Arkansas State (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
WHAT: The 15th R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Arkansas State lost its first two games of the 2015 season (USC, Missouri) then won nine of its last 10 to become the first team in Sun Belt history to go unblemished in conference play.  Louisiana Tech features the potent one-two punch of former Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel (14th nationally in passing yards with 3,575, 26th in pass efficiency) and touchdown machine Kenneth Dixon (83 career scores, tied for second all-time among FBS players).  One thing to keep in mind if you’re the wagering type when it comes to Driskel’s success through the air this season: the Red Wolves are currently 95th nationally against the pass, giving up an average of 251.9 yards per game; Driskel was held under that number just twice in 2015.  ASU did intercept 26 passes this season (No. 1 in the country), and Driskel tossed three in a season-ending loss to Southern Miss, so there is that if you’re on the Red Wolves side.
THE LINE: Arkansas State, +2
THE PREDICTION: Louisiana Tech 48, Arkansas State 45

Georgia State working on contract extension for head coach Trent Miles

Trent Miles
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Oh, what a difference a month makes.

Heading into this season, Trent Miles had yet to beat an FBS opponent in two seasons of trying. As recently as Nov. 13, Miles boasted a 3-29 record as the Panthers’ head coach. Then Georgia State won at Texas State, 41-19. Then they dusted South Alabama, 24-10, and Troy, 31-21. And finally, heading into a make-or-break game at rival Georgia Southern, the Panthers whipped the hated Eagles, 34-7, in Statesboro, no less.

That’s four straight wins, all by double digits, with a cumulative advantage of 130-57, allowing Georgia State to experience its first FBS win and its first bowl game (the Cure Bowl vs. San Jose State on Saturday) in the same season.

That’s also enough for Miles to earn a contract extension.

“We have had a fantastic season,” Georgia State athletics director Charlie Cobb told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “What I think has made this season a success is the coaches, players and everyone involved in the program have stayed in the moment. After the bowl game we will have big-picture conversations about how we make the program better.”

Georgia State returns 16 starters for 2016, and is expected to be a favorite for next season’s Sun Belt crown.

Miles has two years remaining on a five-year deal he signed upon taking the job after the 2012 season.