Pregame Thoughts…Is the Game More Important for GSU or KSU?
Kennesaw State @ Georgia State
I’ve been fairly quiet about this matchup because I’m not guaranteeing a Kennesaw State win, in fact I think this game is more of a coin flip than I want to admit. On one hand, we have the veteran QB while Georgia State has a JUCO transfer who’s never even faced an FCS defense before – and then on the other hand, GSU has the home field advantage. The one available betting line on the internet opened as a PUSH and then shortly after it came out, it flipped to having KSU listed as a one point favorite, and just this morning it has moved to KSU being 1.5 point favorites.
This past weekend I was a guest on a GSU podcast, and I was asked a simple question, but it was a question that got me to really think: “Is this game more important for GSU or KSU?” I responded that I felt the game was obviously very important for both schools, but it was “more important” for GSU, and I got the sense that I caught the hosts by surprise as they started playing devil’s advocate and made their case for why they think it’s more important for KSU. Perhaps they wanted me to say that the pressure is on KSU to help feed a narrative – I just don’t know.
If Kennesaw State wins, we would get bragging rights for beating an in-state FBS geographical rival that is 30 minutes away…ON THE ROAD. We would have just beaten a program that has a 22 scholarship advantage over us, and has been around 3 times as long, which would definitely boost recruiting. It would also mean starting the year with a huge FBS win in the bank, that may come in handy later in the season should things not continue as smoothly against other formidable opponents during conference play.
If GSU wins, they would also get bragging rights in-state, and they would also continue to build on their momentum from last year’s Cure Bowl win over WKU.
BUT BUT BUT, GSU also has everything to lose – not including the $135,000 they forked over to KSU to even play the game in the first place! GSU just completed their first winning season since their inaugural year of FCS ball, and for a program that has been built on years of disappointment in talent-rich Atlanta, they FINALLY have a chance to make a mark vs. a local recruiting rival in KSU and try to improve on their 7-5 record. Can they finally get two winning seasons in a row? (KSU currently has 3 winning seasons in a row).
When this game was scheduled, I can all but guarantee GSU didn’t think they would be playing a Top 5 FCS team with an FCS All-American at QB. Should GSU lose, they would have just lost their season opener for the second season in a row, both at home, vs. FCS schools. Last year they lost to Tennessee State, a 6-5 team from the 1 bid Ohio Valley Conference – oh yeah, did I mention that Tennessee State lost to Jacksonville State 36-6 in the final game of the season? You might recall that Jacksonville State is the same team that KSU beat 17-7 in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Perception is everything – and an FBS school should not lose to an FCS school.
GSU Superfan, 247Sports writer, and a friend of mine, Ben Moore (@BenMoore247) is on record saying, and I quote, “There is not a single player on either side of the ball for KSU that would start at GSU. Talent gap is drastic.” This quote should motivate every Owl that puts on the Black & Gold on Thursday night – and is a clear example of the hubris on display from the media-face of a program that had as many FCS regular season losses as KSU last year.
Kennesaw State isn’t playing with house money. This game matters, it’s HUGE, and it’s very very winnable. But when it comes to the bottom line, GSU simply can’t stand another opening night loss at Turner Field, and if the players actually buy into what Ben Moore is selling – the high expectations could come crashing back to Earth in the blink of a Chandler Burks touchdown run. GO OWLS!