Pick: Georgia State Panthers vs. Memphis Tigers
College Football Week 3
Time: Friday September 14th, 2018. 7:00PM (EST)
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Memphis, T.N.
By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: GAST +25.5/MEM -25.5
The Memphis Tigers suffered a disappointing loss last week on the road against Navy 22-21 on a rain soaked field. The elements did not play into the Tigers’ favor against Navy’s ground and pound triple option attack. The Tigers held a 21-9 lead going into the 4th quarter but allowed 13 unanswered points to the Midshipmen resulting in just their 2nd regular season loss since 2016. This Friday Memphis looks for a rebound effort when they host the Georgia State Panthers at home in front of a nationally televised audience. Luckily for Memphis, this will be the perfect opportunity to regroup and regain confidence against a Panthers team on the heels of a 41-7 blowout loss against North Carolina State.
I know it’s easy to look at last week’s 34 point loss to North Carolina State and assume that the Tigers can accomplish the same feat with an even smaller point spread. To be clear, that is not my reasoning. In fact, Georgia State is a decent football team. Coach Shawn Elliott is trying to build up the program and is showing progress in his 2nd season. Elliott’s coaching staff made a big move over the offseason when they acquired junior college transfer quarterback Dan Ellington. Ellington has shown a ton of potential in his first two starts and should continue to improve as the Panthers move forward. The biggest problem Georgia State has currently is that Ellington has a very poor supporting cast.
Reasons Memphis will cover
The main reason that I think Memphis is still the team to bet on this week is that the offense has too much firepower. Mother Nature hurt the Tigers’ offensive speed last week on a wet field but give credit to Navy because they dominated the time of possession by controlling the football for 42 minutes. Obviously when you limit an explosive offense’s chances, then disappointing results are probable. However make no mistake about it, Memphis is still a very good football team and they have a ton of talent. Georgia State does not have the offensive line nor the talent to dominate the line of scrimmage. Therefore, I have a hard time believing that the Panthers are going to move the football consistently which will give the Tigers plenty of offensive opportunities.
To be clear, I am not saying that Georgia State will not have some success. Coach Shawn Elliott is a former offensive line coach. His current quarterback is a dual threat guy that can run the ball well which plays perfectly to Elliott’s coaching style. I believe they will see some things on film that will help them move the football. However, I don’t think it will be enough to keep pace with the Memphis offense. Once the Tigers get a comfortable lead, I believe the game flow will force Georgia State to throw the football more than they would like which is not their strength.
Too much offense
Before last week’s 22-21 point loss to Navy that was a result of just 18 minutes of offense, Memphis had built a reputation as an explosive scoring threat. The Tigers hung 66 points against Mercer in the opener and returned nearly an entire group of starters that recorded 10 wins in 2017. If you remember, this is the same offense that took UCF to the brink in the American Athletic Championship in a 62-55 double overtime loss. The backfield is loaded with Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr who combined for just less than 2,000 yards last year. Furthermore, quarterback Brady White had a poor 2nd half in the loss against Navy. However, I feel like that had a lot to do with the field conditions. White is a solid quarterback and admittedly needs to play better in the clutch. I believe we will see a better performance this week as Memphis gets the opportunity to open the playbook with the help of several opportunities courtesy of a strong defensive effort.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Memphis -25.5