Bowl Preview Bonanza, Part I

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AUTONATION CURE BOWL

AUTONATION-CURE-BOWL-LOGO1

SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (5-7) vs. GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS (6-6)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT

TV: CBS Sports Network

Las Vegas Line: San Jose State -2.5

The most unlikely bowl participant, Georgia State, fittingly draws another anomalous postseason team. San Jose State’s in the inaugural Cure Bowl by virtue of college football lacking enough 6-win teams to fill every bowl opening, and as a reward for its Academic Progress Rating.

To paraphrase the so hot Hansel, do we know what San Jose State’s doing today? No, but the Spartans are here, and they’re going to give it their best shot.

Keep an eye on Spartan jack-of-all-trades Tyler Ervin. Christian McCaffrey wasn’t the only Bay Area utilityman blowing it up in multiple phases this season, as Ervin compiled 1,469 yards rushing; 337 receiving; 597 on kick returns; and scored 15 total touchdowns.

Ervin also has one of the best Twitter handles in college football, @swaguru_.

Georgia State’s offense features its own noteworthy playmakers, namely quarterback Nick Arbuckle and wide receiver Penny Hart. Arbuckle is a California kid who went without recruitment from area schools like San Jose State.

But the real story of Georgia State’s remarkable turnaround is its defense in the second-half of the season. Starting with its win at Ball State, Georgia State has held 7-of-8 opponents to 23 points or fewer. Coordinator Jesse Minter’s done a remarkable job, which culminated in Week 14 with the Panthers holding Georgia Southern to just seven points, and safety Tarris Batiste winning FWAA National Player of the Week.

Georgia State’s play for the past month is inspired, and the significance of participating in the program’s first bowl should only further fuel the Panthers.

PREDICTION: GEORGIA STATE 27, SAN JOSE STATE 21

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