Clay Helton came to Georgia Southern with the goal of turning a triple-option offense into a high-flying spread attack with a passing game. Mission accomplished?
Georgia Southern’s offense exceeded expectations in 2022, helping the Eagles to a 6-7 record that included four losses by one possession. They were good! Helton leaned on Buffalo transfer Kyle Vantrease at quarterback, but he’s since graduated.
BetMGM lists Georgia Southern’s regular-season win total at 6.5 games, with +120 odds for the over and -145 odds for the under. The college football betting odds suggest Georgia Southern is expected to be in the mix for a bowl game in 2023, although it’s not a guarantee the program reaches six wins again in 2023.
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM!
Quarterback Options Aplenty
For Georgia Southern to match its 2022 success, the Eagles will need to find someone to replace Vantrease’s 4,253 passing yards. Fortunately, they have options.
Tulsa transfer Davis Brin is a strong option, having thrown nearly 700 passes during his collegiate career. His passing ability would fit well in Georgia Southern’s offensive scheme, and he’s plenty capable of picking up where Vantrease left off a season ago.
Tarleton State transfer Beau Allen is another quality candidate, having started his career at Kentucky. Allen played well for Tarleton State last fall, and he should push Brin throughout the competition.
There’s reason to believe in Georgia Southern’s offense, which finished third in the Sun Belt in scoring last season behind only App State and JMU. The Eagles can score with the best of them, and the offense should give defenses fits again in 2023.
Whoever wins the quarterback battle will face a tough schedule, though. Georgia Southern, in addition to its conference schedule, plays at Wisconsin on Sept. 16. The Eagles also play The Citadel, UAB, and Ball State in non-conference play. A 3-1 start is possible, but no guarantee. Road games with JMU, Marshall, and App State will be major challenges.
If you’re taking the over for Georgia Southern’s win total, you’re banking on at least some defensive improvement. New defensive coordinator Brandon Bailey inherits a defense that was in the bottom three in the Sun Belt in scoring defense.
No Sun Belt team allowed more yards per game last season than Georgia Southern. While the Eagles scored in bunches, the defense was an obvious liability. It’s not sustainable for Georgia Southern to make bowl games if the defense is among the three worst in the Sun Belt.
While the defensive roster isn’t exactly loaded, Bailey’s long-term fit looks great. A Georgia Southern alumnus, Bailey led a solid Buffalo defense in 2022. He’s a bright young defensive mind with previous success and experience as an assistant at Texas A&M.
Bailey can certainly turn around Georgia Southern’s defense, but can he do that in 2023? In all likelihood, Georgia Southern might look similar to 2022, overwhelming teams with offense but working out some issues defensively.
Georgia Southern’s defense might keep the Eagles from winning seven games, especially with a few highly challenging road games. Taking the under on Georgia Southern’s win total feels like a prudent play, but doubt Helton and the Eagles in consecutive seasons at your own risk.