Cure Bowl: Georgia St. vs San Jose St.
* I think Georgia State wins the "Most Improved Team of 2015" award. This is a team that had two total wins in its previous three seasons -- and in the first of those 3 seasons they were still an FCS team! A lot of their improvement came in the second half of the season, including categories that they were poor in early in the season. They started the season really struggling on pass defense (except for the game against Oregon, when backup QB Lockie played for the injured Adams), but they finished up really well against the weaker passing teams in conference play. SJSU is right in that range of not particularly good pass offenses, ranking just 93rd. SJSU did finish with a solid improvement in their passing in their final two games, however, so that will balance out GAST's late season defensive improvement.
* GAST is a pretty awful running team (2nd worst by my rankings), but fortunately for them SJSU has only the 115th ranked run defense. SJSU's run defense had one foot in the grave by the time the season ended, really, and their pass defense wasn't faring much better. Fortunately for GAST they don't have to rely on their running game much, because they have a good passing game with QB Arbuckle that did very well in conference play against anyone not named "Appalachian State," who they played back in week #6. After that game they had 5 "best" games of pass offense in their final 7, matching or exceeding their opponent's usual average allowed in all 7 games. They didn't play a very tough schedule, overall, but momentum and confidence are on their side.
* SJSU's running game was up and down during the season, but finished up the season on a bit of an uptick. Many of you have heard of RB Tyler Ervin, he's a solid runner with a 5.6 ypc average, but there's no real depth behind him. He had 7 times as many carries this season as the next RB on their team. I have GAST's rush defense ranked ahead of SJSU's rush offense. GAST played pretty decent rush defense all year, and had a phenomenal closing game against Georgia Southern, holding them to 3.3 yards less per carry than they usually average in a 34-7 win.
* GAST won their final four regular season games and the line opened them as a dog in every one of those, I believe. I think GAST's momentum carries over and they get another straight up win as a dog in their first ever FBS Bowl game.