Georgia State University's inaugural football season came to an abrupt end last night in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as the Panthers lost
a nail-biter to the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, 63-7.
But that was to be expected—some sports handicapping websites listed the Tide as a 57.5 point favorite.
What wasn't expected was just about everything else that happened over the course of the season for the Panthers and head coach Bill Curry.
No one expected more than 30,000 fans to show up for the season opener against Shorter College—or the 41-7 blowout that ensued.
No one expected the team to post a winning record in its first year of existence, but they did (6-5).
And no one—especially readers who frequent this blog—expected the Panthers to average 16,750 fans per home game, but they did that too.
In fact, before the season started, GSU athletic director Cheryl Levick hoped to average 10,000 fans per home game—5,000 students and 5,000 season-ticket holders—in order to simply cover the operating costs of the Georgia Dome.
If it hadn't been for a let down loss to Lambuth following their emotional season-opening win and a heart-breaking loss to a Jacksonville State team that beat Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., a few weeks prior, the Panthers could have finished 8-3.
But let's not get too greedy.
The first year of Georgia State football was a success despite the way it ended last night and hopefully now the students who begrudgingly paid an $85 fee to support it can see that.
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