Sun Belt Sizzle Week Nine: Hot Flash
The Sun Belt begins to separate the wheat from the chaff as the conference elite rise and the pretenders fall.
Normally, you can expect to receive an insightful, penetrating, even useful scope of unfiltered analysis on Sun Belt Sizzle. You deserve it! Maybe you expect some today? Today bad!
I’m a busy guy. I’m lucky if I have enough time this week to put on pants before leaving the house. Just take this Sizzle and accept it.
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South Alabama Jaguars (3-4) @ Georgia State Panthers (3-3)
Thursday, October 26th, 6:30PM ON ESPNU
Is it just me, or is this, like, the third time we’ve seen the Jags midweek on ESPN? What brilliant executive studied the ratings chart and decided Joey Jones and South Alabama moves the needle for the Sun Belt? What’s the Q-rating on Xavier Johnson, anyway? The Jags enter the game a 1-point favorite over Georgia State, whose 3-game win-streak was snapped by a surly Troy team on Saturday. Yes, the same surly Troy team the Jags took to the woodshed two weeks ago. Don’t try to puzzle out the deeper meanings here. Both of these teams of huge issues: the Panthers have yet to bless their new stadium with a win (despite having Penny Hart dominate secondaries), and South Bama is are as indecisive as Hamlet with their two QBs. I think this game kinda rocks on Thursday, tho.
Gut: 35-31, South Bama
Appalachian State Mountaineers (5-2) vs Massachusetts Minutemen (1-6)
Saturday, October 28th, 2:30PM (no listing)
The Minutemen are 1-1 versus the Sun Belt, and that’s just wrong, bruh. What’s wronger? The Mountaineers are only a 4.5 favorite to a one-win team. If Scott Satterfield has any Sun Belt pride, he’ll pour on the pain against UMASS on Saturday. He may have to do it without Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year Jalin Moore, though, who suffered a foot injury against the Chants last week. The Mountaineers are already without backup running back Terrence Upshaw for the year, which puts this revenge game on the shoulder pads of the App defense and the arm of surging QB Taylor Lamb.
Gut: 45-10, Appalachian State
Georgia Southern Eagles (0-6) vs Troy Trojans (5-2)
Saturday, October 28th, 2:30PM on ESPN3
Satterfield has extra incentive to beat UMass, because he knows that when the Minutemen win, somebody has to pay. Last week, paying the bill was Eagles’ head coach Tyson Summer, who lost in miserable fashion to UMass on Saturday. No interim head coach Chad Lunsford gets to ease into the position with a tilt against Troy, who are likely still surly. Kado Brown ran in a pair of TDs for the Eagles on Saturday in place of injured QB Shai Werts. If Werts can’t go, Brown can. He’ll get to face one of the nation’s better defenses led by football sniper Blace Brown. Still, you have to wonder if Troy isn’t just a little nervous about facing a Georgia Southern team with a sudden burst of purpose. Troy (a 26-point favorite, BTW) and QB Brandon Silvers will need to be as sharp as they were against the Panthers on Saturday.
Gut: 24-17, Trojans
ULM Warhawks (3-4) vs. Idaho Vandals (2-5)
Saturday, OCtober 28th, 4:00PM on ESPN3
Darth Viator was dealt a double-Death Star explosion these last two weeks with losses to Georgia State and South Alabama, putting into question the legitimacy of their brief ascent to the Sun Belt Elite. Viator keeps losing on the QB crapshoot, rolling with Caleb Evans on Saturday only to see him toss a pick and not much else. Maybe we Garret Smith again? Who knows! Meanwhile, the Vandals looked like an slow FCS team against a 1-win Missouri on Saturday, and one wonders if Paul Petrino has already joined the Big Sky. Somehow, Idaho is a 3-point Vegas favorite.
Gut: 28-17, ULM
Texas State Bobcats (1-6) vs Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (1-6)
Saturday, October 28th, 5:00PM on ESPN3
Yuuuuuuuuuuck. Listen, this game sucks, but at least one of these teams is going to pick up a conference win on Saturday. Both teams have had their moments, but the Chants seem to have a few more, the latest a solid run against Appalachian State in Boone. The most entertaining part about Texas State’s terrible season is waiting to see when Everett Withers gives up on Damion Williams and hands freshman Willie Jones the offense. Heck, it might be this Saturday. Coastal is a solid 8-point favorite over the Bobcats, which must burn. To add insult to insult, the Chants have made the Bobcats their homecoming game.
Gut: 45-10, Chants
New Mexico State Aggies (3-4) vs Arkansas State Red Wolves (4-2)
Saturday, October 28th, 7:00PM on ESPN3
Do you like points? QBs airing it out without fear? Defenses who like to pancake quarterbacks? Outstanding wide receivers? Then you’re going to enjoy the Aggies versus Red Wolves, pitting two of the most prolific quarterbacks in the Sun Belt. Tyler Rogers leads the conference in yards (2,495) while Justice Hansen leads in TDs (21). New Mexico States’ defense was strong to open the season, but has since started surrendering points. Meanwhile, the Red Wolves defense is pouring it on, piling up sacks and tightening up in the Red Zone. Arkansas State is only a 3-point favorite, but if the Aggies defense collapses, Las Cruces could get messy.
Gut: 47-28, Arkansas State
A former notary public, Jeremy Harper is a professional writer and Chief Instigator for Storm the Castle Creative. He spends much of his free time staring blankly into space.