The Sun Belt just got very interesting, and you’re invited to enjoy it
An upset victory in Monroe has suddenly added a layer of intrigue into what was once a paint-by-numbers conference race.
If you’re like me (you wish!), you raised an eyebrow when ULM went up on Georgia Southern 6-0 early in their matchup on Saturday afternoon. You might have raised both eyebrows when the Warhawks added seven more points. By the time it was 20 to zip, you likely wondered if you had somehow slipped into a wacky alternative universe.
Put down your old physics textbook, Hoss. This universe is real. ULM out-slugged the Eagles of Georgia Southern 44-25, sending Planet Sun Belt spiraling giddily screaming out of orbit. And it’s a good thing, too. Because the unpredictable Sun Belt had become all too predictable in recent years.
After all, who besides the College Football Playoff Committee wants to see the same four teams triumph year-after-year?
In a way, this is just typical Sun Belt hijinx – a foreseeable repeat of precedent set by Troy in 2016. Appalachian State broke the AP Top 25 only to be bested days later by Georgia Southern, who received 62 AP votes before tanking to the Warhawks. Good ol’ Sun Belt! We reject the AP the way marriage rejects Donald Trump.
And let’s talk about them Warhawks. Matt Viator’s team, with its kitchen-sink offense, was supposed to punch a Thanos gauntlet through the Sun Belt Establishment. But we put that pistol right back in its holster when ULM lost to Georgia State 46-14. But now ULM is the winner of three straight and are sitting atop the Sun Belt West as if they hadn’t surrendered 70 points to Ole Miss just four weeks ago.
Think of the poor Eagles! Having bested the Red Wolves and Appalachian State, Statesboro had reclaimed its lost moxie. We’re back! But ULM did something that few thought them capable of doing: beat the Eagles with their defense. With THAT defense! The Warhawks, bearing one of the worst defenses in all of college football, held Georgia Southern to 216 yards.
That. Is. Not. Right.
And now the Sun Belt is up for grabs. Troy is still undefeated and leads the Sun Belt East, but faces a seething Appalachian State to close out the year. ULM may lead the West, but Louisiana isn’t politely stepping aside and Viator visits the Red Wolves in Jonesboro in two weeks. The Sun Belt is legitimately a six team race.
And it’s bad ass.
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.