Sun Belt Heat Week 9: Settle In
The waters are clearing in the Sun Belt fight for supremacy.
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A couple of interesting things happened in the Sun Belt Universe in Week 8, among them Appalachian State shrugging off the terrible AP Top 25 Sun Belt curse and throttling ULM 52-7. As a result, the Mountaineers now sit at #21, the highest ranking ever achieved by a Sun Belt program.
Also riding high, the Georgia State Panthers, who triumphed over Army last weekend, but are probably kicking each other in the dice for getting beat by Texas State earlier this year. So are the Panthers good, or on a roll? I honestly don’t know, except to say that starting QB Dan Ellington has skills, and the defense can scrape up a stop when absolutely necessary. So maybe they’re good?
Meanwhile, in the Sun Belt West, Louisiana and ULM are atop the standings but neither seem especially strong – particularly the Warhawks, who scored first on the Mountaineers, then allowed 52 unanswered. Despite being down in the loss column, the Red Wolves and even the Bobcats are still in play for the West.
Also, this happened:
Oh my God, Sun Belt referees have become John Lithgow in “Footloose.”
#21 Appalachian State Mountaineers (6-0) @ South Alabama Jaguars (1-6) Saturday, October 26, 11:00 AM on ESPNU
Jags are destined to lose by 26.5, but maybe more?
The Mountaineers are good. Defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor is tied for the conference lead in sacks (five) and running back Darrynton Evans is third in rushing with 676 yards. No offense in the Sun Belt scores more points per game (42.8) than the Mountaineers. Only the Cajuns allow fewer. By contrast, the Jaguars are really bad. Year Two of Scott Campbell’s reign has blown many chunks. South Bama is still seeking its first FBS win of the season. It won’t come at the Mountaineers’ expense.
VERDICT: Mountaineers by many
New Mexico State Aggies (0-7) @ Georgia Southern Eagles (3-3), Saturday, October 26, 2:00 PM on ESPN3
Eagles are favored by 14.5, and I agree and concur.
You might look at the Aggies’ zero wins and conclude that they are not good. You’re right. The former Sun Belt member is not good. Meanwhile, the Eagles have put up two unconvincing victories in a row, but a W is a W, which is likely what will be said by Eagles loyalists late on Saturday night.
VERDICT: Aggies go Oh 4 Eight
Texas State Bobcats (2-4) @ Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-4), Saturday, October 26, 2:00 PM on ESPN+
Red Wolves are supposed to win by 11.5
Aw, come on man. Come on. I like the Bobcats the way I like the 1988 Tigers or every Brown’s team since 1990, okay? Goodnatured joshing aside, the Bobcats aren’t terrific but that defense is pretty good. True, Texas State performs the conference’s worst work on the ground (less than 90 yards per game), but they chuck the ball okay, which might be enough to overcome the Red Wolves’ decimated defe…who am I kidding?
VERDICT: Dogs eat cats
O’Doul’s “Maintain Your Edge” Sun Belt Game of the Week
Troy Trojans (3-3) @ Georgia State Panthers (5-2), Saturday, October 26, 6:00 PM on ESPN+
The Panthers have a 2-point EDGE
What happened to you, Troy? I mean, you only lost Brandon Silver and Blace Brown and Jordon Chunn and Trevon Sanders and Deondre Douglas and BJ Smith and your superstar coach Neal Brown. Okay, I think I see the problem. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ arrow is no longer pointed south, leading to a surge of moxie:
Welp, you gots to beat Troy first.
VERDICT: Panthers beat Troy first.
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.