Sun Belt Heat Week 11: Get’n Interesting
November is when the Sun Belt burns hottest.
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It’s become tradition: a ranked Sun Belt team knocked back into national obscurity at the hairy hands of a hated rival. In 2016, the Red Wolves waltzed into Troy and unceremoniously dumped the #25 Trojans. The last two years, Georgia Southern brazenly ruined ranked Appalachian State’s life with upsets. The Sun Belt can’t have nice things. That’s the Sun Belt way; the brutal, brutal way
The Eagles’ victory resets the race in the Sun Belt East, giving Georgia Southern and Georgia State (!) a legit opening. Meanwhile, the West is a little messier, with the Red Wolves clawing within striking distance of the Cajuns while the Warhawks begin their annual decent into darkness.
Already, the Sun Belt boasts three (3) bowl eligible teams, with the Eagles and Red Wolves a win away from eligibility. November will be the hottest month of the year of the Sun Belt, which is just fine with me. I’m good with flip-flops, shorts and cold, refreshing O’Doul’s.
O’Doul’s “Maintain Your Edge” Sun Belt Game of the Week
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (6-2) @ Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-4), Thursday, November 7, 6:30 PM on ESPNU
The Cajuns have the 14-point Edge
You know what’s good with a nationally televised football game on a weeknight? O’Doul’s! Maintain your edge so you can approach Friday at 100% capacity! Of course, the surplus of excellent running may leave you with a hangover anyway. Cajuns lead the conference in rushing at 288 yards a pop, and the Chants bring plenty of legs themselves behind CJ Marable and shifty sophomore QB Fred Payton. Combined, the two teams have motored the rock into the endzone 48 times. Louisiana may have the official Edge, but the Chants are coming off a gutsy win over Troy and receive the Cajuns in friendly Conway, SC. A Chanticleer victory would bring total entropy to the Sun Belt West, and I’m here for entropy.
VERDICT: Cajuns barely Edge
South Alabama Jaguars (1-7) @ Texas State Bobcats (2-6), Saturday, November 9, 2:00 PM on ESPN3
Bobcats are favored by 7.5 of the crappiest points in football
Man, does this game suck! The Jags have twice as many ground yards (1,198) as the Bobcats (636) and that total is still thunderous in its awfulness. The Bobcats rank 119th in total offense, and the Jags rank 126th so just forget about seeing any points scored in San Marcos. Both teams should just take turns going three and out on the fifty yard line.
VERDICT: Bobcats, I guess
Georgia Southern Eagles (5-3) @ Troy Trojans (3-5), Saturday, November 9, 2:30 PM on ESPN+
Eagles by a field goal
At the beginning of the year, this game looked juicy. Now it looks like a tube of braunschweiger left out in the rain. That’s real unfair to the Eagles, who have cobbled together four straight wins (including that upset of Appalachian State) to drag themselves into the West race. Still, Shai Werts and that crazy triple option isn’t piling up points, which leaves the defense to handle Kaleb Barker and a Troy team desperate to get something going. The Eagles muster 25 points per game. Only Missouri has held Troy to under 25 points. There’s sagacity somewhere here.
VERDICT: Troy deflates the Eagles
Georgia State Panthers (6-2) @ ULM Warhawks (3-5), Saturday, November 9, 4:00 PM on ESPN+
The Panthers are favored by a disrespectful 2.5
Man, the Panthers are enjoying a storied season in Atlanta and few people seem to give a shit. Yes, the defense surrenders 34 points a game, but that hasn’t stopped Georgia State from galavanting over Sun Belt foes (except Texas State, a fact that must burn like lava right now). Speaking of surrendering points, the Warhawks are even worse defensively and are probably busy punching each other in the junk after losing a 21-3 lead to Arkansas State. ULM has projected some strange confidence over the last few weeks. They play the toughest schedule in the Sun Belt and have yet to burst into flames. I’m not sure where I’m going here, except to say this game will be the exact opposite of Bobcats versus Jaguars.
VERDICT: Panthers win 100 to 99.
Appalachian State Mountaineers (7-1) @ South Carolina Gamecocks (4-5), Saturday, November 9, 6:00 PM on ESPN2
Mountaineers are projected to lose by 5 to a team that got trounced by Tennessee
I’d have made this game the O’Doul’s Sun Belt Game of the Week, but the SEC can eat it. They’d don’t need another endorsement. Instead, enjoy a sponsor free slobberknocker featuring a seething Mountaineers team who will probably end up playing in the General Dollar Bowl this year, or something.
VERDICT: Mountaineers claim a 2nd P5 head in 2019
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.