Sun Belt Heat Week 13: Win and Live
Coffee is for closers. Time to sign the line that is dotted.
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Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff Committee rewarded Appalachian State’s comeback win of Georgia State by elevating the Mountaineers from 25th to 24th. One needn’t bump his head to know he’s hit a very low ceiling. Of the ranked Group of Five, I feel Appalachian State can beat any of them. Not that anyone has asked me.
Shout out to the Panthers for pulling a page right out of Coach Hayden Fox’s playbook and starting the seemingly mortally injured Dan Ellington on Saturday. This was literally a plot line from Coach. I’m not providing a link. Just trust my ironclad memory for 1980s situational comedy plot lines.
Despite Ellington’s surprise participation, Georgia State didn’t have enough defense to prevent their elimination from the Sun Belt Playoff Sweepstakes. Same for ULM, who gave up 51 to Georgia Southern. With the Panthers and Warhawks gone, Week 13 is a Win And Live week for Arkansas State and Georgia Southern (I can already taste the O’Doul’s) while everyone else plays for the pride and glory of their respective campuses.
Even Texas State.
South Alabama Jaguars (1-9) @ Georgia State Panthers (6-4), Saturday, November 23, 1:00 PM on ESPN+
Panthers have 9.5 points to play with
Congratulations on a solid season, Panthers. Dan Ellington was better than I expected. The wins over Tennessee and Arkansas State were both legit and impressive. But y’all need some defense if you want to thwart the Mountaineers and Bobcats of the world. Maybe start revamping those defensive schemes against the Jaguars, for whom I have no congratulations.
VERDICT: Panthers pound
Texas State Bobcat’s (3-7) @ #24 Appalachian State Mountaineers (9-1), Saturday, November 23, 1:30 PM on ESPN+
Mountaineers by 29, but don’t let that bug you, Bobcats
Monday on Wolf Den, Jay Bir and I discussed Appalachian State and tried to put a finger on their dominance. We couldn’t pinpoint exactly what made the Mountaineers special, except to say they are relentless in all facets of the game. They beat you on defense. They grind you with the run game. They can pass. They can boot field goals. All this shouldn’t bother the Bobcats, who can do those things too, just much worse.
VERDICT: Mountaineers play 4 quarters of murder ball
O’Doul’s “Maintain Your Edge” Sun Belt Game of the Week
Georgia Southern Eagles (6-4) @ Arkansas State Red Wolves (6-4), Saturday, November 23, 2:00 PM on ESPN+
Red Wolves have the 1-point Edge
Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we’ve learned, by the dust of them all… the Sun Belt learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two men enter; one man leaves.
VERDICT: Red Wolves need every bit of that one point
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-6) @ ULM Warhawks (4-6), Saturday, November 23, 4:00 PM on ESPN3
Warhawks get a Monroe 6-points
The Chants and the Hawks are playing for life’s most valuable coin: pride. Go get some pride, boys! Also in keeping with Thunderdome: the winner walks out with a shot at bowl eligibility. While Coastal Carolina seems to be improving year after year, the Warhawks are treading water, showing signs of brilliance of offense (behind Caleb Evans) while failing again and again on defense. Coastal nearly upset the Red Wolves in Jonesboro. Find a bookie and put it all on Coastal.*
VERDICT: Coastal keeps the dream alive
Troy Trojans (5-5) @ Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (8-2), Saturday, November 23, 4:00 PM on ESPN+
Cajuns favored by 14, but I dunno
Cajuns are having an incredible season, with head coach Billy Napier and the conference’s mightiest run game rolling over opponents without granting quarter or mercy. Meanwhile, the Trojans have endured a dismal season under first year head coach Chip Lindsey. However, Kaleb Barker and Co. have put up 112 points the last two contests, seemingly signaling that the Trojans are not dead and would like to play some post season football. This is a classic original gangsta Sun Belt grudge match that’s worthy of a second six pack of cold-sober O’Doul’s.
VERDICT: Epic victory for the Trojans
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.