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As November Looms, Sun Belt Schools Have Bowl Aspirations

brad kemp/ragincajuns.com

Last year, the Sun Belt Conference set a new record, as five different teams reached bowl eligibility status and four of them actually got bowl bids.

This year, it could be more of the same.

In addition to the conference race, the race to at least six wins is heating up as well.  Only Georgia State has been eliminated from contention.  The rest have a shot.  Here’s how the teams stack up.

ARKANSAS STATE (3-4, 1-1)–The two time defending champions still have some work to do, but the toughest part of their schedule is behind them.  The Red Wolves get Texas State and Georgia State at home.  The road game at South Alabama is crucial for the Red Wolves this weekend, because road trips to Monroe and WKU won’t be a walk in the park.

LOUISIANA (5-2, 3-0)–The Cajuns will get to the bowl eligible stage this week against New Mexico State and then set their sights on winning the conference title.  The Cajuns control their own destiny there as well.  Their two toughest games, Troy and ULM are both at Cajun Field.with road games at Georgia State and South Alabama.

ULM (4-4, 2-1)–Remember when we all reported ULM quarterback Kolton Browning was lost for the season?  Well, Browning has been named the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week this week.  And, ULM is back at the .500 mark.  The schedule isn’t very kind the rest of the way, however.  ULM has to make trips to Troy, South Alabama and UL, with a home game against Arkansas State.  The game this Thursday night against the Trojans could make or break their chances.

SOUTH ALABAMA (3-4, 1-2)  I don’t know if anyone expected the Jaguars to be as good as they’ve been.  They’ve got four losses, all by a touchdown or less.  And, three of the losses are by a grand total of four points.  The ones that got away may keep them from getting to eligible status.  The Trojans have Arkansas State at home this week, trips to Georgia State and Navy and home games against the Louisiana schools.  Three out of five isn’t likely, but it’s possible.  They really need a win this Saturday against the Red Wolves.

TEXAS STATE (5-3, 2-2)  Don’t look now, but the Bobcats are favored to get win number six this weekend at Idaho.  If they want to get to six wins, this would be the week to do it.  THey still have to go to Arkansas State and Troy, with a home game against WKU.

TROY (5-3, 3-1)–The difference between this Troy team and the ones of the last couple of years is this Trojan team finds a way to win close games.  Four of their five wins have been decided by a touchdown or less and the Trojans came from behind to win all of them.  The Trojans have back to back Thursday games, hosting ULM and traveling to Louisiana.  A non-conference road game at Ole Miss won’t be easy.  They close at home with Texas State.  A win this week makes next Thursday at Cajun Field a battle for first place.  In fact, if they win those two, the Trojans become the odds-on favorite.  They’ll get to six.  But right now they have bigger fish to fry.

WKU (4-4, 1-3)–The Hilltoppers can get to six wins, but they’ll have to go on the road to do it.  WKU has three in a row on the road at Georgia State, Army and Texas State.  All three are winnable, as is the home finale against Arkansas State.  But there’s little room for error now.  Bobby Petrino and his bunch may be looking back in sadness of the games that got away against South Alabama and Troy.

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