This Week in the Sun Belt
Seven of the Sun Belt’s ten teams are in action this Saturday. The Cajuns and Arkansas State don’t meet until Tuesday night and North Texas has the week off. Here is the lineup of games.
FIU (1-6, 0-3) AT TROY (3-3, 2-2)–Before the season started this one looked like must see TV. FIU was the pick to win the league and Troy was expected to be much better than a year ago. While Troy has improved, FIU certainly hasn’t lived up to their end of the bargain. The Panthers have lost six straight, the last coming in heartbreaking fashion, losing to Middle Tennessee in the final minute (and being stopped at the one yard line as time ran out.) We’ll see if that took the rest of the want-to out of the boys from South Florida. Troy, amazingly, hasn’t won a game at home this year (0-3). Bowl eligibility is a real possibility for the Trojans and you can expect them to be ready for this one.
SATURDAY, 12 NOON- SBC NETWORK
FLORIDA ATLANTIC (1-5, 0-3) AT SOUTH ALABAMA (1-5, 0-2)–These teams, when you get down to it, are very much alike. Defensively, both teams are pretty decent and getting better each week. Offensively, not so much. Both have beaten FCS schools (Wagner, Nicholls State) for their only wins. South Alabama showed signs of life last week, playing Arkansas State into the fourth quarter in their best offensive showing of the season. It’s pretty obvious this team is improving. I’m not sure FAU is.
LOUISIANA-MONROE (4-2, 2-0) AT WESTERN KENTUCKY (5-1, 2-0)–At the beginning of the season, I’m not sure anyone thought this would be the Game of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference, at least thus far. Both of these teams are getting some national love, both teams have quarterbacks who have gotten a lot better, both teams can run and both teams can play some defense. ULM got bad news when they found out they’ve lost Centarious Donald to an injury (again.) But Jyruss Edwards is healthy, Kolton Browning is playing at a very high level and the ULM defense is better then advertised. Heck, they even kicked a field goal last week. WKU just keeps hitting people in the mouth and keeps moving the football down the field. It’s too early to say the winner here is going to win the league, but they’ll certainly have a leg up on the rest of the pack.
SATURDAY, 3 PM, ESPN3
MIDDLE TENNESSEE (2-1, 4-2) AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (6-0) (#12 BCS)–Oh gosh, you’ve really got to hurt for the Blue Raiders even if you (usually) don’t like them. Benny Cunningham had helped bring the Blue Raiders from an embarassing loss to McNeese State to an unbelievable thumping of Georgia Tech. But last week against FIU, the senior suffered an injury late in the game which ended his season. Did it end the Raiders’ as well? They’ll get a chance to stay in the conference hunt later on, but this week they face a pretty good bunch of Bulldogs from Starkville. MT already has one notch in its belt. Can they make it two?
SATURDAY, 6PM, ESPN2