This Week in the Sun Belt
It's the final weekend of play in the Sun Belt. Will someone win the league outright, or will there be co-champions? Can the Sun Belt get a fifth and sixth team bowl eligible? And, can a 57 year bowl drought be broken? All those questions answered this Saturday. All games are on ESPN3 unless otherwise noted.
ULM (4-7) (+27) at FLORIDA STATE (5-6) 11:00 am, ACC Network--The Warhawks and 'Noles are making up the game that was affected by Hurricane Irma earlier in the season. Originally it was a cancellation, but the date became available when FSU dropped out of ACC contention. The Seminoles need the game to get bowl eligible. The Warhawks need the 1.2 million dollar payday. Everybody wins.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (2-9, 2-5) (-2') at COASTAL CAROLINA (2-9, 1-6) 12:00 noon--The Eagles got their second straight win last week and Chad Lunsford got the interim tag taken off his name. The Eagles have, without a doubt, played much better under Lunsford than they did the first half of the season. A third straight win would be a momentum builder for next season. You think they aren't excited again in Statesboro? The Eagles sold out their ticket allotment for the four hour plus drive.
IDAHO (3-8, 2-5) (+6) at GEORGIA STATE (6-4, 5-2) 1:00 pm--It's the final game in the Sun Belt, and, for that matter, in the FBS for the Vandals, who have been disappointing after their nine win season a year ago. They close it out against the league's most surprising team in the Panthers, who we remind you, lost their season opener to Tennessee State. Seven wins are so much better than six, especially when Orlando is probably your destination.
LOUISIANA (5-6, 4-3) (+15) at APPALACHIAN STATE (7-4, 6-1)--Last Saturday was one of the more disappointing losses in the Mark Hudspeth era, as the Cajuns had bowl eligibility staring them in the face, but couldn't get it done against a 1-9 Georgia Southern team. They've got one more chance, but they're significant underdogs to an Appalachian State team they've never beaten. The Mountaineers get a share of the conference title if they win Saturday, so they'll have plenty of motivation.
SOUTH ALABAMA (4-7, 3-4) (+9') at NEW MEXICO STATE (5-6, 3-4) 3:30 pm--Is this the time for the Aggies? It's their final game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference and they have a chance to head to their first bowl game since 1960 if they can get the win at home. The Arizona Bowl will welcome them gladly if they can get it done. But there's no sure thing against Bipolar U, who have those wins over Arkansas State and Troy...and lots of head scratching losses as well. Unless you live in the Mobile area, you're probably an Aggies fan this week.
TROY (9-2, 6-1) (PK) at ARKANSAS STATE (7-3, 6-1) 6:30 pm, ESPN2--To the winner, a share of, and possibly an outright, Sun Belt title. After both teams root for the Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday, they'll settle the rest up in Jonesboro. Troy's defense, the best the league has to offer, will get quite a test against Justice Hansen and the Red Wolves offense. Arkansas State's defense will try to get after Brandon Silvers...and Troy will try to make Hansen throw it to the wrong colored jersey. That last sentence could be the key to this game. Either way, it oughta be fun.