This Week in the Sun Belt Conference
It's a pretty light week in the Sun Belt Conference this week. Neither Louisiana nor Appalachian State play this Saturday because of their upcoming Wednesday night game. Troy, South Alabama and New Mexico State have the week off. There are no out of conference games this week.
Here are the three games involving Sun Belt schools this week:
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (3-1, 2-0) at ARKANSAS STATE (0-4, 0-0) (+7')--Here are the two teams who have won the last two championships playing for the first time. And, with both teams picked near the top of the league, we're sure ESPN was ready to jump all over this one. Not sure either team is living up to the expectations of the fan base. The Eagles are 3-1 but haven't been the offensive juggernaut they've been in years past and they gave up 49 in their last outing, albeit to a very good Western Michigan team. In the meantime, what in the world is happening in Jonesboro? Losses to Toledo, Auburn and Utah State are explainable. A loss at home to FCS Central Arkansas is not. The Red Wolves have had quarterback issues and haven't run the ball like they have the last few seasons. It's a chance for rebirth in their first league game, but they had better have improved a bunch over the last ten days if they're going to get this one.
TEXAS STATE (2-2, 0-0) at GEORGIA STATE (0-4, 0-1) (-10') 2:30 pm ESPN3--It's hard to get a pulse on Texas State. They beat a decent Ohio team in week one but couldn't move the football at all in blowout losses to Arkansas and Houston. They rebounded nicely with a blowout win of their own, putting up 54 points against FCS member Incarnate Word. That offense will be challenged by a good Georgia State defense that has kept the Panthers in games against very good competition. But their offense has struggled and as a result, it's 0-4 regardless of how you spin it. This is Georgia State's first home game since opening week. Let's see if being at home jump starts their club. That double-digit line is interesting.
IDAHO (2-3, 0-1) at UL MONROE (1-3, 0-1) (-4') 6:00 pm ESPN3--A game between two teams that have been what we thought they'd be Idaho has a good non-conference win over UNLV, a game where they were double digit underdogs. Last week they couldn't handle Troy, but who has? Matt Viator's club has had two blowout losses to FBS schools and an FCS win. Their performance at Georgia Southern, however has given this team and its fan base some hope. The play of the quarterbacks will probably decide this one. Matt Linehan is going to have some success against a young ULM secondary. Garrett Smith's mobility could give the Vandals fits. Smith was banged up last week but is probable for the game. How healthy he is could play a big role in this game.
(Betting lines from vegasinsider.com)