This Week in the Sun Belt
It's the final week of play in the Sun Belt Conference. One team is trying to win an outright title, two teams are trying to become bowl-eligible and the rest will be tuning up for a bowl game or trying to send their seniors off with a final game victory and end the season on a high note.
GEORGIA STATE (5-6, 4-3) at GEORGIA SOUTHERN (8-3, 6-1)(-21) 1pm ESPN3--The Panthers have won two straight and are sitting on the precipice of bowl eligibility as they enjoy their best season since moving to the FBS. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle has played his best football the last couple of weeks. Their task is a tall one, obviously, as the Eagles have played good football since the debacle at Appalachian State. Georgia Southern is looking for a nine win season, but their outcome probably won't effect their bowl situation. It would be advisable for the Eagles to take this seriously. Because the Panthers will.
TEXAS STATE (3-8, 2-5) at ARKANSAS STATE (8-3. 7-0) (-25) 2pm, ESPN3--The Red Wolves are looking for an outright title after clinching at least a piece of the title for the fourth time in five years. Quarterback Fredi Knighton is playing his best football after missing multiple games with injury. Texas State, meanwhile, has suffered more injuries than any team in recent Sun Belt memory. This one has all the makings of a mismatch.
NEW MEXICO STATE (3-8, 3-4) at UL MONROE (1-11, 0-7) (NL) -2pm ESPN3--Despite the loss to Arkansas State, NMSU is still feeling pretty good about itself after losing its starting quarterback and starting 0-7. The team rallied around the announcement that head coach Doug Martin will be back next year with three straight wins. Larry Rose III is having an all conference year. ULM has to be ready to just get this over with after losing ten straight and having the long trip back from Hawai'i. The news in Monroe is who the new head coach will be. The other story is, will there be 2,000 people in the stands on Saturday?
TROY (3-8, 2-5) at LOUISIANA (4-7, 3-4)(-1.5) 4pm ESPN3--Troy is about to finish its first season under Neal Brown and their record is the same as it was going into the season finale as it was last year. But there's a new attitude in Troy and anyone who has played them will tell you just how hard they've played all season. Louisiana staggers in after losing three straight games under Mark Hudspeth for the first time. Hudspeth says freshman Jordan Davis will see action after leading the team to a late touchdown last week against Appalachian State. How well he plays could have a lot to do with the quarterback situation for next year.
APPALACHIAN STATE (9-2, 6-1) at SOUTH ALABAMA (5-6, 3-4)(+18) 6:30pm ESPN3--The Jags still have a shot, but didn't play well at all against Georgia Southern a week ago. With a bowl slot open, the Jags can claim it with a win and a Georgia State loss. But, regardless of the fact they've lost a conference game, App is probably the most complete team in the league. South Alabama has its work cut out, especially offensively, where it could be a chore to score against the Mountaineers' defense.