This Week in the Sun Belt
One game has been moved because of the impending threat of Hurricane Florence and another is set for a Friday night national television appearance. Oh...and conference play starts this week.
Here are the games.
COASTAL CAROLINA (1-1) (-30') at CAMPBELL (2-0) TODAY 1pm, ESPN3--Originally scheduled for Conway this Saturday, the game has been moved to Buies Creek, NC. Coastal is coming off an impressive, come from behind win over CUSA foe UAB last week and this should be no more than a tuneup before their conference opener at Louisiana next week.
GEORGIA STATE (1-1) (+27) at MEMPHIS (1-1) Friday, 6:00, ESPN2--Another tough, out of conference matchup for the Panthers against a Memphis club that lost its conference opener last weekend. The Georgia State defense will have its hands full with Memphis' offense, which can put up a lot of points.
Troy (1-1) (+11') at Nebraska (0-1) 11am Big Ten Network--Trojans had an easy time last week after the Boise State beatdown and now travel to Lincoln, where the Scott Frost era debut was spoiled by Colorado's come from behind win. That will make for an angry group of Cornhuskers. Was Troy's defensive performance against Boise a harbinger of things to come, or was Boise's offense that good? We'll get a partial answer this Saturday.
SOUTHERN MISS (1-1) at APPALACHIAN STATE (1-1) (-16) 2:30, ESPN+--App bounced back from their heartbreaker against Penn State to thrash Charlotte last week and now they'll play their home opener against a Southern Miss team that was beaten by Sun Belt member ULM last weekend. We know the Golden Eagles are down somewhat this year. They couldn't hold serve at the Rock (West) last week. They'll have a tough time at the Rock (East) this week.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (2-0) (+33) at CLEMSON (2-0) 2:30pm ESPN2--The Panthers got some revenge on UMASS after last year's loss and now set their sights on the #2 team in the country. It's a good chance to showcase the option offense on national television...if they can get it going. We know Clemson is really good. And, with Georgia Tech's option on the schedule for next week, my guess is the Tigers have been putting some special emphasis on getting their defense ready.
ARKANSAS STATE (1-1) (-1') at TULSA (1-1) 6:00pm, CBSSports Network)--The Red Wolves took their spanking and their paycheck back to Jonesboro last week and now get ready for a pair of G5 opponents. Fans in Northeast Arkansas aren't enamored with stAte's record against G5's under Blake Anderson but Arkansas State, the favorite to win the Sun Belt, has an opportunity here. The Golden Hurricane won't be a pushover at home, especially after coming close at Texas last weekend. If the Red Wolves want to make a statement, this would be the time to do it.
TEXAS STATE (1-1) (+10') at SOUTH ALABAMA (0-2) 6:00pm ESPN+--The first Sun Belt Conference game of the season takes place at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jaguars are still looking for their first win under new head coach Steve Campbell after losses to Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State. After a win last week, Texas State may have some confidence heading into this one. But will that be enough to pull the upset?
LOUISIANA (1-0)(+33) at MISSISSIPPI STATE (2-0) 6:30pm SEC Network Alternate--The Cajuns have had an extra week to prepare for one of the nation's better offenses. Nick Fitzgerald will leave Mississippi State as the SEC's all time leading rusher by a quarterback. He'll break the mark held by Tim Tebow. Mississippi State also has a pretty staunch front seven. With 28 seniors on the Bulldogs' squad, this might not be the year to play them. But next year.....
ULM (2-0) (+27) at TEXAS A&M (1-1) --6:30pm SEC Network--The Warhawks got a nice win at Southern Miss last weekend. Everyone knows it's not easy to win in Hattiesburg. Now, Matt Viator's club heads to College Station to take on an Aggie bunch that has to be disappointed after last week's close loss to Clemson. This might be a good time to play A&M. They had Clemson last week and next week they head to Alabama. Can you say "trap game?"