This Week in the Sun Belt – From the Bird’s Nest
It was a good week for the league, getting plenty of good pub after Troy's knockoff of Nebraska. This week the focus is on league games with two on the schedule.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (1-2) (-7) AT GEORGIA STATE (1-2) 1pm, ESPN+--WMU isn't the same team they had when P. J. Fleck was there, but they still have plenty of good players. Their losses are to a pair of Power Five schools in Syracuse and MIchigan. Georgia State got thrashed by Memphis a week ago and need this one to finish non-conference play at .500. While playing at home will help, this Panthers team is still searching for an identity.
GARDNER WEBB (1-2) (+45) AT APPALACHIAN STATE (1-1) 2:30, ESPN+--The Mountaineers are disappointed about losing their game to Southern Miss to Hurricane Florence, and they should be. They were a two touchdown favorite. Their cannon fodder this week is Gardner-Webb and this one won't be pretty.
*COASTAL CAROLINA (2-1) (+4) at LOUISIANA (1-2) -6pm ESPN+--Forgive the Chanticleers if they have more pressing issues with the flooding in their area. The team has been practicing in Jacksonville and trying to stay focused. They'll bring a high powered offense into Cajun Field to play a Louisiana team that will find out this week where they stand after a blowout win and a blowout loss. There should be a lot of points scored in this one.
*TROY (2-1) (-6) at ULM (2-1) 6:00 pm ESPN+--The Trojans got another signature win over a Power 5 opponent last week. Now, Nebraska won't win many games this year, but kudos to Neal Brown's club for jumping out to an early 17-0 lead. ULM got hammered pretty good at A&M last week and honestly, their offense hasn't been as explosive as I thought it would be, at least not yet. But the Warhawks are capable and the Trojans have a history of letdowns after big wins. That had better not happen this week if the Trojans are going to keep their momentum. ULM is more than capable
UNLV (2-1) (+6) at ARKANSAS STATE (2-1) 6 pm ESPN3--The monkey is gone. Arkansas State got its first OOC road win in a decade last week, beating Tulsa. That will get the Red Wolves' fans off Blake Anderson until this Saturday. The Red Wolves have a chance to go 3-1 in non-league play and that would set them up well. The Rebels are no slouch, however and Anderson has to make sure Arkansas State is done patting itself on the back. Otherwise those critics will be louder than ever.
TEXAS STATE (1-2) (0-1)(+7') at UTSA (0-3) 6 pm ESPN+---Bottom line is, Texas State let one get away last week against South Alabama. You know that saying about needing to learn how to win? That's the Bobcats. That could have given them momentum going into this week against a winless UTSA team that has played three Power5 schools. Instead it's more self-doubt. The Bobcats need a win badly. So does Everett Withers.
SOUTH ALABAMA (1-2) (1-0) (+31') at MEMPHIS (2-1) 7PM, ESPN3--South had a nice comeback against Texas State at home, but they're taking a big bite this weekend. Memphis' only loss is a one point decision against Navy. This team hung 59 on Georgia State last week. The Tigers are good. South will have to play really good defense to keep this from getting ugly.