This Week in the Sun Belt – From the Bird’s Nest
A critical game in the West and a long standing rivalry gets renewed in the East. Here's what's happening this week.
LAST NIGHT: TROY 38, SOUTH ALABAMA 17--In Mobile, Troy won the "Battle for the Belt" as Sawyer Smith threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth in leading Troy to the easy victory. B. J. Smith had a career high 170 yards rushing. Troy (6-2, 4-0) became the second school from the Sun Belt to achieve bowl eligibility. The Jags fell to 2-6 with the loss.
#25 APPALACHIAN STATE (5-1, 3-0) (-9') at GEORGIA SOUTHERN (6-1, 3-0) ESPNU 6:30pm--Here's a bulletin for you. The two schools don't like each other. The fan bases don't like each other. And, they're playing for a share of first place in the East Division. Georgia State went just 2-10 a year ago, but became the first SBC team to become bowl eligible. App is now in the top 25 after their win over Louisiana. Should be a great crowd at Paulson Stadium for this one.
COASTAL CAROLINA (4-3, 1-2)(-3') at GEORGIA STATE (2-5, 1-2) 1:00 pm, ESPN+--Don't look now, but the Chanticleers are just two wins away from being bowl eligible. Now, the toughest part of their schedule is ahead of them, but Joe Moglia's team has beaten UAB and UMASS. This is a critical game in their race to get to six wins. The Panthers are a capable bunch that hasn't quite put it together. Is this the week?
ARKANSAS STATE (4-3, 1-2)(-3) at LOUISIANA (3-4, 1-2) 6:00. ESPN+--The winner of this game becomes a real contender for the West Division title. And, the answer to these questions will have a lot to do with who wins. 1. Has Louisiana improved that much, or did they catch App State at the right time, between A-State and Georgia Southern. 2. Will the Cajuns keep their cool and let Arkansas State do all the talking? And, 3. Does the home field advantage continue to rule the roost.
NEW MEXICO STATE (2-6) (+3) at TEXAS STATE (1-6) 6:00, ESPN3--Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Texas State is favored in this one. The Bobcats have improved defensively and have struggled on offense. For the Aggies, it's been just the opposite. If Texas State is going to win this one, they've got to get something done with their anemic offense that struggles to move the football.