This Week in the Sun Belt – Week Four
Sun Belt Conference play begins this weekend in San Marcos and there are a couple of SBC/MAC games to ponder. The league also has a chance for a Power 5 win.
ULM (1-1) (+18') at IOWA STATE (1-1) 11am FS1--The Warhawks had last week off to get over the pain of their loss to Florida State. The Cyclones are hurting as well, after a one point loss to Iowa. How big is that hangover for ISU? That could tell a big story on Saturday. Gotta say, though, it would have been better for ULM had the Cyclones won last week. Caleb Evans and Josh Johnson need big days on Saturday.
COASTAL CAROLINA (2-1) (-17) at UMASS (0-3) 12 noon Flo Sports/NESN--The Chants took charge last week as expected against Norfolk State and are big favorites to finish the non-conference part of their slate with a 3-1 record. The Minutemen might be the worst team in the FBS this year and they'll have a tough time containing C. J. Marable.
LOUISIANA (2-1)(+3') at OHIO (1-2)--1pm, ESPN+--The Cajuns got two easy home wins the last two weeks, but they've got a tough test in Athens. The Bobcats are 1-2, but their losses are both road games at Pitt (by 10) and Marshall (by 2.) Nathan Rourke is the kind of quarterback that traditionally gives the Cajuns fits. That three headed monster in the backfield for Louisiana needs to have a big day.
TROY (1-1) (-17) at AKRON (0-3)--2pm ESPN+--Trojans not only took a loss Saturday against Southern Miss, they've also lost Preseason Player of the Year B. J. Smith to an injury. The Zips may be coming along just at the right time. Trojans may be a little shell shocked with the double whammy from last week, Kaleb Barker has a chance to have a big day.
APPALACHIAN STATE (2-0) (+3) at NORTH CAROLINA (2-1) 2:30pm ACC Network--The Mountaineers have had two weeks to prepare for this one and it's a big one for the folks in the mountains. This is the first meeting of the two schools since 1940 and a winnable game for the Sun Belt. But App is going to have to defend better than they have the first two games. The Tar Heels' loss to Wake last week keeps this from being a trap game, even with Clemson coming up next week.
SOUTH ALABAMA (1-2)(+10) at UAB (2-0) 2:30pm NFL Network--UAB has won both of their games, although victories over Alabama State (by 5) and Akron (by 11) don't move the needle very much. The Jags were blown out by Memphis last week and leading rusher Tra Minter is in the concussion protocol. If the Blazers win, the needle once again won't move a lot.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (2-1) (+23) at ARKANSAS STATE (1-2) 6:00 pm ESPN3--The Red Wolves return home after the shellacking they took at the hands of Georgia. The Wendy Anderson tribute was very moving, but not it's back to business. Blake Anderson coaches his first home game this season. Salukis already have beaten an FBS team in UMASS. But this is Arkansas State.
GEORGIA STATE (2-1, 0-0) (+3) at TEXAS STATE (0-3, 0-0) 6pm ESPN+--Who is Georgia State? Are they the team that beat Tennessee or the team that got humiliated in Kalamazoo last week against Western Michigan? Vegas thinks the latter. Texas State's only home game was a close loss to Wyoming. Jake Spavital is still looking for his first win as the Bobcats' head coach. He's got a good chance to get it this week.
Georgia Southern is off this week. They host Louisiana to open conference play next Saturday.