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Three Things We Learned about the Sun Belt in Week 12

Arkansas State has the inside track for the title, Texas State is a dumpster fire, and South Alabama just might go bowling.

Arkansas State v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Arkansas State is the best team in the Sun Belt

With respect to their remaining two games against the Cajuns and the Bobcats, it’s the Red Wolves who’ve been playing out of their minds for six weeks straight. From 0-4 to conference champion is unfortunately nothing new in this conference (remember the early 2000’s?), but stAte did it in style this year, coming from behind to bypass both App State (whom they do not play) and AP #25 Troy to rise to 6-4 (6-0), moving into first place and becoming bowl eligible in the same week.

Officially, we can’t hand them the title just yet, as they face a feisty U of L team in Lafayette next week, before finishing up in San Marcos on December 1 against Texas State. The Bobcats have their own problems going on, and the Red Wolves will show no mercy as they look ahead to a high-profile bowl game and national recognition.

A loss over the next two weeks could send things into chaos, but with the momentum Arkansas State has built up, they’re on pace to not lose again until next September.

Texas State is the worst team in the Sun Belt

Sorry, Bobcats. We’re pulling for you, we really are, San Marcos needs some good news with the recent seasons you’ve had, but this year puts you head and shoulders (or is that... feet and ankles?) BELOW the rest of the conference.

At 0-6 in conference play, sure, South Alabama is only slightly ahead of you at 1-5, but they’re 5-5 overall where the Bobcats are 2-8. So okay, then Georgia State and New Mexico State have similar overall records, but the Panthers have a new stadium to look forward to, and NMSU is leaving the conference after next season. This is not good company to be in.

Or, to quote myself from Twitter:

Articles about Everett Withers and Larry Teis will be forthcoming, and if you’re an angry alum, contact us about writing positions. Or, better yet, apply to Texas State to work in their athletic department, they need all the help they can get.

South Alabama might make a bowl

The Jaguars have clawed back to 5-5 with two games left to play. Last week’s win over FCS Presbyterian was expected, but after this Jaguars’ season really is there anything that would still surprise us?

USA has wins over Mississippi State, FCS Nicholls State, a ranked San Diego State, Georgia State, and now Presbyterian. Their losses were Georgia Southern, ULL, Arkansas State, Troy, and ULM. Of all the words that come to mind, “consistency” is not one of them.

With two FCS schools on the schedule the NCAA usually requires a team to go 7-5 to qualify for a bowl. Fortunately for USA, the NCAA granted a waiver for the Jaguars given their unique circumstances of how they played two FCS schools in the first place (thanks LSU and Florida!)

Their final two games are against a bowl-bound (and FCS bound) Idaho next week, before their season finale against New Mexico State. All the Jaguars need is one win to receive an invite to their second bowl bid in school history.