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Three Things We Learned about the Sun Belt in Week Four

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Troy’s ceiling is higher, A-State’s basement is lower, and we haven’t forgotten about you either, Georgia Southern

Troy v Clemson
Troy Head Coach Neal Brown looks on during the Clemson game. That game was so close, Troy might not lose again for two months.
Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Stick a Fork in the Red Wolves

... because they’re done for the season. Things were supposed to pick up after their season-starting growing pains against Toledo, Auburn and Utah State, but despite big predictions in the preseason, those last two are 2-2 and struggling almost as much as the Red Wolves. Surely an FCS match-up would right the ship, would it not?

Not one bit, as the Red Wolves lost to the FCS Central Arkansas Bears 28-23, in a game where the Red Wolves simply could not move the ball on the ground, accumulating only 45 total rushing yards on the day. The had a lot more yards in the air, but Red Wolves QB Justin Hansen was picked off twice. The UCA special teams were vastly superior, completing 3 of 4 field goals including one for 43 yards. If the Bears can manage that this week, there’s not much hope left in Jonesboro for when Georgia Southern and Appy State have their turn.

Sure, adjustments can be made, but unless the Red Wolves can get some immediate help at the running back position, then they could be eliminated from bowl contention altogether in just two weeks.

Last week we learned Troy was good. This week we learned they’re even better

Two teams we learned about last week, Troy and NMSU, played each other this week. Both were surpassing expectations, and a tough match-up was not out of the question. What did we get? A 52-6 Troy victory, in a game where NMSU QB Tyler Rogers still somehow managed to throw for 445 yards in the losing effort.

After Clemson squeaked by Troy by a mere six points back in Week Two, the nation temporarily thought maybe Clemson was just overrated. That's clearly not the case as they took care of business against undefeated Georgia Tech this week 26-7. Clemson might not do so hot against Louisville next week, but you know who else they didn’t do too hot against? Troy. Watch out for running back Jordan Chunn as the Trojans are on pace to not lose again until November, with upcoming match-ups against Idaho, Georgia State, South Alabama, and UMass. This week was impressive, but they won’t really raise any eyebrows with an upcoming win until Appalachian State on Nov. 12.

Georgia Southern is not unstoppable

Through four weeks, Georgia Southern QB Favian Upshaw has thrown for 409 yards, good for 11th best in the conference. In that same span, the Eagles have four of the top ten spots in rushing yards. Despite the loss of coach Willie Fritz to Tulane in the offseason, things looked to be firing on all cylinders for the Eagles until Western Michigan came along this week and ruined everything.

The idea of a Sun Belt team being flawed should be nothing new, but after its brief time in FBS, we hope the Eagles can adjust and shore up weak spots as needed, as they look to continue dominating the conference for years to come. This week against the Broncos was a minor setback, and we’ll hope these exposed flaws don’t come back to haunt them late in the season against the other top teams in the conference.