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Sun Belt Selections: A Rivalry Renewed

Can App State collect a win over the Power Five?

NCAA Football: Appalachian State at Georgia
Can Scott Satterfield get his first Power Five win?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for week four in the Fun Belt and we’ve reached the time of the week where it is time to release our selections. We had a pretty good run last week as we went 9-0 straight up, 5-2 against the spread, and 3-4 on the total. For the season, we currently stand 25-4 straight up, 12-7-3 against the spread, and 11-11 on over/under. That’s in the green and we hope you are taking the free advice.

This week is very non-conference heavy, but there are two league games on the schedule. As we near October, everyone is getting their FCS games out of the way and we have a stacked lineup for Saturday. Here is how I see it playing out.


Game of the Week: Wake Forest at Appalachian State (+5, Over/Under 49) 3:30 PM ET ESPN3

The Mountaineers have been waiting for this one for awhile as they will be playing a Wake Forest program that is located just 86 miles down the road. App State hosted Miami around this point in the season last year and laid an egg as the moment just seemed to big for them. Can it be different this time around?

Wake Forest has been one of college football’s surprise teams in 2017 as they have been torching bad competition by an average score of 44-9. This has been a nice sight for Wake supporters as the offense has been brutal ever since Dave Clawson took over the program in 2014. Quarterback John Wolford has been in Winston-Salem for an eternity and he is doing a very good job of taking care of the football and distributing to the playmakers. Wolford is making great decisions and has accumulated nine total touchdowns.

NCAA Football: Utah State at Wake Forest
App State is going to have a very difficult time keeping Ejiofor out of the backfield.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The defense has been strong ever since Clawson arrive and losing defensive coordinator Mike Elko to Notre Dame doesn’t appear to have hurt the Demon Deacons. They’ve played some bad offense but this is a unit that has been flat out dominant and looks like a team that can be one of the better defenses in the ACC. Duke Ejiofor is one of the best defensive ends in the country and he has recorded six tackles for loss and two sacks so far this season.

Appalachian State enters this one at 2-1 just as expected but things just seem off. Jalin Moore is struggling to get going on the ground and the Mountaineers are still awaiting wide receivers Darrynton Evans and Shaedon Meadors to return from injury. Taylor Lamb has been a bright spot and the senior quarterback is playing the best football of his career.

The defense has been reliable and that tends to always be the case in Boone. Eric Boggs, as expected, is leading the team in tackles. The Mountaineers aren’t forcing many turnovers and that is a worry moving forward. The pass rush has been very pedestrian through three games on the season. The defense will need to play their best game of 2017 on Saturday.

These two programs haven’t played since 2001 and all of the previous meetings were in Winston-Salem. For the first time, the ACC program will be heading to Boone and it will be a wild atmosphere at The Rock. Expect a low scoring game and the difference will be the offense that can produce more explosive plays. Wake has proven this year that they can come up with those and I’m leaning their way.

Demon Deacons cover and the under hits. Wake Forest 24, Appalachian State 17.


The rest of the Fun Belt...

Idaho at South Alabama (-3.5, O/U 57.5) 2:00 PM ET ESPN3

Two 1-2 squads will be facing each other in Mobile and a win here is pretty much necessary if either squad wants to get back to the postseason. The Vandals are coming off an impressive road performance at Western Michigan while South Alabama rolled over Alabama A&M. With the early kickoff, that makes me want to lean South Alabama’s way. The Jags have the much better defense and they’ll shut down the Idaho rushing game while South Alabama’s offense does just enough to pull out a win.

Jags cover and the under hits. South Alabama 27, Idaho 20.

Georgia Southern (+24, O/U 52) at Indiana 3:30 PM ET Big Ten Network

It was a much needed week off for Georgia Southern as Tyson Summers and his squad have a lot of things they need to figure out. The offense has just been brutal to this point in the season and offensive coordinator Bryan Cook must find a way to get this running game going. Indiana also had last week off and early on they are looking like a true contender in the Big Ten’s second tier. This one gets ugly quick as Georgia Southern still has a lot to prove.

Hoosiers cover and the under hits. Indiana 37, Georgia Southern 10.

ULM at UL-Lafayette (-6.5, O/U 60) 5:00 PM ET ESPN3

It’s time for a huge rivalry game down in Lafayette as Monroe makes the road trip to take on their heated rival. The Warhawks are still looking for their first win of the season as they are currently in the middle of a quarterback controversy. The Cajuns, meanwhile, have one of the most exciting offenses in college football but suddenly their defense cannot stop anyone. Points will be scored in bunches.

Warhawks cover and the over hits. UL-Lafayette 40, ULM 34.

Georgia State (PK, O/U 51.5) at Charlotte 6:00 PM ET

It’s a battle of winless teams in Charlotte as Georgia State hits the road for this Conference USA-Sun Belt clash. Both teams have been brutal on run defense to start the season and that is an issue that must get fixed. Whoever runs the ball best will come away with the win and I’m rolling with the home team.

49ers cover and the over hits. Charlotte 31, Georgia State 27.

Akron at Troy (-15.5, O/U 55.5) 6:00 PM ET ESPN3

Troy returns home and are looking to build off of the nice road performance in Las Cruces. They will be taking on an Akron team that has really struggled against good competition in 2017. Brandon Silvers and Jordan Chunn keep building off of good performances and the Trojans roll to get the league a nice non-conference win.

Trojans cover and the under hits. Troy 37, Akron 13.

Western Illinois at Coastal Carolina (No odds available) 6:30 PM ET ESPN3

Coastal returns home to Conway and they’ll be facing a tough FCS test on Saturday. The Leathernecks are a very good team with a nice run defense. The Coastal offense will need to make some plays in the air to get this victory. The Chants win a tight one.

Coastal Carolina 23, Western Illinois 17

Arkansas State (+5.5, O/U 73) at SMU 7:00 PM ET ESPN3

The best Group of Five game of the day will be occurring in Dallas as Arkansas State travels to SMU. This is a match-up of two head coaches who will likely be in the Power Five at some point in the near future. Both these offenses put up a bunch of points and this one is going to be a shootout. I give SMU an edge due to playing at home and being tested a little more than Arkansas State at this point.

Mustangs cover and the under hits. SMU 34, Arkansas State 27.

UTSA at Texas State (+13.5, O/U 45) 7:30 PM ET ESPN3

Texas State has been playing some inspired football in year two under Everett Withers and they had Appalachian State on the ropes in San Marcos last week. Here they’ll be facing a squad that is currently looking like the best team in the C-USA. They’re calling this the I-35 rivalry and I have a feeling the Bobcats cover as a dog for the third consecutive week.

Bobcats cover and the under hits. UTSA 23, Texas State 14.

UTEP at New Mexico State (-20, O/U 58) 8:00 PM ET ESPN3

UTEP has beaten NMSU eight years in a row and that streak is ending on Saturday night. Doug Martin’s squad is the much better team and Tyler Rogers is playing as well as any Group of Five quarterback in the country. Meanwhile, UTEP just fired their offensive coordinator and Sean Kugler wont’ be the head coach very much longer. Aggies roll.

Aggies cover and the over hits. New Mexico State 44, UTEP 20.