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Sun Belt Selections: Can the Aggies pick up a dub in the Rio Grande Rivalry?

Hurricane Irma causes two Sun Belt cancellations but there’s still plenty of football to be played on Saturday.

New Mexico State v Arizona State
Can the Aggies upset New Mexico for the second season in a row?
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We return for week two of our selections and looking back we were just okay in the opening weekend. We were 10-2 straight up, 4-3-3 against the spread, and 4-6 with the total. Don’t let anybody tell you the people in Vegas aren’t good at their jobs as three of the lines fell right on the number. A little bit of movement anyway could’ve immediately effected what side you were on. But it wasn’t all bad as we got the Appalachian State-Georgia score right on the money.

Now we head to week two and we’ve seen that the Miami-Arkansas State and ULM-Florida State games have been canceled. Add in the fact that we have Coastal Carolina and Georgia State on byes and this could be a quiet week. But we’re here to give you some winners and there is truly never a dull moment in the Fun Belt.


Game of the Week: New Mexico State (+7, Over/Under 72.5) at New Mexico 7:00 PM ET Facebook Live

It’s the 108th all-time meeting in the Rio Grande Rivalry as the Aggies and the Lobos will be going at it in Albuquerque. These two programs have met every year since 1946 and New Mexico State pulled off a huge upset victory last year in Aggie Memorial Stadium. Now both teams enter this season with some expectations as the Lobos went to their second consecutive bowl game under Bob Davie and NMSU has legitimate bowl aspirations this fall. This could be the best game in this series in quite some time.

New Mexico State is coming off a very impressive opener as they took Arizona State to the wire in Tempe. The Aggies outgained Arizona State 549-400 as Tyler Rogers nearly accumulated 400 yards passing while completing 70% of his passes. Meanwhile, Jason Huntley emerged as a playmaker on the outside he posted a 50-yard touchdown run and 23-yard touchdown reception. Jaleel Scott had a monster day outside as he pulled in eight receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns. This offense will score points on everyone they play this season.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Colorado State
Tyrone Owens is back after rushing for 1,097 yards in 2016.
The Coloradoan-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico led the FBS in rushing last year and in their opener against FCS Abilene Christian the Lobos posted 222 yards on the ground. Lamar Jordan is back at quarterback and is expected that the Lobos will air it out more than season. Second leading rusher Tyrone Owens returns and New Mexico will have plenty of options surrounding him in the backfield. Davie’s squad struggled to put their competition away early last week before rolling in the second half.

There won’t be much defense played in this one and this has a chance to be one of the best games played this in week two. I’m expecting a high scoring ballgame in Dreamstyle Stadium as it’s going to be a long day for both defensive coordinators. When this shootout develops, I believe the Aggies are better suited to win this type of game as quarterback Tyler Rogers goes over 400 yards passing for the second consecutive contest.

Aggies cover and win straight up as the over hits. New Mexico State 44, New Mexico 31.


The rest of the Fun Belt...

#11 Oklahoma State at South Alabama (+28, O/U 67.5) Friday 8:00 PM ET ESPN2

South Alabama plays their opener on Friday night and will be welcoming the Pokes to town. It’s the second consecutive season the Jags will be facing off against a top 25 team and the hope is this meeting works out as well as the San Diego State match-up last year. Expect to see a lot of points in this one as Oklahoma State could have the best offense in all of college football. The Jags will hang with the Pokes early, but Mike Gundy’s squad pulls away late.

Jags cover and the under hits. Oklahoma State 44, South Alabama 23.

Texas State (+35.5, O/U 56.5) at Colorado 2:00 PM ET Pac-12 Network

After opening their season with an FCS win, the Bobcats head on the road and there’s a brutal task awaiting them. Colorado is coming off a very impressive defensive performance against Colorado State and you have to believe it’s going to be very hard for Texas State to move the ball on the Buffs. Phillip Lindsay should have a huge day on the ground and quarterback Steven Montez should light up this Texas State secondary. I’m not sure Texas State gets in the endzone at Folsom Field.

Buffs cover and the under hits. Colorado 45, Texas State 3.

Savannah State at Appalachian State (No odds available) 3:30 PM ET ESPN3

App State welcomes FCS Savannah State to Kidd Brewer Stadium and this one is going to be a bloodbath. The Tigers are one of the worst teams in the FCS as head coach Erik Raeburn enters his second season. App State comes out motivated and gets out to a big lead early. Scott Satterfield will get some young guys some reps as the Mountaineers roll.

Appalachian State 48, Savannah State 10.

UL-Lafayette (+14, O/U 58) at Tulsa 4:00 PM ET ESPN3

Here is a match-up of two squads that disappointed in their openers as Tulsa was flat out dominated by Oklahoma State and UL-Lafayette barely survived Southeastern Louisiana. Now the two proud programs will meet in H.A. Chapman Stadium. It’s a bounce back game for each team as both squads hope week one was just due to rust. I expect a high scoring game and the Cajuns will have a very difficult time keeping up with the Veer-and-Shoot.

Golden Hurricane cover and the over hits. Tulsa 43, UL-Lafayette 21

New Hampshire at Georgia Southern (No odds available) 4:00 PM ET ESPN3

Due to Hurricane Irma, this game has been moved to Birmingham and the Eagles will be hooking horns with the Wildcats at Legion Field. It was a brutal return to the option as Georgia Southern only posted 78 total yards last week against Auburn. The Eagles struggled all night, but expect redshirt freshman quarterback Shai Werts to have more success on Saturday. New Hampshire is a proud FCS program and they’ve reached the playoffs in 13 straight seasons under long-time head coach Sean McDonnell. Southern pulls out a squeaker.

Georgia Southern 23, New Hampshire 22.

Alabama State at Troy (No odds available) 6:00 ET ESPN3

It’s been a rough week of practice for that Troy offense after being held to 215 total yards against Boise State last week. Expect quarterback Brandon Silvers to be very sharp this Saturday as Neal Brown gets his Air Raid offense back on track. Alabama State should not provide much resistance as the Trojans get back to their winning ways.

Troy 45, Alabama State 12

UNLV at Idaho (-6.5, O/U 70.5) 7:00 PM ET ESPN3

The turning point for Idaho’s season last year was the upset road win over UNLV and now the Rebels will be looking to return the favor. Idaho is coming off a workmanlike performance against Sacramento State while UNLV was shocked by Howard. I believe you’re going to see a desperate UNLV squad give Idaho all that they can handle at the Kibbie Dome. This should be a thriller in Moscow.

Rebels cover and the under hits. Idaho 31, UNLV 27.