Welcome back to the weekly power rankings of the Sun Belt Conference.
It’s hard to believe that we are already past week 7 and looking towards week 8 of CFB. As the weeks continue to go by, it’s becoming clearer of how the Sun Belt should sort itself out for the remainder of the season.
1. #24 App State (5-0) (2-0) No movement: The Mountaineers picked up a big win over the Louisiana Rajun Cajuns this past Wednesday in Lafayette. App’s defense looked improved, as they only allowed one touchdown and 254 total yards of offense.
The Mountaineers offense was fairly balanced in this match-up, with 196 yards rushing and 147 yards receiving. WR Corey Sutton led the ‘Neers in YPC with 58 and Darrynton Evans led the team on the ground with 69 yards on 22 carries. QB Zach Thomas finished the game with 147 yards and 11 completions on 17 pass attempts.
App found themselves at number 24 in the AP Poll this week and I only see that number going up if they continue to win. App State will face ULM this weekend at home.
2. Louisiana (4-2) (1-1) No Movement: The Rajun Cajuns fell to App State this past Wednesday in a highly-touted match-up on ESPN2. Though the Cajuns fell to the Mountaineers, Louisiana is without a doubt the 2nd best team in the Sun Belt. In the loss, QB Levi Lews threw for 131 yards on 24 attempts, completing 13. Lewis completed a pass in the end-zone for Louisiana’s lone score in the contest.
Louisiana fed App a steady diet of RBs in Elijah Mitchell and Raymond Calais, who both rushed for a combined 115 yards. I also wanted to give a shout-out to punter Rhys Byrns, who averaged 49.3 yards per punt and was a key factor in giving App poor starting field position on several drives.
Louisiana fans should remain optimistic about the rest of this season. They will likely see App again in the Sun Belt title game on December 7th. Louisiana will play this Thursday against Arkansas State.
3. Troy (2-3) (0-1) No Movement: The Trojans are coming off their idle period in preparation for the coveted “battle for the belt” match-up against in-state and conference rival South Alabama.
Although the record doesn’t show it, I believe the Trojans are still a team that should not be “slept-on”, and they will probably be too much for the Jaguars to handle come Wednesday night on ESPN2.
4. GSU (4-2) (2-1) No Movement: The Panthers are quickly gaining ground in conference play as they picked up another victory on the road this week against Coastal Carolina. GSU is finally figuring out what works for them on offense to put up more points on the board against less-than-stellar defenses.
QB Dan Ellington led the team in rushing, with 128 yards on 19 carries. Ellington also completed 16 of his 24 pass attempts on 122 yards and one score, while also throwing an INT. GSU will have a much tougher match-up this week with option-powerhouse Army rolling into Atlanta this weekend for a 7 pm showdown.
5. Arkansas State (3-2) (1-1) No Movement: The Red Wolves are coming off the back-end of their bye-week in preparation for a very good Louisiana team this Thursday night.
If Arkansas State wants to have any chance of winning this upcoming game, the key will be in stopping the run and capitalizing on their own offensive power. As in weeks previous, look for a lot of QB Layne Hatcher to WR Omar Bayless in this upcoming contest.
6. Georgia Southern (2-3) (1-1) No Movement: Southern is readying up for another big conference match-up against Coastal Carolina this week in the friendly confines of Paulson Stadium. The Chanticleers are coming off of two-straight conference losses and Southern needs to capitalize off of their extra time to prepare for a struggling Coastal team.
Eagles fans can only hope that Bob Debesse’s offensive play-calling will improve this week, as that has been the weakest link of their season thus far.
7. ULM (3-3) (2-0) Up two from Number 9: Surprisingly, ULM is currently in command of the Sun Belt west division, after a big win over a much-improved Texas State team this past Thursday in San Marcos.
In the win, QB Caleb Evans threw for 225 yards on 33 attempts, allowing one INT and completing 18 of those attempts. RB Josh Johnson led the team on the ground with 114 yards and two scores on 22 carries.
ULM will look to continue this momentum this week, as they travel to Boone, NC for a big-time match-up against #24 ranked App State for a 3:30 kick-off.
8. Coastal Carolina (3-3) (0-2) Down one from No. 7: The Chanticleers bye before GSU proved to be ineffective as they lost at home to the Panthers 31-21.
The QB combo of Bryce Carpenter and Fred Payton didn’t provide the help the Chanticleers desperately needed offensively, as the Coastal defense allowed a whopping 350 yards rushing.
Coastal’s win over Kansas this season seems less and less significant, as they are now 0-2 in a Sun Belt eastern division that is shaping up to be highly competitive. Coastal will travel to Statesboro this Saturday to take on Georgia Southern.
9. Texas State (2-4) (1-1) Down one from No. 8: The Bobcats are coming off of a loss this past Thursday to conference mate ULM, 24-14. The Bobcats couldn’t get themselves figured out offensively, as three different QBs played in the game.
This loss hurts Texas State’s momentum going forward. Hopefully the Bobcats will look for opportunities to improve after watching the film from this game, and will be ready to go again when the face Arkansas State on the road on October 26th. Texas State will be idle this weekend.
10. South Alabama (1-5) (0-2) No Movement: South Alabama is entering their preparations for their yearly show-down against Troy this Wednesday. South Alabama will have to rely on more than their QB Cephus Johnson and RB Tra Minter if they want to have any shot of winning this football game, or any remaining Sun Belt game for that matter.