Well everyone, I'm back from my own personal bye week. It's nice to step away from the grind every now and then, go on vacation, reflect on life and discover who you really are.
Like the fact that doing Brews Around the World at Epcot was pointless for me, because I had already tried every beer they offered. Some may assume that makes me an alcoholic, which I would argue because alcoholics typically have a favorite drink. I apparently like them all.
No, what I learned is that, for someone who doesn't leave Louisiana a whole lot, I'm pretty well traveled. Having never been there, I can tell you the best fried chicken in Memphis, or the most convenient boat launches on Lake Washington. On road trips, I know exactly which towns will have a Chick-fil-a close to the interstate, and what the local beverage of choice is.
While I'm not well traveled in the international sense, I do know a good bit about this great nation, and even a little about our neighbors to the north. I blame this mostly on college football and the strange-but-endearing relationship if forges between it's faithful. While I would never consider myself the same as a Florida Gator fan, there is still a knowing nod when we spot the logos on each other's hat.
Compared to other mass media cults like NFL fans and Beliebers, college football fans are a relatively minor clan, but our community is still large and diverse enough to add a layer of kinship where one wouldn't normally exist.
College football, for the most part, exists between the big cities, and that is awesome. Because no matter where we end up, we're never really lost. There is always a "did you catch that game" from a stranger, or a familiar city name on a highway exit sign. There is always that great barbeque place off highway 453. These places and towns weren't all built by college football, but you know you can find it there, and that's just fine by me.
Now let's rank some football teams.
1 Georgia Southern Eagles 7-2 (6-0)
The Eagles are in the home stretch now, with only Texas State and a season ending game against ULM standing between them and a Sun Belt title. But before they could look ahead to the Bobcats, Georgia Southern had to handle the Trojans. Handle is actually a pretty good word for it. The Eagles outgained their opponent 3-1 in total yardage. That kind of offense mixed with all you can drink beer and BUTTAH is a recipe for success y'all. #GATA Read the full recap here.
2 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns 5-3 (4-0)
For the second week in a row Elijah McGuire had over 150 rushing yards in a half. At this point, the only question is who is better; McGuire or Cajun defensive lineman Christian Ringo. The two combined to create a perfect October after a disastrous September for UL. But Sun Belt championships are won in November. Read the full recap here.
3 Arkansas State Red Wolves 5-3 (3-1)
How the Red Wolves could be trailing at any point in a game where they commanded a +7 turnover margin is astounding, but there it is. It was only two minutes and 51 seconds in the third quarter, but it's there. A 16-point margin of victory is nice, but the Red Wolves can't let inferior opponents hang around. Southern and UL both still have to play a suddenly potent ULM team, and A-State still has a chance of taking a share of the Sun Belt crown. Read the full recap here.
4 South Alabama Jaguars 5-3 (4-2)
The south Alabama defense came to play, but the offense just couldn't find a rhythm. While the Cajuns only needed Terrance Broadway, Elijah McGuire, and James Butler to move the ball, the Jags had two quarterbacks sling to multiple receivers with only Shavarez Smith finding any real success. Sadly for USA, the wood chipper is still running, and Arkansas State awaits them next week. Read the full recap here.
5 Texas State Bobcats 5-3 (3-1)
Texas State, what are you? I know you are the Bobcats, but what are you really? See we have you ranked in the top 5 above a VERY deserving ULM team, and I'm thinking that is based purely on your record, which isn't really that helpful. I know you beat ULM last week, but are you really a better team? Read the full recap here.
6 ULM Warhawks 3-5 (2-2)
Speaking of teams with an identity crisis, holy crap Warhawks. We knew your defense was scrappy, and the Aggies did break in a new quarterback, but holding an SEC team not named Vanderbilt to 21 points is pretty impressive. With Southern and UL still on the schedule, I can't help but think ULM is prepping the launch codes to nuke somebody's title hopes. Read the full recap here.
7 Appalachian St. Mountaineers 3-5 (2-2)
So, let's get this straight. App State loses to Liberty. Then proceeds to skull drag Troy and Georgia State. And just to be dicks, they run a fake field goal while up 20-0 on the Panthers. Dammit Mountaineers, don't make me love you.
8 New Mexico State Aggies 2-7 (1-4)
NMSU played a respectable game against Texas State on Saturday, and I'm not sure if that is any consolation when you are on a seven game losing streak. Even worse, looking at the Aggies last three opponents, they'll probably finish the season with the streak intact. [PriceIsRightSadTrombone.mp3] Read the full recap here.
9 Idaho Vandals 1-7 (1-5)
10 Troy Trojans 1-8 (1-4)
Look on the bright side Troy. You guys play Georgia State and Idaho the next two weeks. You might be able to get a few more wins to send Blakeney out with. But to get that extra push, might I suggest a pep talk from your future head coach? Read the full recap here.
11 Georgia State Panthers 1-8 (0-6)
This Saturday against Troy is Georgia State's last real chance at a win for a very long time. The real question is whether it will be Trent Miles' last chance for a win in his head coaching career.