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Three Things We Learned from the Sun Belt in Week 8

The Conference race shakes out, ULL shows signs of life, and some underperformers get written off

Louisiana Lafayette v Tulane Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The conference title runs through Troy

Troy is not the only #FunBelt team undefeated in conference play. They sit atop the conference at 4-0, Georgia Southern at 3-1, Arkansas State at 2-0. But after eight weeks, Troy has put up 263 points, the most of any Sun Belt team. If you count only conference games, they’re still at the top with 145, more than the Eagles and Red Wolves combined.

This week's opponent South Alabama had been hit-and-miss this year, defeating Mississippi State and a ranked San Diego State, yet are still somehow 3-4 overall and 0-4 in conference after this weeks loss to Troy. Whatever these higher-profile programs were doing to underestimate the Jaguars, Troy made no such mistake this week, turning a 21-13 halftime deficit into a 28-21 victory, holding the Jags scoreless for the entire second half.

Records aside, this is still the most impressive win for a Sun Belt team this week. And after what is sure to be another gimme against UMass in two weeks, the eyes of the entire conference turn to the Nov. 12 showdown against Appalachian State, in what could be the conference game of the year.

There’s life in the ol’ Cajuns yet

After losing a squeaker to NMSU and then getting blanked by App State last week, we were prepared to write the Cajuns off until 2017. But this week they came roaring back, shutting down Texas State 27-3 in San Marcos.

The Bobcats are currently having their own problems, but the Cajuns put up 236 yards on the ground, including 112 yards and 2 touchdowns from Elijah McGuire. Quarterback Anthony Jennings wasn’t breaking any records, but did manage 156 yards on the day, good enough for not just the victory but a decisive victory at a point in the season when the Ragin’ Cajuns sorely needed to show some signs of life.

ULL enters their bye week celebrating a victory, and a decent shot to move up the standings with their Nov. 5 matchup against Idaho.

We learned which teams are definitely not going bowling

Texas State dropped to 2-5 (0-3). NMSU dropped to 2-5 (1-3), ULM 2-5 (0-4), and the aforementioned South Alabama fell to 3-4 (0-4).

It’s not that any of these teams necessarily had strong bowl buzz headed into the season, but three of them are one loss from making it official, forcing us to call it. South Alabama dropped to 0-4 in conference and it’s not looking good for them either, leaving the conference title up in the air among the top teams-- but the final list of SBC bowl teams all but finalized.

Meanwhile, Georgia State beat their FCS opponent this week, but is still 2-5, and Idaho sits at 4-4 with four games remaining, and could just as easily finish 4-0 as they could 0-4. The Vandals are really the only question mark remaining, but with only so many bowl berths to go around, their fate might very well already be decided, too.