In a conference of struggling teams, Texas State has the toughest road ahead
This is a nice way of saying, “The Bobcats are 2-6 and 0-4 in conference.” With ULM’s win over South Alabama this week, the non-Bobcat teams are starting to pull away in terms of not just wins, but program strength overall.
South ‘Bama at least has its signature season wins over then-ranked San Diego State, and previously against the same Mississippi State team that just bumped off #4 Texas A&M. The Bobcats meanwhile haven’t beaten an FBS team since edging out Ohio 56-54 in the first week of the season. That team has improved. Texas State has not.
It’s not looking to improve anytime soon, either, as first-year coach Everett Withers has games left against Idaho (see below), NMSU, then conference leaders Troy and Arkansas State. Finishing those final games 1-3 would be the most optimistic outcome.
Idaho is not going quietly
We mentioned this in weeks past, but this was the week the Vandals beat ULL to move to 5-4 (3-2), putting them one win from a bowl game and making them the best team in the Sun Belt that’s not currently in an undefeated 3-way tie for first.
That might sound like it’s reaching, but who had the Vandals reaching one of the Sun Belt’s very few bowl tie-ins at the start of the season? For a while there it looked like New Mexico State might be the one to stand out amongst the conference rejects, but they’ve faded in recent weeks and Idaho is right there, causing all the problems.
Their points scored in conference games (144) is about the same as points allowed (138), so they’re not going to win the conference but with Georgia Southern losing yet again this week the bowl committees might just tap Idaho to go out with a bang.
Week Eleven is going be nuts
First of all, UL-Lafayette (3-5) travels to Georgia Southern (4-5) and the loser is officially eliminated from bowl contention. Only slightly more importantly, Appalachian State plays on the road at Troy in what is unquestionably the Sun Belt Game of the Year.
We know, we know, Arkansas State has quietly risen in the ranks to 4-4 (4-0 in conference), but Troy sits at 7-1 overall with its only loss coming to Clemson by a mere six points. Their signature win so far this season is against Southern Miss, which should make the conference games a walk, except they’ve not exactly blown away conference play— they beat South Alabama by a touchdown, and Georgia State by ten. How much deeper can they dig into that bag of tricks against the Mountaineers next week?
App State, meanwhile, came within a touchdown of beating Tennessee, and their actual signature win this season was against... Old Dominion. This team doesn’t play Arkansas State this season, so this game is the de facto Sun Belt championship. And that’s a heckuva thing to learn about the Sun Belt in Week 11.