Welcome back to the weekly power rankings of the Sun Belt Conference.
There wasn’t much action in the #funbelt this week, with five teams having open dates.
However, there were some surprises and thrills in the action we did get, let’s jump in.
1. App State (4-0) (1-0) No movement: The Mountaineers are coming off the back-end of another bye-week after last week’s victory over Coastal Carolina.
App has hopefully used their extra time wisely to prepare for one of the most high-powered rushing teams in the nation this week in Louisiana.
App will travel to Lafayette this Wednesday night for a match-up that should prove to be very entertaining in the national spotlight.
2. Louisiana (4-1) (1-0) No Movement: The Ragin’ Cajuns also had a bye-week in preparation for their huge home match-up against cross-divisional rival App State.
The Cajuns should be favored in this match at home, and they should be comfortable in their execution.
Georgia Southern couldn’t stop the run and I don’t see App State’s defense being able to stop it either.
3. Troy (2-3) (0-1) No Movement: The Trojans traveled up to Missouri this past weekend to be humbled by transfer QB Kelly Bryant and the Tigers of Mizzou.
QB Kaleb Barker didn’t have much to show for in this contest, after passing for only 92 yards and completing 15 out of his 26 attempts. The Trojan faithful don’t need to hit the panic button though, the Trojans still control their own destiny at this point as everyone in the eastern division has a conference loss, besides App State.
However, the blending of Chip Lindsey’s offensive strategy may take longer than some expected. Troy will have a bye this weekend in preparation for a mid-week match-up against South Alabama on October 16th.
4. Georgia State (3-2) (1-1) Up three to Number 4: The Panthers showed signs of improvement this week as they gained a surprising win at home over Arkansas State.
QB Dan Ellington threw for 382 yards and one score, completing 29 of his 41 attempts. Destin Coates led the Panthers in scoring on the ground with 3 TDs.
The Panthers should enjoy this victory, but Sun Belt play is just getting started and they will need to be rapidly improving in being more consistent as the competition heats up. GSU will face-off against Coastal Carolina this weekend on the road.
5. Arkansas State (3-2) (1-1) Down one to No. 5: The Arkansas State faithful who traveled to Atlanta this past weekend were probably disappointed after losing to the Panthers of GSU.
The Red Wolves have been a team that have shown some fire against teams like Troy, but the injuries sustained are beginning to take their toll.
QB Layne Hatcher is still finding his rhythm in the starting role, but he continues to show each week that he is improving.
As the season continues, look for the Red Wolves to continue relying on their star receiver Omar Bayless to lead the way in scoring and YPC. Arkansas State will have a bye this weekend.
6. Georgia Southern (2-3) (1-1) Down one to Number 6: The Eagles find themselves at 2-3 on the season and 1-1 in the conference after an unimpressive two overtime win in Mobile this past Thursday over South Alabama.
Southern will need to find consistency on the offensive side of the ball. There is great depth at the RB position, but week-in and week-out we see that QB Shai Werts doesn’t have a supporting cast to help him in executing the offense.
OC Bob Debesse will need to be less conservative in his play-calling if Southern wants to have any shot of offensive productivity. The Eagles will have a bye this weekend to prepare for their next home match-up against Coastal on October 19th.
7. Coastal Carolina (3-2) (0-1) Down one to Number 7: The Chanticleers have had a week to rest and prepare for Georgia State this week after taking a loss last weekend in Boone against App State.
Coastal should continue to utilize their weapon in QB Fred Payton, who spent significant time during the off-season to improve. Coastal will face GSU this weekend at home.
8. Texas State (2-3) (1-0) No movement: The Bobcats are coming off a bye this week after defeating Nicholls State at home last Saturday.
Texas State is showing that are a rapidly improving team, as QB Gresch Jensen is continuing to find his groove in the offense.
The Bobcats will need to continue their momentum against ULM this Thursday night for a nationally televised match-up on ESPNU.
9. ULM (2-2) (1-0) No Movement: The Warhawks are coming off of an open date this week in preparation for their nationally televised match-up against The Bobcats of Texas State on Thursday night.
ULM will have a tough task against a good Texas State defense. ULM will surely look to their QB Caleb Evans to help open up the field with his arm.
However, I see this game being closely decided.
10. South Alabama (1-5) (0-2) No Movement: The Jaguars continue their recent struggles in another loss against conference opponent Georgia Southern.
Surprisingly, this contest was decided in two overtimes. South Alabama will need to improve on their ability to finish if they want to push themselves to be a middle-tier Sun Belt team.
South Alabama will have a bye this week in preparation for a mid-week match-up on October 16th against Troy at home.