Sell The Sizzle: Sun Belt Preview for Week 3

Vegas Odds, Howlraiser Analysis, Kick-Off Times and Some Obnoxious Chest Beating

Last night, I was watching an episode of Cobra Kai on Netflix, where one character serving prison time was forced to surrender his Jello-cup to a jail yard bully. But eventually, the bullied became the bully! Using the power of karate, our hero physically dispatched the bully and snarled, “Now you give me YOUR Jello!”

Power Five Jello belongs to the Sun Belt now.

This didn’t happen as suddenly as a well-executed throat punch. You may recall the Big 12 Massacre of 2020, when the Sun Belt dropped three Big 12 opponents on the same day – Louisiana over Iowa State, Arkansas State over Kansas State and Coastal Carolina over Kansas (again).

In Week 2 of this season, the Sun Belt underscored that domination with even more dominating domination! Marshall took out #8 Notre Dame, Appalachian State humiliated #6 Texas A&M, and Georgia Southern destroyed Scott Frosts’ career at Nebraska by dumping the Cornhuskers.

Your Jello belongs to us, Power DEFEATED Five. Scream for the mercy we will not give! Know in your broken hearts that every platitude you receive from ESPN and FOX is undeserved! But whatever you do, don’t stop signing those massive game day checks. We still need the dough.

Texas State at #17 Baylor, 11:00 AM, FS1

Baylor has a win over Albany and a loss to #21 BYU, but the AP Top 25 puts the Bears at #17 while undefeated Marshall and Texas A&M’s daddy Appalachian State remains outside is the perfect example of why the AP Top 25 is a port-o-potty overflowing with blue-blood crap. The Bobcats are coming off a solid win over a miserable FIU team, but head coach Jake Spavital is going to be enthusiastic about hopping on the SBC P5 Beatdown Bus.

Vegas Says: -30.5 Bears
Howlraiser Says: Layne Hatcher seemed to find his stuff against FIU, and RB Calvin Hill is a legit run threat. Grab those points

Buffalo at Coastal Carolina, 12:00 PM, ESPN+

First of all, I’d like to congratulate the Chanticleers for pulling off the SEC Home OOC Scheduling Coup for the second consecutive season. Seriously, to the Chants ever leave Conway? Coastal Carolina has put up two shaky home victories over Army and FCS Gardner-Webb. However, the Bulls have been far shakier, coming off a stunning loss to FCS Holy Cross. The Chants may be compiling wins, but the low degree of difficulty may not be preparing the team for the rigors of a title run.

Vegas Says: -14 Chants
Howlraiser Says: The Chanticleers will more than likely win, but will they cover? Ehhhhhhhh…

South Alabama at UCLA, 1:00 PM, PAC12 Network

Kane Wommack has lead the Jags to a pair of unspectacular but satisfyingly solid victories, the latest over a decent Central Michigan team. Toledo transfer QB Carter Bradley puffed up his stats,
(354 Yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick) but running back La’Damian Webb was put in some work, scoring two TDs on 20 carries. UCLA has been consistent in its blowouts of opponents, putting up 45 points on Bowling Green and Alabama State.

Vegas Says: -15.5 Bruins
Howlraiser Says: UCLA receives a big line for a team that has yet to be tested. Still, the Sun Belt is notoriously bad against the PAC 12, but also remember that the Jaguars traveled all the way to San Diego to upset the Aztecs in 2015.

Old Dominion at Virginia, 1:00 PM, ACC Network

Unlike the Chants, the Monarchs are throwing themselves against the rocks of a stringent schedule, first host Virginia Tech before taking on a very strong ECU program. Old Dominion quarterback Hayden Wolff showed some improvement in the loss to the Pirates, but it will likely be up to the Monarchs to deliver the win by stopping Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong who did not look good (180 yards, two picks) in a miserable 24-3 loss to Illinois.

Vegas Says: -9.5 Cavaliers
Howlraiser Says: Why, Vegas, why? Honestly, is Virginia much better than Virginia Tech? Take the points. Maybe take the outright.

Troy at Appalachian State, 2:30 PM, ESPN Plus

I’m curious: has ESPN College GameDay ever visited a campus whose game is being aired on ESPN Plus? I mean, good for Plus. Anyway, the Mountaineers have been high-fiving pretty hard after upsetting #6 Texas A&M. Could they overlook Troy, a team that hasn’t looked particularly special this season with a loss to Ole Miss and a too-hard win over Alabama A&M? Possibly. Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson is throwing too many picks (three total, two against Bama A&M), but Carlton Martial is still a defensive beast and sophomore wideout Jabre Barber is heating up.

Vegas Says: -12.5 Mountaineers
Howlraiser Says: I can’t think of any reason why the Mountaineers can’t beat this spread, unless they find 1) Troy super-hyped to be in Boone, and 2) Appalachian State hungover

Georgia Southern at UAB, 2:30, (uh)

The reward for defeating Nebraska and pounding the final nail into a coach’s career coffin? A game broadcast on an obscure website! You are awesome, CUSA! Anyway, a lightning hot Eagles team bearing the air raid offense for which Georgia Southern is famous for visits Birmingham to check in on the Blazers, who rewarded the American’s faith in them by dropping a game to future CUSA member Liberty in Week 2.

Vegas Says: -11.5 Blazers
Howlraiser Says: I guess Vegas values that Birmingham advantage for UAB, but my advice is catch the Eagles while they’re flying hight

ULM at #2 Alabama, 3:00 PM, SEC Network

So, uh, Nick Saban hasn’t forgotten his decades-old humiliation at the talons of the Warhawks.

Vegas Says: -49 Crimson Tide
Howlraiser Says: That seems like a lot of points, but then again, Saban is a lot of Saban

Marshall at Bowling Green, 4:00 PM, NFL Network

Marshall faces the same threat as Appalachian State – CRITICAL LETDOWN. How does one square the thrill of taking down Notre Dame against the inglorious business of visiting Bowling Green? So far, the Thundering Herd’s Henry Colombi hasn’t found a lane to dominate, but the Marshall run game has been effective even without Rashaad Ali. Bowling Green is coming off a high-scoring affair with FCS Eastern Kentucky – and a crushing at USC.

Vegas Says: -17 Herd
Howlraiser Says: The spread looks weak. WEAK.

Northwestern State at Southern Miss, 6:00 PM, ESPN3

Can Frank Gore Jr. play defense? Kick field goals? Punt? Lead a cheer squad?

Vegas Says: NA
Howlraiser Says: Frank Gore Jr. wins

Arkansas State at Memphis, 6:00 PM, ESPN Plus

These two have exchanged haymakers since 1914, the last a 55-50 donnybrook that ended with a James Blackman Hail Mary pass batted away in the Tigers end zone as time expired. A year later both quarterbacks return for round two, with Seth Hennigan leading a pass heavy Tigers offense. Offense isn’t really the question. The question is, does either team have enough defense to stop the other from scoring?

Vegas Says: -14 Tigers
Howlraiser Says: With only 70 miles separating the campuses, this is hardly a definitive home game for Memphis. Take those points with confidence PLUS.

Charlotte at Georgia State, 6:00 PM, ESPN Plus

35 points is the cursed number for Panthers, having surrendered the digits twice in consecutive weeks. However, Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger looked more like the top tier QB he was project to be in the loss to North Carolina in week 2, completing 16 of 24 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. While the passing game has been slow to materialize, the run game hasn’t helped, with only one TD on the season. The answer lies with Charlotte – already 0-3 with a miserable FCS loss to William and Mary.

Vegas Says: -19 Panthers
Howlraiser Says: This spread seems right to me. Third time’s the charm for Shawn Elliot and the Panthers, who should cruise easily in Atlanta.

Louisiana at Rice, 6:30 PM, ESPN Plus

I confess, I haven’t the foggiest idea on the Cajuns, who lost a ton of talent after Billy Napier left for Florida but still had enough firepower to put up 28 fourth quarter points on Eastern Michigan on Saturday. That game pretty much looked the way I predicted for three quarters, with the Eagles leading 14-0 at the half. Cajuns made the halftime adjustment and proceeded to outscore EMU 49-7 behind the true dual-QB play of Ben Woodridge and Chandler Fields. Meanwhile, Rice is the Ivy League of the South with a damn fine curriculum.

Vegas Says: -11.5 Cajuns
Howlraiser Says: Rice gave up 66 to USC. Take the Cajuns to beat the spread.