Life After Death: Sun Belt Heat Flickers for Week 4

Can the Sun Belt Rebound After a Disastrous Week 3?

You know what was great? Week 2. You know what sucked a sack of rocks? Week 3. You know how the Sun Belt can redeem itself? Not do another Week 3. It’s actually a simple strategy and I’m wondering if Keith Gill should worry about me coming for his well-appointed office at the Super Dome.

September 22

Coastal Carolina at Georgia State, 6:30 PM, ESPN 2

The Chanticleers have yet to leave Conway this season, and their first taste of a wider world is Fulton County, where future Nebraska coach Jamey Chadwell and future Browns draft pick Grayson McCall take on the 0-3 Georgia State Panthers – a team once predicted to general havoc in the Sun Belt East, but has instead lost to the likes of Charlotte and two Carolinas.

Vegas Says: Chants -2.5
Howlraiser Says: The Chanticleers haven’t looked like a contender even at 3-0. However, the Panthers look even less like a contender at 0-3. Still, should be a nice battle of quarterbacks between Darren Grainger and McCall. We lean Coastal.

September 24

James Madison at Appalachian State, 2:30 PM, ESPN Plus

The Dukes were smart to take the BYE and avoid the Week 3 shitshow. Unfortunately, they get one of the few Sun Belt teams that didn’t ruin their Hanes on Saturday. The Mountaineers, the first Sun Belt program to host ESPN College GameDay, needed a near 60-yard Hail Mary to defeat Troy. The 2-0 Dukes are hotter than the Trojans, and have had a week to prepare.

Vegas Says: Mountaineers -8
Howlraiser Says: Jimmy Mads has been pretty impressive against an FCS program and the football team formerly known as Middle Tennessee. Appalachian State, slayer of Texas A&M, is another animal. At home, App beats the spread.

Ball State at Georgia Southern, 5:00 PM, ESPN Plus

After seeing Bowling Green dispatch Marshall, The MAC is suddenly frightening to behold. Ball took their lumps from Tennessee and Western Michigan, but the Cardinals supped from the chalice of victory by shutting out Murray State on Saturday. Meanwhile, Georgia Southern followed up a brilliant beating of Nebraska by losing to UAB. Who are these guys?

Vegas Says: Eagles -9.5
Howlraiser Says: I’m kinda nervous about this one. The points feel more like Vegas still remembers Nebraska and forgot how ineffective Georgia Southern looked against the Blazers. Take the Eagles at home, but maybe not those points.

Arkansas State at Old Dominion, 5:00 PM, ESPN Plus

Both teams bore the slings and arrows of painful rivalry losses on Saturday, with the Monarchs falling 16-14 to the Virginia Cavaliers and the Red Wolves imploding late to the Memphis Tigers. Old Dominion tends to invite low scoring, defensive affairs, while Arkansas State relies more on offensive bursts to keep the score close. It will be interesting to see which unit breaks in Norfolk.

Vegas Says: Monarchs -5.5
Howlraiser Says: Arkansas State appeared to be methodically securing victory in Memphis before a comedic splash of errors sunk the Red Wolves late. A-State has chops, but that long trip to the East Coast is brutal. Stay away.

Southern Miss at Tulane, 6:00 PM, ESPN Plus

The Green Wave is 3-0 and glowing after Saturday’s victory over Kansas State. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles finally tasted the ambrosia of victory by demolishing Northwestern State 64-10 with junior wide receiver Jakarius Caston collecting two touchdowns. What’s a little weird is that four Golden Eagles took snaps against the Demons, with freshman Zach Wilcke getting the start over Ty Keyes.

Vegas Says: Green Wave -13
Howlraiser Says: Southern Miss would probably like to save some of those Demon points for Tulane, who have been very stingy on defense. This game throbs with danger. I think Tulane wins and beats the points.

Houston Baptist at Texas State, 6:00 PM, ESPN 3

The Bobcats looked competitive against Baylor for nearly two quarters before everything collapsed into a puddle of protoplasm. Neither Lane Hatcher or running back Calvin Hill had much offensive for the Bears, but both have an opportunity to bump dem stats against HBU.

Vegas Says: NA
Howlraiser Says: The Sun Belt record remains clean against FCS upsets.

Marshall at Troy, 6:00 PM, NFL Network

You know that moment in Western movies when a cowboy knocks out another cowboy, and then he wakes him up by pouring a bucket of water on him? That’s what happened to Marshall, who zombied themselves into a loss against Bowling Green on Saturday. The Herd will likely be looking to strangle a dispirited Troy, who was on batted-away Hail Mary from a huge upset over Appalachian State.

Vegas Says: Thundering Herd -3
Howlraiser Says: Man, this is tough. Troy at home is no picnic, and they proved on Saturday that they’re not allowing anyone from the Sun Belt East walk over them. Marshall may be furious after the MAC loss, but Troy may be the stronger squad. Roll with the Trojans.

Louisiana Tech at South Alabama, 6:00 PM, ESPN Plus

I predicted that South Alabama would take it to UCLA, and the Jags didn’t disappoint, taking the Bruins to the wire. Kane Wommack seems to have South Bama serious about taking over the Sun Belt West, and so far Toledo transfer Carter Bradley has been THE MAN at quarterback with 836 yards and seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have absorbed big losses to Missouri and Clemson – meaning they’ve ether been hardened in the crucible of battle or are completely demoralized and ready to call it quits.

Vegas Says: Jaguars -13
Howlraiser Says: Louisiana Tech is never an easy opponent in any sport, and South Bama will need to recover physically and mentally from the UCLA game. Beware the points.

Louisiana at ULM, 7:00 PM, ESPN Plus

One of the Sun Belt’s longest held rivalries gets an early kick-off this season. I’ve been dubious about the Cajuns all year, and the flat performance against Rice affirms my suspicions. On the other side of the hatred, the Warhawks took an epic beating from Alabama and may be ready to give up up football forever.

Vegas Says: Cajuns -9
Howlraiser Says: I think ULM is getting the home cooked serving of points, because nine feels a little low. However, the Cajuns offensive looked terrible against Rice. I think Louisiana overcomes ULM and the points, but it will be closer than Louisiana likes.