If you arrogantly think you know something about the Sun Belt, you’re so wrong.
As we watched #25 James Madison fall to a confounding Georgia Southern team on Saturday, I could not help but to remember the 2016 Troy Trojans, who cracked the AP Top 25 late in the season only to have a visiting Arkansas State team trounce-bounce them out of the poll a week later.
The Cajuns, Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina proved that a Sun Belt team can sustain a multi-week tenure in the AP/Playoff Committee Poll, but there does seem to be a curse on those SBC teams tasting that kind of success for the very first time. James Madison is the latest to feel the pain. Ironically, Tulane assumes to the Dukes place at #25. The Green Wave’s lone loss is courtesy of the Sun Belt – a surprise drumming from Southern Miss.
The Cajuns Are Officially Less Dead Than The Thundering Herd
Congratulations, Louisiana, for the resumption of cell division, which qualifies you as basically being alive. The Cajuns waltzed into Huntington and reminded the Sun Belt universe that 1) the Sun Belt West still exists, and 2) Louisiana is still the defending SBC champs. Neither team seem to offer much offensively, but the Cajun defense did force a pair of turnovers, including picking off Henry Colombi before knocking him out of the game entirely.
Are the Cajuns back? It’s never too late to be back in the Sun Belt West.
Arkansas State Has a Bad Fourth Quarter Problem
This Saturday, and for the third time this season, the Red Wolves entered the fourth quarter with a lead (this time against Southern Miss) only to finish the game with a dismaying and deflating defeat. Of course, not everyone is dismayed about Arkansas State’s fourth quarter collapses:
Arkansas State’s misfortune is the Golden Eagle’s gain – and the Memphis Tigers’ and the Old Dominion Monarchs’. It’s not unreasonable to believe that the Red Wolves could be 5-2 right now.
Coastal’s Supernatural Luck Finally Runs Out
We knew a loss had to happen sooner or later. Jamey Chadwell and Coastal have been coasting into victories since barely edging Army in the season opener. But few could predict that Old Dominion would saunter into Conway and completely blow out the Chanticleers 49-21 behind Blake Watson’s 256 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Monarchs (not #1 in the SBC East), who had averaged a smidge more than 21 points per game, weren’t impressed with Grayson McCall, the Chants’ flawless record, the South Carolinian humidity, sky-high inflation, or the alarming decrease of focus in the recent Marvel movies.
South Alabama Might Be the Best Team in the Sun Belt
For a football half there, it appeared that ULM would completely upend the SBC West by upsetting South Bama. But the Jaguars put up a 17-0 third quarter on the Warhawks, and Carter Bradley’s three touchdowns on 420 passing yards led to a 41-34 victory and sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt West. The win over the Warhawks wasn’t pretty, but the Jags passed the test while others in the Sun Belt (Appalachian State, JMU, Coastal, Louisiana) have all stumbled.