Sun Belt Select: Week 9 Offers Choice Cuts of Pigskin

NEW ORLEANS - JULY 27: Photos of th 2022 Sun Belt Conference Football Media Days at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel on July 27, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sun Belt Predictions, Analysis, Odds, Venues, Kick Off Times, Plus & More for Week 9

A fist-full of teams take a brief sabbatical this week: ULM, Texas State, Troy. Georgia Southern and James Madison. That leaves a handful of programs looking to make a move in the Sun Belt Standings.

Thursday, October 27

Louisiana at Southern Miss, 6:30, ESPN 2

The Sun Belt has a tough challenge surpassing last week’s epic Thursday Night battle between Troy and South Alabama, but there is enough Sun Belt West fuel between the Cajuns and Southern Miss to maintain the heat. Both teams have pulled themselves into divisional relevance by orchestrating a two-game win streak, with Will Hall’s Golden Eagles having won a pair fourth quarter thrillers. However, the Cajuns wins over Marshall and Arkansas State have been more decisive – and more Cajuns-like.

Vegas Says: -1 Golden Eagles
Howlraiser Says: Vegas may lack the intestinal courage to make a definitive decision, but not Howlraiser! Southern Miss enjoys the Hattiesburg advantage, but the Cajuns’ Ben Woodridge is emerging as a true threat at quarterback – a position the Golden Eagles have yet to nail down. Roll with Louisiana.

Saturday, October 29

Old Dominion at Georgia State, 2:00 P.M., ESPN Plus

A meeting of the most mercurial programs in the Sun Belt East! Both the Panthers and the Monarchs bring occasionally strong defenses and frustratingly flawed offenses to the gridiron to open the Sun Belt’s Saturday action. The Monarchs are most recently bounced by the Eagles from atop the East standings while the Panthers lick their wounds after a second-half thumping from Appalachian State. Whoever wins this game remains in the Sun Belt East conversation.

Vegas Says: -4 Panthers
Howlraiser Says: Who is more likely to pull his team from the acid pit of adversity: the Panthers’ Shawn Elliot or the Monarchs’ Rickey Rahne? Which QB rises to the occasion: Old Dominion’s Hayden Wolff or Georgia State’s Darren Grainger? We think this result of the game rests on defense, and that the Monarchs’ stiff Red Zone defense is the difference maker.

Robert Morris at Appalachian State, 2:30, ESPN Plus

How did two FCS programs wind up on the Mountaineers schedule? We’re too lazy and disinterested to investigate.

Vegas Says: NA
Howlraiser Says: In the wise eyes of Bowl Selectors, only one victory over an FCS opponent counts – which Appalachian State already collected against Citadel. I don’t know where the motivation lies, except maybe the Mountaineers have an ancient grudge against the Colonial’s famed financier of the Revolutionary War.

South Alabama at Arkansas State, 3:00 P.M., ESPNU

The Jaguars enter this game having just battled Troy to a 10-6 defeat. Meanwhile, the Red Wolves suffered their third consecutive loss, this time at the spicy hands of the Cajuns. Despite the loss, South Alabama has never been stronger, with Kane Womack crafting a well balanced program led by Toledo transfer quarterback Carter Bradley. In Jonesboro, the beat-up Red Wolves need a hospital ward, not a ninth consecutive game.

Vegas Says: -12.5 Jaguars
Howlraiser Says: An injured James Blackman sat out the game against Louisiana, and the Red Wolves offense clearly paid the price. If Blackman sits again, look for South Alabama to demolish the Vegas line (while destroying the Arkansas State offensive line).

Coastal Carolina at Marshall, 6:00 P.M., NFL Network

How the script has flipped. Marshall, still in last place, defeats James Madison in Harrisonburg and finds itself a Vegas favorite to beat Coastal Carolina, who currently heads the Sun Belt East. The Chants enter the game well rested after the bye, which they likely spent dissecting that bizarre blowout loss to ODU. The Thundering Herds’ run game looked strong against the Dukes behind Khalan Laborn, but will that be enough to neutralize Jamey Chadwell’s thirst for vengeance?

Vegas Says: -2 Herd
Howlraiser Says: Marshall is getting the home field shrug from Vegas, and nobody is saying that Huntington is an easy place to visit. However, Coastal Carolina still has Grayson McCall and and offense that can pick apart any defense (ODU’s notwithstanding). We see the Chanticleers rebounding here.