But if you watched last year’s version of the team, you had to like what you saw on the floor. Omier is a double-double superstar, and the young roster can only become better by Eaton’s well-practiced hand. If ever were to come Balado’s make-it or break-it year, this is absolutely it.

Arkansas State has won six of its last eight, including two against Sun Belt West contender Georgia Southern behind masterful pitching performances that yielded all of two earned runs. Among the losses, an epic 12-15 defeat at Ole Miss, indicating that the Red Wolves bats are more than capable of producing mid-week runs against a ranked SEC opponent. Arkansas State has never been hotter in 2021, and it will need every degree of that heat in Fayetteville on Tuesday.

Remember what the great George Costanza tells us: It’s not a lie if you believe it. Everybody thinks Rowdy Roddy Piper was a great wrestler, but have you ever seen him win a wrestling match? Nope. Moxie was his greatness, and it can be the Sun Belt’s too.

Whoever or whatever is at fault, it’s now Butch Jones’ problem to fix. But let’s be real. It’s not Jones’ job (nor was it Anderson’s) to get guys into the NFL. The job is to win games (oh yeah, and to make better men or something). But you have to believe that Jones’ focus on detail and drive to smash his critics’ teeth will result in better Combine evals and Pro Day scores.

What we didn’t learn was much about the 2021 Red Wolves. That’s really the function of a Spring Game – getting nothing and liking it. After all, aan offense that puts 500 yards in the Spring can easily average under 300 in the fall. All fans can really expect is to put an eye on some prospects, gauge the attitude of the new coach, and inventory the stars who are too injured to suit up.

Universities invite change, culture, exotic foreigners, weird art, spiritual awakenings, alcohol use, dancing, sexual experimentation, diversity, exposed abdomens, traffic, and a rainbow of criminal activities – drivers of growth both positive and painful that are at odds with Jonesboro’s unofficial charter of peace, quiet, and predictably. For decades, Arkansas State was viewed by many locals as a potential powder keg whose only purpose was to destroy the status quo. Jonesboro likes its quo.

Much like the hire of Butch Jones earlier this year, the Bowen hire smacks of bottomline mentality. Under Bowen, Memphis radically transformed its football infrastructure while maintaining acceptable (if not championship caliber) results in basketball. It was Bowen who ushered Memphis from CUSA to the Big East (lol) to the AAC. It was Bowen who hired Mike Norvell…and Tubby Smith, which was quite the drama.

If you’re a Georgia State fan, you’re probably pointing to the 158 point NET gap between the conference’s highest ranked program (the Panthers) and the lowest ranked program (the Warhawks). But honestly, so what, Panthers? This season was so COVID stupid, that the Sun Belt West has yet to even play the Sun Belt East. Furthermore, added to this whack-season is that the Warhawks have played six more games than the Panthers. What do we know about the Sun Belt? Nothing.