Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin and Jack Fitzpatrick
After a 63-7 thrashing of Norfolk State, JMU football is off this week. We, however, won’t take a bye week from our weekly roundtable discussion.
The Dukes face Appalachian State on Sept. 24 in their first Sun Belt game. We’ll talk about that, and more, in this week’s roundtable.
Marshall, Appalachian State, and Georgia Southern all secured huge upset wins last weekend. What does that do for the league’s national perception?
Bennett: It obviously improves the perception, and it’s an exponential leap for the league. I expected the conference to incrementally gain credibility throughout the season, like when Old Dominion upset an average Virginia Tech team. Instead, two SBC teams knocked off top-10 teams, and Georgia Southern beat a well-known program in Nebraska.
It was a huge week for the Sun Belt, and it gave the conference immediate credibility on a national level. That respect should only grow in coming seasons. JMU finds itself in an incredible position moving forward.
Jack: We saw what it does in real time! It garners national attention and leapfrogs the Sun Belt, and specifically the Sun Belt East, to a position it wouldn’t otherwise be in. While the American loses its key members and replaces them with okay programs, the AAC as a whole is floundering. Meanwhile, the Sun Belt is regional and pulling off some of the greatest upsets in the last 10 years all on the same day.
This bolsters everything the Sun Belt has been working toward.
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