Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week 3

By Jack Fitzpatrick

Week 2 of the Sun Belt Football season saw JMU take down a Power 5 program, App State go toe-to-toe with one of the best QBs in this year’s draft class and two other teams get handled against a Big 12 school and an ACC team. 

This may go down as the most movement we will see all season in these rankings. Only one team, the Arkansas State Red Wolves, didn’t move from their Week 2 position. Through the first two weeks it is a bit difficult to get a good read on how these teams play.

  1. James Madison | Last week: 36-35 win over UVA

James Madison got the lone Power 5 win over the weekend thanks to a miraculous 4th quarter 11-point comeback. The defense is one of the best units in the nation against the run but the secondary sure can get got. It will be interesting to see how they continue to take steps forward after what Curt Cignetti called a C+ at best game in Charlottesville.  

  1. Coastal Carolina | Last week: 30-16 W vs. Jacksonville State

A 30-16 win over a Jacksonville State team that was in the FCS a year ago may not be something to write home about, but I am impressed. I expected a bit of regression out of the Chanticleers this season under new head coach Tim Beck and a change in offensive scheme. Through two games they have allowed the fifth least amount of points and looked good against UCLA. 

  1. South Alabama | Last week: 35-17 W vs. Southeastern Louisiana 

South Alabama’s defense, which was their calling card a year ago, was thrashed time and time again in Week 1 vs. Tulane and allowing 17 points against SELA and over 400 yards of total offense leaves me with some questions which is why despite being 2-0 they fall behind the 1-1 Chanticleers. 

  1. Troy | Last week: 42-13 L vs. Kansas State

Troy was in this game for 29 minutes of the first half. Then a late first half touchdown swung some momentum. I think there may be some worry with Troy’s defense after hiring a new defensive coordinator. 

  1. Marshall | Last week: 31-13 W vs. ECU

An anemic offense last week vs. FCS Albany, Marshall came out this Saturday against a Mike Houston led ECU team and made up for it. 392 total yards, 22 first downs and a final score fo 31-13 makes me believe that Marshall may be a top 3 Sun Belt team by year’s end. But that Albany game was still a week ago so I still have some reservations. 

  1. App State | Last week: 40-34 2OT L vs. UNC

App State went toe-to-toe with UNC and very well could of won. The issue, it seems again, is the defense. The offense is good, the backup junior quarterback Joey Aguilar has excelled and made the offense hum. The defense though has allowed 32 points per game and may lose them a lot of games this season. 

  1. Georgia Southern | Last week: 49-35 W vs. UAB

Don’t look now but Georgia Southern has the third best defense in the league, allowing just 17.5 points per game. Actually, you may want to look now because that will quickly inflate. This offense though, under Clay Helton’s leadership, is still potent and amazing. 

  1. Texas State | Last week: 20-13 L vs. UTSA

While I don’t think they will replicate the win against Baylor again this season, GJ Kinne has proved to me in this close UTSA loss that his Texas State squad will be a tough team to beat all season. 

  1. Georgia State | Last week: 35-14 W vs. UConn

HAHA! I feel vindicated… kind of. This defense only allowed 14 points to UConn after allowing 40+ to FCS Rhode Island. I love this offense and the defense is showing some life. 

  1. ODU | Last week: 38-31 W vs. Louisiana 

A shocking win. After doing more than I expected against Virginia Tech then coming out and hanging 38 I think ODU might not be terrible? 

  1. Southern Miss | Last week: 66-13 L vs. Florida State

I know it is a Top 5 team. I know Southern Miss didn’t come in to this season with extremely high aspirations. But a 53-point loss just is hard to stomach regardless. (At least it wasn’t a 73 point loss…) 

  1. Louisiana | Last week: 38-31 L vs. ODU

ODU isn’t supposed to be good, and you lost. You are going to fall. 

  1. ULM | Last week: 24-14 W vs. Lamar

I could be dead wrong, but I just don’t think ULM has a good offense. 

  1. Arkansas State | Last week: 37-3 L vs. Memphis

Arkansas State has played eight quarters of football this season The Red Wolves have been outscored 110-3.

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