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Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week 4

By Jack Fitzpatrick

Week 3 in the Sun Belt provided a ton of awesome moments, and really brought the picture into clarity. With some conference action beginning between James Madison and Troy, it was good to see how two top teams in the conference fared against each other. 

Outside of the conference action, ODU blew a late lead against an ACC opponent, South Alabama wrecked a Big 12 team and Georgia Southern looked competitive against a Big Ten team for the second straight year. 

Let’s dive into how the teams shake out this week. 

  1. South Alabama (2-1) | Last week: 33-7 W @ Oklahoma State

 A blowout win, on the road, in Big 12 country is always impressive. South Alabama also looks fairly competitive earlier in the season against Tulane. I think the Jaguars are the team to beat this season and I am picking them to win the Sun Belt Championship at the end of the season. They are legit both offensively and defensively.

  1. James Madison (3-0) | Last week: 16-14 W @ Troy

JMU dropped from No. 1 to 2 this week because of the offensive play this last weekend. Honestly, the offensive play was a bit offensive. 65% of all first downs to this point in the season against FBS schools have been a run play. JMU averaged a 3rd and 8 against the Trojans. The offense needs to find a rhythm this week to continue to stay atop the rankings. 

  1. Coastal Carolina (2-1) | Last week: 66-7 W vs. Duquesne

A blow out win over a team you should blow out. Big time for the Chanticleers. They are quietly putting together a great start to the season under new head coach Tim Beck. You have to assume they will only get better as the season rolls on as well. 

  1. Troy (1-2) | Last week: 16-14 L vs. James Madison

Troy’s defense is legit. A new coordinator and losing the team’s leading tackler from a year ago caused a bit of a slow start but against JMU they looked exactly like the 2022 version. However, the offense might be below average. 

  1. Marshall (2-0) | Last week: BYE

A bye week neither helps or hurts the Thundering Herd. This team has the capabilities of hitting the one spot though here soon if the offense can figure some things out. 

  1. App State (2-1) | Last week: 43-28 W vs. East Carolina

A blow out win over an in state opponent at home is always good. This week they stay put. 

  1. Georgia State (3-0) | Last week: 41-25 W @ Charlotte

One of the three undefeated teams in the Sun Belt and that last win against Charlotte was quite impressive. Charlotte’s offense isn’t great but they had a serviceable defense to start the season. It didn’t look that way with Darren Grainger calling the shots on Saturday. I think this Panthers offense, which is averaging 462 yards of total offense a game, may be the best unit in the Sun Belt.  

  1. Georgia Southern (2-1) | Last week: 35-14 L @ Wisconsin 

Look, I didn’t want to drop Georgia Southern at all this week. But after starting QB Davis Brin threw 5 INTs against Wisconsin they had to slide a bit. This is still a high powered offense that is averaging 463 yards of total offense so far this season, second best in the SBC, but there are still glaring issues that need to be fixed. 

  1. Texas State (2-1) | Last week: 77-34 W vs. Jackson State

Good win, and the offense continues to impress. GJ Kinne has the team firing on all cylinders behind transfer QB TJ Finley. Finley has been one of the best QBs in the league up to this point and is a big reason the Bobcats have had this early season success. The issue though is this team is in the bottom half of the Sun Belt in scoring defense. They have tighten up that part of the team to jump back into the top half of the Power Rankings.  

  1. ODU (1-2) | Last week: 27-24 L vs. Wake Forest

Some people may have punished ODU for blowing that game late against Wake Forest. To me, I am thoroughly impressed by the Monarchs’ start to the season. ODU is 1-2, but they have covered two of the three games and I am honestly shocked by that. 

  1. Louisiana (2-1) | Last week: 41-21 W @ UAB

Louisiana’s twenty point win over UAB makes me believe that the Ragin’ Cajuns may be a tough team to beat this season. Especially since that was a big time win on the road. However, UAB under first year head coach Trent Dilfer have been bad to start the season so I couldn’t reward the win too much. 

  1. Southern Miss (1-2) | Last week: 21-3 L vs. Tulane

Southern Miss is going through it right now. After the opening week win vs. Alcorn State it has been a nightmare since. Southern Miss has been outscored 87-16 in the last two games. 

  1. ULM (1-2) | Last week: 47-3 L @ Texas A&M

The offense for ULM is still lacking. They are averaging just 14.7 points per game. 

  1. Arkansas State (1-2) | Last week: 31-7 W vs. Stony Brook

Arkansas State finally got in the win column. However, this offense still lacks a lot of firepower and this may be the only win the Red Wolves get all season.   

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