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Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week 5

By Jack Fitzpatrick

The Sun Belt really delivers on a week in week out basis. This week, somehow Southern Miss lost to Arkansas State! I mean, that is insane! Southern Miss let the Red Wolves hang 44 on them too, a Red Wolves team that looked lifeless on offense to start the season. 

Back up that game up with Marshall just taking it to Virginia Tech (transitive win in play now for JMU) and Curt Cignetti using a cell phone to show those Mountain West refs how badly they messed up and you got a wacky and wonderful Week 4. Let’s try to decipher what happened this past weekend and see where the movers and shakers are. 

  1. Marshall (3-0) | Last week: 24-17 W vs. VA Tech

Marshall jumps to number one this week because of the home win over Virginia Tech. It seemed that Marshall dominated the Hokies from start to finish and it was never really all that close. Plus, they get some cool points for that drone video.  

  1. JMU (4-0, 1-0) | Last week: 45-38 W @ Utah State 

JMU finishes off three straight road games with a wild win at Utah State and an unblemished record. The Dukes offense came to play in this game but the defense nearly blew a 24-0 lead against the Aggies. There are some major questions in the secondary on the Dukes team which is why they are second.

  1. Georgia State (4-0, 1-0) | Last week: 30-17 W @ Coastal 

A massive jump for my preseason dark horse SBC East winner pick. I love what the Panthers are doing on offense and defense. The combo of Darren Grainger + Marcus Carroll is absolutely electric. Garinger is one of the most dynamic QBs in the conference with a 0.39 EPA/Play and Carroll is averaging 5.2 yards per touch and 2 TDs a game. I am pumped for Georgia State’s test this weekend against Troy. 

  1. Troy (2-2, 0-1) | Last week: 27-24 W vs. Western Kentucky

Troy played a hard fought game against Western Kentucky and came out with a win. The Trojans are going to need more out of their rushing attack moving forward though to move up this ranking. It can’t all come down to Gunnar Watson, Kimani Vidal has to start finding a rhythm. 

  1. South Alabama (2-2) | Last week: 34-30 L vs. Central Michigan

Not a good home loss for South Alabama. Granted they did win that game in virtually every metric other than the final score. But the Jaguars have one of the worst secondary’s in the conference according to EPA/play and what was once their calling card, the USA defense has let them down a few times this season. 

  1. Georgia Southern (3-1) | Last week: 40-3 W @ Ball State

Georgia Southern is on the cusp of a Georgia State like jump next week. This offense is the best in the conference and the defense went on the road and held Ball State to zero touchdowns. They may be putting something special together 

  1. App State (2-2) | Last week: 22-19 L @ Wyoming

The only reason App State fell this week is because Georgia Southern had to move up. The Mountaineers went across the country and nearly pulled out a win. This team has the potential to win the East.  

  1. Coastal Carolina (2-2, 0-1) | Last week: 30-17 L vs. Georgia State

That was an ugly loss. Georgia State dominated Coastal Carolina and the Chanticleers offense didn’t make me believe they are all that great. 

  1. Texas State (3-1) | Last week: 35-24 W vs. Nevada

Texas State continues to win games and stick around.  

  1. Louisiana (3-1, 0-1) | Last week: 45-38 W vs. Buffalo 

Close win over a bad Buffalo team. That ODU loss may come back to bite them this season. 

  1. ULM (2-1) | Last week: OFF 

Congratulations ULM! You moved up without playing a game! 

  1. Arkansas State (2-2, 1-0) | Last week: 44-37 W vs. Southern Miss

WOW! Arkansas State had arguably the worst offense in the conference coming into this game. Southern Miss might actually be terrible and the Red Wolves may not be.  

  1. ODU (2-2, 1-0) | Last week: 10-9 W vs. Texas A&M Commerce 

Nothing to see here just a one point win over a transitioning FCS school at home.

  1. Southern Miss (1-3, 0-1) | Last week: 44-37 L @ Southern Miss 

An L to Arkansas State is always going to make you fall. Allowing the Red Wolves to score 44 is going to make you fall more. Southern Miss fan vibes are also terrible after this loss. There might be not a lot of hope left in Mississippi. 

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