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Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week 7

By Jack Fitzpatrick

This past week didn’t see a lot of action as a large portion of the Sun Belt was on a bye week. There was however a bit of moving and shaking around the power rankings. Also worth noting, I factored in Tuesday night’s game between App State and Coastal Carolina. 

Let’s dive into the rankings and see why these teams stand where they do. 

  1. James Madison 5-0, 2-0 | Last week: BYE 

The bye week strengthened my decision to put JMU at the top. This is a Dukes team that leads the league in sacks, tackles for loss and is 4th in interceptions. The offense is led by Jordan McCloud the 3rd most efficient QB in the league and has a 0.23 EPA/Play. The Dukes air attack is potent and this team can win in more ways than one. I think the Dukes, bias aside, are the top tier of this conference. 

  1. Troy 4-1, 2-1 | Last week: 37-3 W vs. Arkansas State

Troy though, is right behind. (Which makes that win for JMU at Troy’s place that much better.) This is a Troy team that through eight quarters of football have allowed just one touchdown and 10 total points. They are only allow 20.3 ppg, second in the conference, and have the 31st best defense in terms of EPA/play at -0.050.

  1. Marshall 4-1, 1-0 | Last week: 48-41 L @ NC State

Marshall’s offense may have found life! In the last eight quarters of football the Thundering Herd have scored 82 points. However over that same span the vaunted defense has allowed 83 points. If the two sides can put it together, Marshall might be the best team in the Sun Belt but they have yet to. 

  1. Georgia Southern 4-1, 1-0 | Last week: BYE

This passing attack is electric. They pass the most in the entire nation and are 57th in the nation in EPA/Game through the air. For Georgia Southern, they struggle to consistently stop the pass and run. It is a porous defense and that hurt them earlier this year against Wisconsin when they allowed the Badgers to rack up 35 points and dominate that game. 

  1. South Alabama 3-3, 1-1 | Last week: 55-7 W @ ULM 

A fantastic beatdown against a ULM team I actually picked to win the game… Yikes! The Jaguars have a good defense and an above average offense however I don’t see them beating any of the 4 teams in front of them on a neutral field at this point in time. 

  1. Coastal Carolina 3-3, 1-2 | Tuesday: 27-24 W @ App State

Coastal is still trying to get used to the new head coach, and the new head coach, Tim Beck is still getting used to being a head coach. Some interesting play calls in this game and decision making kept App State in this game for far too long. After going up 14-0 Coastal finished the game being outscored 24-13. 

  1. App State 3-3, 1-1 | Tuesday 27-24 L vs. Coastal 

App State is a fine team. Just fine. They have glaring issues on defense and offensively they can’t string drives together. 

  1. Georgia State 4-1, 1-1 | Last week: BYE

The bye week hurt Georgia State. After a perfect start the Panthers lost by 21 to Troy and look lifeless heading into the bye week. I still have some Panthers stock but I might be selling it off here soon. 

  1. Texas State 4-2, 1-1 | Last week: 34-30 L @ Louisiana 

A tough loss to a Louisiana on the road. This is still a Bobcats team that is led by one of the most efficient QBs in the conference and boasts one of the best rushing attacks in the nation. I still think Texas State is one of the better teams in the SBC West. 

I have to take a quick aside. From here 10 through 13 you can really order them however you want. One week these teams look like they have figured something out, the next they just lay an egg. So for the bottom portion of the Sun Belt I need to see consecutive good games in order to move out of the basement of the SBC. 

  1. ODU 3-3, 2-1 | Last week: 17-13 W @ Southern Miss 

Good job! A road win against the worst team in the Sun Belt. 

  1. Arkansas State 3-3, 1-1 | Last week: 37-3 L @ Troy

Hi, early season Arkansas State! We missed you! 

  1. Louisiana 4-2, 1-1 | Last week: 34-30 W vs. Texas State

Good win, now do it again. 

  1. ULM 2-3, 0-2 | Last week: 55-7 vs. USA 

Just… yikes. I bought into you Warhawks! You let me down. 

  1. Southern Miss 1-5, 0-3 | Last week: 17-13 L vs. ODU 

Is baseball season almost here? 

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