Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week Eight

BlueRaiderZone.com
Posted Oct 23, 2012


The premier Sun Belt game of the season has come and gone and now it's time to see where the pieces fell after another week of action.

1. Louisiana-Monroe (5-2, 3-0 Sun Belt) – Won @ Western Kentucky 43-42 OT

The Warhawks came out on top in what many people expect to be the deciding game for the Sun Belt title this season. While it wasn’t pretty, ULM’s gamble in overtime paid off after going for two. However, if the Warhawks defense can’t find a way to get opposing offenses off the field against other big offenses, this game might not mean as much as everyone thought.
Next Game: October 27 vs. South Alabama.

2. Western Kentucky (5-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) – Lost vs. ULM 43-42 OT

If you look at the statline, the Hilltoppers probably should have beaten ULM. They dominated time of possession, total yards, and had an impressive third down conversion percentage. I still think WKU is a Top 25 program, and possibly the best team in the conference. It should be interesting to see how this team responds to a tough loss.

Next Game: October 27 @ Florida International.

3. Arkansas State (4-3, 2-1 Sun Belt) – Idle

Arkansas State benefitted from their bye week, seeing two undefeated teams in Sun Belt play get beaten. In order for the Red Wolves to finish with a winning record they’ll be leaning on their 24th ranked rushing game that’s averaging more than 200 yards a game.

Next Game: October 23 @ Louisiana-Lafayette.

4. Louisiana-Lafayette (4-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) – Lost @ North Texas 30-23

As if losing on national television wasn’t bad enough, the Ragin Cajuns will get a chance to redeem themselves with another game on the mothership’s second channel against Arkansas State. This week starts a tough stretch for Lafayette, taking on the top three teams in our Sun Belt rankings in the next four weeks, with a trip to Florida penciled in as well. Needless to say, Tuesday will be big for the Cajuns.

Next Game: October 23 vs. Arkansas State.

5. Middle Tennessee (4-3, 2-1 Sun Belt) – Lost @ Mississippi State 45-3

Saturday was another example of the nationally televised curse for Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders struggled to get anything done against a far superior opponent. Unless the Blue Raiders can find a way to replace the output of Benny Cunningham soon, placing the load on quarterback Logan Kilgore may be the only option for their offense.

Next Game: October 27 vs. North Texas.

6. Troy (4-3, 3-2 Sun Belt) – Won vs. Florida International 38-37

The Trojans squeaked out a win against an already deflated FIU team. It was the usual Troy offense, surpassing 400 yards of offense yet again. However, the turnover bug almost cost the Trojans again, this time giving up a touchdown off a fumble. Troy definitely needs to tighten up if they want to be playing come December.

Next Game: October 27 @ Florida Atlantic.

7. North Texas (3-4, 2-1 Sun Belt) – Won vs. Louisiana-Lafayette 30-23

You can’t complain about getting to show off your new stadium on television and getting a win before you head to a new conference if you’re North Texas. This Mean Green defense came up big with two turnovers, but when the North Texas offense gets going, this team can be dangerous.

Next Game: October 27 @ Middle Tennessee.

8. South Alabama (2-5, 1-2 Sun Belt) – Won vs. Florida Atlantic 37-34 2OT

I have been impressed at the way South Alabama has played throughout this season. They may have dropped some chances to grab a win or two, but they have improved each week. We finally say the Jags’ offense get some production, but their defense looked its worst this season against an average FAU offense.

Next Game: October 27 @ Louisiana-Monroe.

9. Florida International (1-7, 0-4 Sun Belt) – Lost @ Troy 38-37

This team has gotten two really tough breaks. After losing by half a yard at home, the Golden Panthers head on the road and lose after missing a PAT in the third quarter. The Sun Belt’s preseason favorite has definitely fallen to a new low, and things don’t get any easier this week as FIU tries not to go through their final season in the conference without a win in league play.

Next Game: October 27 @ Western Kentucky.

10. Florida Atlantic (1-6, 0-4 Sun Belt) – Lost @ South Alabama 37-34 2OT

The Owls let possibly their only chance to beat an FBS opponent slip away in overtime. Penalties killed FAU’s chances, racking up ten on the day. If there was one good thing to take away from this week’s loss, the offense was able to produce against a solid South Alabama defense.

Next Week: October 27 vs. Troy.


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