With JMU at No. 1, here’s a ranking of the best Sun Belt squads and predictions for this week’s games.
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1. JMU (10-1)
Though JMU suffered its first loss of the season last week, the Dukes still have the best overall record in the Sun Belt and deserve to be No. 1 on this list.
Not only do they have a Power Five win on their resume, they’ve been dominant for most of the past month. They won 42-14 over a good Georgia State team, for example.
Until the Dukes lose again, they won’t be dropping down this list.
2. Troy (9-2)
Troy was one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt going into the season. But then the Trojans lost to Kansas State and JMU, and the perception of the team changed.
But Troy has proven it is still talented by winning eight straight games, including victories over Georgia State and Texas State. Troy is at the top of the Sun Belt West standings and deserves to be ranked as one of the best teams in the conference.
3. App State (7-4)
After a remarkable win over previously-undefeated JMU, which is still ranked in the AP Top 25, App State has earned one of the top three spots in this ranking.
The Mountaineers are now on a four-game winning streak after beating Southern Miss, Marshall, and Georgia State all by double-digit points going into last week’s victory over the Dukes. The Mountaineers have also scored the second-most points in the conference, so their offense is clicking.
I expect they’ll find a way to defeat Georgia Southern at home and make an appearance in the Sun Belt Championship.
4. Georgia Southern (6-5)
Though Georgia Southern has lost its last three games, the Eagles still have a strong resume.
They do have five losses, but two of them were against Wisconsin and JMU. They proved just how great they can be by beating Georgia State earlier this season.
Davis Brin is one of the best quarterbacks in the Group of Five right now, and the Eagles are in the top half of the Sun Belt in terms of scoring defense (27.3 points per game allowed).
5. Georgia State (6-5)
Georgia State has been a surprise to some people. But at 6-5 overall, the Panthers have proven they are a team to be reckoned with.
Although they’ve lost their last four contests, the Panthers should be capable of bouncing back this week against Old Dominion.
Best Of The Rest
6. Coastal Carolina (7-4)
7. Arkansas State (6-5)
8. Texas State (6-5)
9. South Alabama (6-5)
10. Louisiana (5-6)
11. Old Dominion (5-6)
12. Marshall (5-6)
13. Southern Miss (3-8)
14. ULM (2-9)
JMU vs. Coastal Carolina Prediction
I’m picking JMU to win and cover the spread at -8.5. I also am predicting the game will go Under 50.5 points.
After JMU lost in overtime to App State last week, I think the Dukes will be plenty motivated to respond with a win on the road. Coastal Carolina is also coming off a seven-point loss at Army, but the Chanticleers also haven’t won by more than one possession since October, so I think JMU will exploit some of Coastal Carolina’s weaknesses.
JMU is a well-rounded team, ranking in the top three in the Sun Belt in scoring offense (33.3 points per game) and scoring defense (18.9 points per game allowed). I believe the Dukes will win by 10 this week.
Georgia Southern vs. App State Prediction
I’m picking App State to win but for Georgia Southern to cover the spread at +8.5. I also am predicting the game will go Over 63 total points.
App State and Georgia Southern have two of the best offenses in the Sun Belt this year. Both squads are in the top four in the conference in terms of scoring offense, as both average over 31 points per game.
That’s why I believe neither team will win by more than a touchdown. However, App State has plenty of momentum after beating JMU, and Georgia Southern has lost its last three games. I think App State will end up winning at home to end the regular season with a shot at reaching the Sun Belt title game.
Troy vs. Southern Miss Prediction
I’m picking Troy to win and cover the spread at -16.5. I also am predicting the game will go Under 47.5 points.
Georgia State vs. Old Dominion Prediction
I’m picking Georgia State to win and cover the spread at +2.5. I also am predicting the game will go Over 53.5 total points.
ULM vs. Louisiana Prediction
I’m picking Louisiana to win but for ULM to cover the spread at +12.5. I also am predicting the game will go Under 53.5 points.
Arkansas State vs. Marshall Prediction
I’m picking Arkansas State to win and to cover the spread at +2.5. I also am predicting the game will go Over 53.5 total points.
South Alabama vs. Texas State Prediction
I’m picking Texas State to win and cover the spread at +5.5. I also am predicting the game will go Over 58.5 points.