The 2022 college football season is winding down. We think we know what the Sun Belt Championship game is going to be. Short of any late-season surprises, it should be Coastal Carolina vs. Troy.
But then again, we never know what we think we know. (That’s why college football odds exist, after all.)
So while we eagerly await for the end of the season, let’s rank some teams. Again.
1. Coastal Carolina (9-1, 6-1)
Last Week: Beat Southern Miss, 26-23, 31-3; This Week: at Virginia
The Chants squeaked out one of their trademark close wins – this time without Grayson McCall – and squeaked back into the AP Top 25.
Did last weekend’s game include another fourth-quarter comeback? You know it did! Southern Miss led 23-20 before Reese White secured the winning touchdown plunge.
I gave up on trying to knock Coastal for its regression potential long ago. When you can win this many games in fourth-quarter fashion, we stop calling it luck and start calling it guts.
2. Troy (8-2, 5-1)
Last Week: Beat Army, 10-9, 31-3; This Week: Louisiana-Monroe
Army can be a tough mid-season game for anyone to play, but Troy was fortunate to escape Saturday’s game with a win.
Perhaps it was just a flat spot against a non-conference opponent, with a divisional championship only two wins away.
3. South Alabama (8-2, 5-1)
Last Week: Beat Texas State, 38-21; This Week: at Southern Miss
South Alabama can win the Sun Belt West if Troy doesn’t show up to one of its last two games.
The problem, of course, is that Troy’s last two games are against Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe. The Trojans should comfortably win both.
All South Alabama can worry about is handling business this week at Southern Miss.
Surprising Winning Streaks
4. Marshall (6-4, 3-3)
Last Week: Beat App State, 28-21; This Week: at Georgia Southern
Marshall has quietly won three of their last four games and is now bowl eligible – a status that felt in legitimate peril about a month ago.
Plus, when you consider how much the middle of this conference has beat up on itself … winning three out of four is pretty darn good.
5. Louisiana-Monroe (4-6, 3-3)
Last Week: Won at Georgia State, 31-28; This Week: at Troy
This is one of those times where I have to remind people that these are power rankings. Obviously, Monroe is not the fifth-best team in the conference, but the Warhawks have gone on a nice little late-season run here.
A two-game winning streak is more than a lot of teams can say in this conference right now, and the ULM was showing signs of increased competitiveness all the way back to early October. It played both South Alabama and Coastal Carolina within one score.
Monroe has a real chance at a top-half finish in the division, which is remarkable when you consider how bad the program has been throughout the last handful of years.
Ending the Skid
6. James Madison (6-3, 4-2)
Last Week: Won at Old Dominion, 37-3; This Week: Georgia State
There is broad consensus that JMU is one of the Sun Belt’s best teams when its starters are healthy and playing.
The problem over the last several weeks is that JMU hasn’t been healthy, and it’s clear that the depth chart still has some work to do to reach FBS levels.
Still, we got to see a return to form for the Dukes on Saturday in Norfolk, which may have clarified a great deal about the future of college football in the state of Virginia.
7. Louisiana (5-5, 3-4)
Last Week: Beat Georgia Southern, 36-17; This Week: at Florida State
The back half of Louisiana’s schedule is not friendly at all, so it’s good that the Cajuns were able to score a win last week on Senior Day against Georgia Southern.
Otherwise, a five-game losing streak – and bowl ineligibility – was a real possibility.
Random Number Generator
8. Georgia State (4-6, 3-3)
Last Week: Lost to Louisiana-Monroe, 31-28; This Week: at James Madison
No Sun Belt team has week-to-week variance quite like Georgia State. The Panthers’ collection of wins and losses is one of the most confusing in all of college football.
Georgia State is in third place in the rugged Sun Belt East but might not make a bowl game. I mean… how is that even possible?
This week in Harrisonburg, maybe they’ll lose by 10. Maybe they’ll win by 25. Who can say?
9. Southern Miss (5-5, 3-3)
Last Week: Lost at Coastal Carolina, 26-23; This Week: South Alabama
If the Golden Eagles finish the season at 5-7, it’ll be the Georgia State game that haunts them in the off-season.
10. Georgia Southern (5-5, 2-4)
Last Week: Lost at Louisiana, 36-17; This Week: Marshall
Georgia Southern is another team with a bizarre roller coaster of a season. The Eagles got Scott Frost fired and earned a top-25 scalp when it knocked off undefeated James Madison last month.
However, they’ve also lost four of their five other conference games, including a loss at Georgia State and last week’s stinker in Lafayette.
The Eagles stand a real chance of scoring multiple program-altering wins and failing to make a bowl game in the same season.
11. Appalachian State (5-5, 2-4)
Last Week: Lost at Marshall, 28-21; This Week: Old Dominion
App State is unlikely to finish in the top half of the division at this point, which must be a disappointing finish in Boone after an immensely promising September.
Home in December
12. Arkansas State (3-7, 1-5)
Last Week: Beat UMass, 35-33; This Week: at Texas State
Arkansas State gets the nod as the top team in the last section here, seeing as it’s the only team of the three that won on Saturday.
That said, a 2-point home win over UMass is the sort of win that makes you wonder what’s gone wrong in Jonesboro. It’s not like there’s no talent on this team.
13. Old Dominion (3-7, 2-4)
Last Week: Lost to James Madison, 37-3; This Week: at App State
Old Dominion fans and commentators have dined out on its two wins over James Madison for the last 10 years.
On Saturday, the bill came due.
14. Texas State (3-7, 1-5)
Last Week: Lost at South Alabama 38-21; This Week: Arkansas State
The App State win becomes more inexplicable every week.