As Sun Belt play starts to really get underway in earnest, we’ve got another week of power rankings and college football betting odds here at HERO Sports.
Let’s cut it up.
Still Undefeated in October
1. Coastal Carolina (5-0)
Last Week: Beat Georgia Southern, 34-30; This Week: at UL-Monroe
Hey, nobody said you had to win the games convincingly, right? Coastal Carolina has barely won nearly every game it’s been in this season – including its game against FCS Gardner-Webb.
I keep saying that it feels like regression is inevitable for the Chanticleers. Yet Coastal is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Nearly every other team in the east has already taken a conference loss, and the only other undefeated threat – James Madison – isn’t eligible to win the conference championship.
There’s still a lot of football left to play, but by the time November rolls around, a home win over App State might be all the Chants need to lock up the east.
2. James Madison (4-0)
Last Week: Beat Texas State, 40-13; This Week: at Arkansas State
I was in Harrisonburg for JMU’s hurricane win over Texas State, and let me tell you… It was not pleasant.
More on Madison: 5 Observations from JMU’s Win Over Texas State
3. Troy (3-2)
Last Week: Won at Western Kentucky, 34-27; This Week: Southern Miss
The Trojans might already be a two-loss team, but they’ve quietly assembled one of the best first-half-of-the-season resumes of any Sun Belt team. A win over Southern Miss will officially mark them as the divisional favorite.
4. South Alabama (4-1)
Last Week: Won at Louisiana, 20-17; This Week: Bye
In case there were any lingering questions about how competitive Louisiana would be this year, South Alabama went to Lafayette and ended the drama.
More From BetMGM: Sun Belt Championship Odds
5. Southern Miss (2-2)
Last Week: Bye; This Week: at Troy
Southern Miss remains my conference sleeper and will be a serious threat to Troy off a bye this week.
A Much Needed Get Right Spot
6. App State (3-2)
Last Week: Beat The Citadel, 49-0; This Week: at Texas State
Has any team in modern college football history needed a sleepy blowout win over an FCS team more than App State?
7. Marshall (3-2)
Last Week: Beat Gardner-Webb, 28-7; This Week: Bye
If you’re into online sports betting: Marshall is 0-3 against the spread since winning at Notre Dame on Sept. 10.
That includes failing to cover this past week as a 31-point favorite against Gardner-Webb, which is – as previously stated – not a very good FCS team.
Life in the Middle
8. Georgia Southern (3-2)
Last Week: Lost at Coastal Carolina, 34-30; This Week: at Georgia State
Georgia Southern led Coastal in Conway, 24-14, in the fourth quarter. Then, Grayson McCall happened, and the Chants outscored the Eagles 20-6 in the final 11 minutes.
Georgia Southern is good enough to get your coach fired, but they might be a second-level competitor this year in a very tough Sun Belt East.
9. Arkansas State (2-3)
Last Week: Beat UL-Monroe, 45-28; This Week: James Madison
After going 1-1 against Old Dominion and UL-Monroe, Arkansas State takes aim at a much stiffer test: a night game against undefeated JMU.
10. Old Dominion (2-3)
Last Week: Lost to Liberty, 38-24; This Week: Bye
Sun Belt fans here in Virginia understand the local significance of ODU’s Week 1 win over Virginia Tech.
In terms of pure team talent, though, Old Dominion can notch a much more impressive win by going on the road in two weeks and unseating Coastal Carolina. The Monarchs have an off-week to scheme up some bonus shenanigans.
Signs of Life
11. Georgia State (1-4)
Last Week: Won at Army, 31-14; This Week: Georgia Southern
As I pointed out in last week’s rankings, Georgia State clearly benefited from extra time to prep for Army’s offense.
Better Luck Next Time
12. ULM (2-3)
Last Week: Lost at Arkansas State, 45-28; This Week: Coastal Carolina
It’s hard to get a read on Monroe this year, as the Warhawks live somewhere in that vast swath of land between average and awful.
UL-Monroe couldn’t keep up with Arkansas State this past week, but after finally getting a rivalry win over Louisiana in its previous outing, a letdown wasn’t terribly surprising.
13. Louisiana (2-3)
Last Week: Lost to South Alabama, 20-17; This Week: Bye
South Alabama is a legitimately good team, so a loss here wasn’t surprising. Still, when the reigning champs are in last place in their division, it’s hard to frame Michael Desormeaux’s coaching premiere as anything other than a disappointment.
14. Texas State (2-3)
Last Week: Lost at James Madison, 40-13; This Week: App State
Texas State drew JMU and App State from the east in back-to-back weeks. That’s about as brutal a schedule as a western team can be handed.