The last couple of years, I wrote a weekly blog on the winners and losers in the Sun Belt and DFW (UNT, SMU, TCU).
It worked pretty well, but I’ve decided to change the format to a stock report, which is really what I’m trying to get at: Who’s stock is heading up and heading down.
Here’s our first (TCU has yet to play):
UNT – UNT wanted to make its game against LSU competitive. Few people on the outside really thought that would be possible and UNT never was competitive in a 41-14 loss. There were a lot of positives in that game for UNT, which got into the end zone twice after failing to do so in its three previous games against the Tigers. Just don’t expect UNT to point to them. Dan McCarney isn’t big on moral victories.
SMU – If there is one comfort UNT fans can take after being hammered by LSU, it’s that their neighbors to the south were drilled by Baylor 59-24. This was SMU’s chance to show that it will be competitive at a higher level. The Ponies didn’t show much of anything. There is no school UNT fans hate (and yes, that is the right word) than SMU.
Troy – The Trojans picked up by far the most important victory for the Sun Belt this week — a 39-29 win over UAB. It’s huge for Troy in the battle to be the No. 3 team in Alabama behind Alabama and Auburn and shows that writing the Trojans off this year might be a bad idea.
Western Kentucky — The Hilltoppers knocked off Austin Peay 49-10, and that wasn’t even the interesting part. Kawaun Jakes threw for 296 yards. He was one not exactly the John Elway of the Sun Belt the last few years. If he can be an effective passer, that makes WKU all the more viable candidate to make a run at the Sun Belt title.
Louisiana-Lafayette — The Cajuns were supposed to smash Lamar and did 49-10. It was a good start for the Cajuns. Lamar has 38 rushing yards on 37 carries.
UNT – See above
Arkansas State — No one thought ASU was going to be very competitive at Oregon and the Red Wolves weren’t, falling 57-34. ASU had better hope all those JUCO players the staff signed to bolster its defense start showing they can do it here pretty quick.
Holding steady, but getting a little nervous
Florida Atlantic – Carl Pelini won his debut as FAU’s head coach with a “wow, they almost lost” score of 7-3 against Wagner. FAU could win a couple of more games this year, but is in full rebuild mode. If the Owls beat another Sun Belt team this year, expect a full meltdown of that team’s fan base.
Florida International – Isn’t Duke a basketball school? FIU had a chance to pick up a big win against a major conference opponent, but lost to the Blue Devils 46-26. And there goes one of the Sun Belt’s rare chances at a win over a major conference opponent.
Middle Tennessee – When it comes to the major embarrassments of the week, MTSU takes the cake, falling to McNeese 27-21. And MTSU had to come back to make the score respectable. Don’t forget, MTSU lost 59-7 to UNT to end last season. Yikes.
South Alabama — Sean Ianno kicked a 51-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to give UT-San Antonio a win over South Alabama. That might be a bit of a wake-up call for USA, which some people thought would jump right in and start winning this year on the FBS level. It’s going to take some time. UTSA is another team that is making the jump.