The Sun Belt refuses to make any sense this year. Just when it looks like FIU might be a team that could unseat Troy, they go out and lose to FAU. The door is flung wide open for Middle Tennessee to thrive in Dwight Dasher’s senior year, suspension and all, but they just want to throw it away too. And the bottom level teams just thrash each other with abandon.
Western Kentucky 36, Arkansas State 35- WKU trailed, rallied, trailed again, then rallied again to force overtime. A-State scored on their first play, but Western matched it and decided to end it all with a 2 point conversion try. They succeeded, and WKU notches their second win of the year. Arkansas State must now beat Navy and FIU to cling to any bowl hopes. Next Week: Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky, Arkansas State at Navy.
North Texas 23, Middle Tennessee State 17- The Mean Green never trailed in this one, jumping out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and setting sail from there. They won’t reach a bowl, and now MTSU must sweep WKU, FAU, and FIU to have a chance. Next Week: Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky, North Texas at ULM
FIU 52, Troy 35- A 27 point second quarter blew the game open for the Panthers, as Troy never got within 10 after that. FIU still has to win 2 of 3 to be bowl eligible, while Troy needs one more win. Next Week: FIU at Louisiana, Troy at South Carolina
Florida Atlantic 24, Louisiana 23- Another game with the seemingly frequent decision to play for the win instead of the tie, and it cost Louisiana this time. A two point conversion attempt failed with less than 2 minutes to go, and FAU recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the win and keep bowl hopes alive. Next Week: FIU at Louisiana, Florida Atlantic at Texas
LSU 51, ULM 0- I thought LSU might sleepwalk through this one. I thought wrong. Next Week: North Texas at ULM
Sun Belt Standings
Conference Championship Race
Remaining Games noted in parenthesis. This discussion centers around the first place bowl bid in the league, as the league technically honors co-champions, but the guaranteed bowl bid is determined using head-to-head as a tiebreaker. 3 way tie procedures do not appear to be clearly outlined.
There can be no champ at 4-4, because FIU and Arkansas State play each other, guaranteeing a 5 win team. North Texas, Western Kentucky, and Louisiana are eliminated thusly.
FIU (Louisiana, Arkansas State, MTSU) is large and in charge, needing only two positive results to clinch the league, be they wins or Troy losses.
Troy (South Carolina, WKU, FAU) now needs to win out and have FIU lose two of their last three to reclaim the conference title.
Arkansas State (Navy, FIU) needs to beat FIU and have the Panthers lose at least one other, while Troy also loses twice. If Troy loses just once, we may come to a 3 way tie at 5-3, but Arkansas State might have to beat Navy to be considered for the bowl bids, since they’ll be ineligible otherwise.
Middle Tennessee (WKU, FAU, FIU) could still get back in the mix if they win out, but they’ll need Troy to lose their last two league games.
ULM (North Texas, Louisiana) is eliminated, because a best-case scenario would result in a tie with either FIU or A-State, and both teams hold tiebreakers over ULM.
FAU (Texas, MTSU, Troy) is eliminated, because they need FIU to lose twice, but that would involve Arkansas State finishing with 5 wins, and A-State has the tiebreaker over FAU.
4 Way Tie Scenario:
FIU beats Louisiana but loses to Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee for 5-3
A-State beats FIU for 5-3
Troy beats WKU but loses to FAU for 5-3
MTSU beats WKU, FAU, and FIU for 5-3 or FAU beats MTSU and Troy for 5-3.
So…if all that happened, what next? Assuming that the Sun Belt would start breaking the tie by using the records against the four tied teams…
In the FAU beats MTSU scenario, Troy is 1-2, Arkansas State is 2-1, FIU is 1-2, and FAU is 2-1. FAU would then take the head-to-head tiebreaker over Troy and go to the New Orleans Bowl. I assume that Troy would then get the GoDaddy Bowl spot, but that wouldn’t be a guarantee.
In the MTSU beats FAU scenario, Troy is 2-1, A-State is 2-1, FIU is 1-2, and MTSU is 1-2. Troy then wins the head-to-head tiebreaker with Arkansas State and gets the New Orleans Bowl bid. A-State, if eligible, seems like the pick for the GoDaddy bowl at that point.
I think that’s enough of that.
Week 11 Power Rankings
How do you sort a bunch of teams, none of which has won so much as 6 games in 11 weeks? Lots of random slotting, I suppose.
- Arkansas State
- North Texas
- Middle Tennessee
- Western Kentucky