It is still very early in the season, but enough games have been played to recognize that the Sun Belt is not good this season. It is worse than last season and that is not good news for the league. Being a IA football league is supposed to lift all boats, but the Belt has added fledging programs and RPI anchors in FAU and UL-Monroe this season. In addition, Denver and UL-Lafayette look to be way down from the past few seasons and only two teams have any real early season optimism: Western Kentucky (5-1, only loss to Florida with a road win at Georgia) and North Texas (4-1, wins over Charlotte, Rice, and Tulsa). If North Texas had not laid an egg at home against TX-Arlington, they could be causing some serious buzz.
Last night, the Belt had it's worst night to date, going 1-5 on the evening. UL-Lafayette played Tennessee tough at home, but lost by ten. UALR was annihilated by Texas A&M and FIU was buried by George Mason. Arkansas State lost to previously winless South Dakota State. Troy scored a whopping TWELVE first half points on their way to a loss at Alabama State and Denver lost to Southern Utah. At least Middle Tennessee was able to defeat Belmont at home. WKU will try to continue carrying the banner when they face Mike Davis' UAB Blazers tonight. The Tops extinguished the Blazers last season in Birmingham by 16, so UAB will have revenge on their minds. Recap coming tomorrow.
Last Night's GOI
--at Syracuse 72, Holy Cross 64. It was not easy, but the 'Cuse hung on. HC is going to be a factor in the Patriot this season.
--Tennessee 77, UL-Lafayette 67. The Cajuns dug a double digit hole and climbed all the way back, but could not get over the hump in this one. Chris Lofton singlehandedly save the Vols' bacon.
--Marquette 65, Valparaiso 62. This one was tied LATE in the game.
ACC Big Ten Challenge
--at NC State 74, Michigan 67. Crazy game of runs. Michigan led by double digits early, NC State stormed back and took a 20-point lead, then Michigan rallied to make it close at the end.
--New Mexico State at New Mexico. In-state rivalry alert!!!
--Oral Roberts at Tulsa. Cross-town rivarly alert!
ACC Big Ten Challenge
--Indiana at Duke. Always a fun game, but Dukies are in Cameron.
--Maryland at Illinois. Both are 7-0. Maryland has looked good early on.
--Florida State at Wisconsin. This could be the signature win that the 'Noles need for their resume come March. However, the Badgers are terribly tough in the Kohl Center.
--UL-Monroe at Alabama. Another tough matchup for the Belt.
--UAB at Western Kentucky. Someone will come away feeling like they have a quality win in tow.