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Sun Belt Weekend Primer

By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com
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Arkansas State at Tennessee:

Tennessee has endured its share of struggles the past few seasons, but the Vols enter the second week of the 2014 season with a strong freshman class. Head coach Butch Jones has already named three freshman starters: Derek Barnett, Jashon Robertson, and Ethan Wolf. They also have a strong freshman running back in Jalen Hurd, who will be fighting for a starting spot. Arkansas State is a decent team coming off a bowl game win and a 9-4 season. The Red Wolves are expected to be a contender in the Sun Belt this season. However, this will be a tough game playing against an SEC football team.

Prediction: 31-7 Tennessee

South Alabama at Kent State:

The South Alabama Jaguars are coming off of a 6-6 season where they proved to be a competitive Sun Belt Conference team. They had their struggles last year against teams that, frankly, they should have beat, such as Southern Utah and Troy. For the first time in a long time the Jaguars have their entire secondary returning, which seems promising. The Kent State Golden Flashes have not proved throughout the past few years that they can contend in a surprisingly strong MAC conference. South Alabama beat Kent State 38-21 last year, and a more significant win is expected for the Jaguars this year.

Prediction: 35-14 South Alabama

New Mexico State at Georgia State:

The New Mexico State Aggies are not expected to be a football powerhouse this year. They are expected to have a strong running game, but the defense will need to make significant strides if the team is remain competitive in the conference. Georgia State is predicted to once again be a more than disappointing team in 2014. Last year, GSU finished the season 0-12 and eighth in the Sun Belt. The Panthers were able to snap a lengthy losing streak with a dramatic 38-37 win over Abilene Christian to open the season, but they will certainly face a more difficult challenge against the Aggies.

Prediction: 17-7 New Mexico State

Savannah State at Georgia Southern:

The game coming up this Saturday between Georgia Southern and Savannah State is expected to be a blowout in favor of Georgia Southern. Savannah State may have had its surprising moments throughout the years in basketball, but football has never been a sport of strength in recent seasons. Last year, the Tigers lost games as bad as 77-7 to Miami, and 77-9 against Georgia Southern. The Eagles, on the other hand, have had their share of shining moments the past few years, such as a victory over Florida. Georgia Southern, having recently moved to the Sun Belt Conference, is not expected to do anything huge this year, although the Eagles did nearly pull off a big upset against NC State. Just like last year, Georgia Southern will demolish a struggling Savannah State football team.

Prediction: 59-3 Georgia Southern

Campbell at Appalachian State:

Campbell is considered a college football unknown, meaning that Appalachian State should have no problem taking down the Fighting Camels this weekend. Appalachian State has been a successful and well-known team in recent years. Having a winning record from 1994 to 2012, ASU has established itself as a perennial power. Coming off of a significant loss at Michigan, the Mountaineers should regain their confidence this weekend.

Prediction: 42-14 Appalachian State

Duke at Troy:

The Blue Devils have always been known as a basketball school, but their performance last year has altered the thoughts of many sports fans. Issac Blakeney is predicted to be one of many breakout receivers this year for Duke. The Blue Devils are focused on contending for an ACC title in 2014 and don’t plan on being stopped by a bump in the road such as the Troy Trojans. Troy is a mediocre Sun Belt team, and is simply seeking to improve on its 6-6 season last year. The Trojans don’t truly believe that this will be an upset game, and neither do American college football fans.

Prediction: 35-17 Duke

Louisiana Tech at Louisiana:

This season, Louisiana is predicted to be the all-out winner of the Sun Belt. The Cajuns have an outstanding quarterback in Terrance Broadway, who in the past two seasons has thrown for 5,261 yards and 36 scores. Louisiana Tech significantly dropped below expectations in 2013. This competition between two neighboring schools should be one to watch, but expect to see Louisiana come out on top.

Prediction: 24-14 UL Lafayette

Idaho at UL-Monroe:

This matchup between two Sun Belt conference teams is an opportunity for both programs to show where they stand. UL-Monroe is expected to finish above Idaho in the conference. However, both teams currently stand towards the middle of the conference in pre-season predictions, and the game could go either way. The Warhawks lost their four-year starting quarterback in Kolton Browning, but the struggling Idaho defense will not hold them back.

Prediction: 35-17 UL Monroe

 

The Sun Belt Weekend Primer was contributed by Southern Pigskin writer Jackson Schroeder.