Week 5 CFN Fearless Predictions – Sun Belt

Posted Sep 28, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Predictions & Game Previews – Sun Belt

Troy (2-2) at South Alabama (1-3) Sept. 29, 3:30, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: It's the start of life in the Sun Belt for South Alabama, who took its lumps on the road against NC State and Mississippi State over the last few weeks and now appears ready to finally play someone its own size again. Troy hasn't exploded offensively over the last three games, but it came up with a 14-7 win over North Texas to even out the Sun Belt record to 1-1. The defense is slowly improving, but the offense has to start converting yards in to points.

What Will Happen: The Trojans will get the scoreboard moving again. Corey Robinson leads a passing game that's averaging 336 passing yards per game, but the defense has to start getting into the backfield a bit more and has to come up with more big stops like it did against the Mean Green. It will against a Jaguar offense that's been inconsistent, to be kind.

CFN Prediction: Troy 34 … South Alabama 16
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Troy -9.5 O/U: 50.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 1.5

ULM (1-2) at Tulane (0-3) Sept. 29, 3:30

Here's The Deal: For all the fun things ULM has done over the first part of the season, it's only 1-2 coming off of two tough close losses to Auburn and Baylor. Are the Warhawks going to take Tulane lightly after so many good games against BCS conference teams? Sun Belt play starts next week for a team with one of the nation's most productive offenses, while Tulane is trying to find something that works after getting nothing on offense over the first three games. The Green Wave have scored just 22 points under Curtis Johnson, and without injured quarterbacks Ryan Griffin and Devin Powell, things aren't looking up.

What Will Happen: ULM is used to putting up big numbers and nice performances against SEC teams, and now it gets to go against a team that's dead last in the nation in scoring, dead last in offense and dead last in sacks allowed. Can D.J. Ponder get the Green Wave offense moving after throwing three picks in the loss to Ole Miss? He needs to or else Kolton Browning and the ULM attack will make this ugly.

CFN Prediction: ULM 38 … Tulane 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) ULM -18 O/U: 56
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 1.5

North Texas (1-3) at Florida Atlantic (1-3) Sept. 29, 5:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: After going against Alabama, everyone else is going to look to Florida Atlantic like they're going at half speed. With three straight losses including a 31-17 Sun Belt opener against Middle Tennessee, the Owls needs to win in a home oasis with four road games in the next five and after being away for the last three weeks. The offense isn't working, but neither is the North Texas attack that managed just seven points against Troy. The passing game is struggling, but the offensive line is blasting away for a good ground game that's getting production out of both Antoinne Jimmerson and Brandin Byrd.

What Will Happen: It's not like North Texas is going to hang 50 on the board, but it'll do enough to get by a Florida Atlantic team that's averaging 278 yards and just 13 points per game. There won't be enough pressure into the backfield to slow down the Mean Green ground game before it can get going.

CFN Prediction: North Texas 28 … Florida Atlantic 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) North Texas -6.5 O/U: 46.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 1.5

FIU (1-3) at Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1) Sept. 29, 7:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: For all the excitement and publicity from ULM, there's a good chance that this might be the Sun Belt game of the year. FIU hasn't been lousy, but it hasn't been able to find its footing yet with a 1-3 start. The D isn't making the big plays a Mario Cristobal group normally comes up with, and while the offense is moving the ball, it isn't timely. ULL got blasted by Oklahoma State two weeks ago, but it's 1-0 in Sun Belt play with a nice 37-24 win over Troy. This is the first home game since the opener against Lamar, and while the defense has had problems, the offensive line has been terrific and the O has only given the ball away twice so far. ULL is sixth in the nation in turnover margin, while FIU needs to be careful with the ball to turn drives into points.

What Will Happen: The Golden Panthers are overdue. ULL isn't getting enough on offense to get by a FIU defense that appears to be ready to start being far nastier against the pass. The Ragin' Cajuns don't throw the ball well enough to take advantage of a shaky FIU secondary, and while the Golden Panthers don't have Oklahoma State's passing game, they should be able to throw on the nation's second-worst pass defense.

CFN Prediction: FIU 28 … Louisiana Lafayette 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Louisiana-Lafayette -7 O/U: 55
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 4

Western Kentucky (3-1) at Arkansas State (2-2) Sept. 29, 7:00, ESPN3

Here's The Deal: Western Kentucky has been fantastic so far, losing to Alabama and getting by Kentucky and Southern Miss for a strong 3-1 start. Now it's time to go to work with nasty road games to Arkansas State, Troy and FIU wrapped around a date against ULM. The defense has been terrific so far when needed, and the offense has been good enough to get by against everyone but the Tide. Arkansas State hasn't had much of a chance to show what it can do with road games against Oregon and Nebraska making it a rocky start. Is this when the Gus Malzahn era starts to get rolling? The pass defense has been solid and the offense has moved the ball, averaging a Sun Belt-leading 517 yards per game. It's defense vs. offense, and the winner might be the lead dog in the Sun Belt pack.

What Will Happen: The Hilltoppers will have to pound away, control the clock and hold tough against the ASU balanced attack. The WKU defensive front will be the difference in a fun, meaningful showdown.

CFN Prediction: Western Kentucky 28 … Arkansas State 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Western Kentucky -2.5 O/U: 55.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 4