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Week 3 Sun Belt - WKU-So Alabama & More
Posted Sep 13, 2013

Week 3 Sun Belt Fearless Predictions - WKU at South Alabama & More

Troy (2-0) at Arkansas State (1-1) Sept. 12, 7:30, ESPNU

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Is Troy back? After struggling for the last few seasons, Troy needed a hot start, and it got one. It helped to play Savannah State last week, and beating UAB in overtime isn’t beating Alabama, but 2-0 is 2-0, and now it’s time to make a big push in the Sun Belt opener. Arkansas State has the talent and potential to win the conference title, and after an uneven start – blowing out Arkansas-Pine Bluff and getting whacked by Auburn – a win could be a must with road games at Memphis and Missouri up next.

Why Troy Might Win: Is the Troy defense back? Before the program became all about offense, the defense came up with some tremendous seasons. Again, the competition hasn’t been stellar, but the run defense has been strong in the early going, allowing just 122 yards so far. The offense has been sharp when it has had to be, and it should be able to keep up in a firefight.

Why Arkansas State Might Win: Arkansas State isn’t Savannah State. Despite the blowout loss at Auburn, the defense hasn’t been bad while the offense has been just fine running the ball. It might not have been a smooth performance in the loss to the Tigers, but David Oku and the ground game have been good. Quarterback Adam Kennedy is showing a nice command of the offense just two games into his starting career, but no one is hotter than …

Who To Watch Out For: Corey Robinson. After setting an NCAA record by completing 30-of-32 passes for 319 yards and a score in the win over UAB, the Troy senior followed it up by hitting 17-of-19 throws for 180 yards and four scores in just a little bit of work against Savannah State. Last year he bombed away for 417 yards in the loss to ASU, and the year before he threw for 311.

What Will Happen: Robinson will throw more than two completions, but he’ll have a nice day. It won’t be enough. The Troy defense will start to look like the Troy defense again as Arkansas State gets the ground game going to counterbalance Robinson. It’ll be a tight battle for a while, but the Red Wolves will have too much balance.
Prediction: Arkansas State 35 … Troy 24
Line: Arkansas State -7.5 o/u: 67
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 2.5

Georgia State (0-2) at West Virginia (1-1) Sept. 14, 12:00

Why You Should Give A Hoot: West Virginia gets a chance to take target practice. The first few weeks have been rough for the normally high-octane Mountaineers, now should be a fun week off against a Georgia State team that’s having a wee bit of a tough go in the FBS world. The Panthers lost by double digits against Samford in the opener and were blown out 42-14 last week against Chattanooga, and now it’s West Virginia’s turn at bat. After sputtering in the win over William & Mary, and coming up with just seven points against Oklahoma, if the Mountaineer attack doesn’t work now, it’s uh-oh time.

Why Georgia State Might Win: The West Virginia passing game just isn’t clicking. Oklahoma’s defense is among the best in the country, and while William & Mary didn’t slow things down, it wasn’t destroyed. West Virginia is used to Geno Smith-like massive numbers, even when things aren’t working quite right, but Paul Millard only came up with 237 yards and one score in the win. Even though Georgia State’s defense isn’t stopping anyone, Samford’s passing game was pedestrian, while Chattanooga didn’t throw much because the ground game was so effective. The GSU secondary has potential, and it hasn’t been awful – yet. However …

Why West Virginia Might Win: Georgia State lost in different ways. The run defense wasn’t even close last week against Chattanooga, and it couldn’t come through with any key plays against Samford. The Panthers don’t have the players up front on defense to get to the quarterback, and now it’s time for the Mountaineer midrange passing game to work. If it leads the way to a few early scores, Georgia State won’t have the ability to come back. West Virginia should be able to move the offense however it wants to.

Who To Watch Out For: Is Paul Millard still the answer at quarterback for West Virginia? He connected on 21-of-41 passes against Oklahoma, but he only threw for 218 yards and didn’t throw for any touchdowns. The offense hasn’t been explosive under his watch, and now he needs to show that he can at least look like the one who can be the main man for the rest of the season. If he’s not fantastic, Clint Trickett is waiting in the wings.

What Will Happen: For one week, at least, West Virginia will look the part. Georgia State will put up big passing yards, but it’ll have to deal with a big mid-game run that will turn a tight early game into an ugly blowout.
Prediction: West Virginia 55 … Georgia State 13
Line: Line: West Virginia -38.5 o/u: 57.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 1.5

ULM (1-1) at Wake Forest (1-1) Sept. 14, 12:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The record may say .500, but Wake Forest is trending south after playing poorly in Friday night’s 24-10 loss to Boston College. Since the Eagles have been lagged behind the rest of the ACC in recent years, the Demon Deacons may be in danger of supplanting them for 2013. Wake—and head coach Jim Grobe—need to top the bleeding now, because the rest of the schedule is littered with landmines. Louisiana-Monroe recovered from its opening day loss to Oklahoma by dispatching of Grambling, 48-10. This is the first meeting between these two schools.
Why ULM Might Win: The Warhawks boast the better backfield in this one, led by veteran QB Kolton Browning. Browning has a track record of playing well against opponents from major conferences, and now he has more support in the running game. Jyruss Edwards, DeVontae McNeal and Nathan Meadors all averaged more than nine yards a carry on Saturday.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: The team is off to a rough start, but the D is doing its best to keep things together. Fueled by the pass rush of NG Nikita Whitlock and DE Zach Thompson, and the coverage of CB Kevin Johnson, the Deacons have yielded just 31 points in two games. When faced with a tough defense in the opener, the Warhawks were blanked in Norman.
Who To Watch Out For: Wake Forest absolutely, positively has to start running the ball better, an offseason mandate. It’s averaging just 2.6 yards per carry, and now must deal with LB Cameron Blakes, who’s been everywhere for UL-Monroe.

- It’s the battle of the veteran left-handed quarterbacks, Browning and Wake’s Tanner Price. The pair has combined for more than 100 career touchdowns between them.

- Price has the better weapon, Michael Campanaro, one of the top wide receivers in the ACC. He returned from injury last week to catch five balls for 86 yards and a touchdown, while carrying the ball four times as well.
What Will Happen: This is a toss-up game for good reason—there’s not much separation between either team. However, Wake Forest is home, with the better D in the game. Plus, Campanaro will do something special late to help propel his Deacons to a much-needed second win.
Prediction: Wake Forest 27 … ULM 23
Line: Wake Forest -3 o/u: 56
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

Nicholls State (1-1) at Louisiana-Lafayette (0-2) Sept. 14, 7:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The Ragin’ Cajuns could use a breather after starting the season at Arkansas and Kansas State. Everything gets easier the rest of the way, and there are a few more breathers to come against Akron and Texas State, but first it’s about beating the neighbor that stunned Western Michigan last week after kicking off the year getting blown away by Oregon. The Colonels have an interesting passing offense that could make this more of a battle than ULL might like.

Why Nicholls State Might Win: So how did NSU shock Western Michigan on the road? It got up early and hung on from there. The balanced attack managed to get control of the game late for two field goals to pull off the shocker. Louisiana-Lafayette’s competition might have been stiff, but the defense has yet to do much of anything right against the run.

Why Louisiana-Lafayette Might Win: Is Nicholls State playing over its head? The Colonels aren’t supposed to be a factor in any way in the Southland, and while they came up with a fantastic game against Western Michigan, was it a fluke? They’re coming off an awful 2012 and haven’t shown much of anything on defense so far. Louisiana-Lafayette is waiting to break out offensively, and this could be the game against a defense giving up well over 600 yards a game.

Who To Watch Out For: ULL has to get its playmakers going. Terrence Broadway has yet to find any sort of a passing groove, and while he ran well against Kansas State, he isn’t moving the offense. Nicholls State isn’t Kansas State or Arkansas, and if Broadway can’t come up with a big game this week, there will be big, big concerns.

What Will Happen: The Ragin’ Cajuns will finally start to look like they’re expected to, rolling easily to their first win of the season.
Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 38 … Nicholls State 17
Line: Louisiana-Lafayette -24 o/u: 58
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 1.5

Western Kentucky (1-1) at South Alabama (1-1) Sept. 14, 7:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: WKU beat in-state SEC rival Kentucky and let an opportunity slip away with sloppy play against Tennessee. It’s Bobby Petrino’s conference opener as coach of the Hilltoppers, and now he has to crank things up against a South Alabama team that’s still trying to find its way in the FBS world. If WKU really is the favorite to win the Sun Belt, it should win a game like this without a problem.
Why Western Kentucky Might Win: Tennessee scored 38 of its 52 points off turnovers last week including 31 on the infamous five turnovers on six plays sequence. The Hilltoppers won’t be facing a team of that caliber this week and should be able to continue to let RB Antonio Andrews lead the way.
Why South Alabama Might Win: Although it should be noted Western Kentucky has played two SEC teams, it still has allowed more than 220 yards per game on the ground. South Alabama has a number of talented runners who can take advantage of this weak rush defense including quarterback Ross Metheny and running back Jay Jones.
Who To Watch Out For: Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews continues to be the best player on the Hilltoppers’ offense. He ran for 111 yards on 13 carries and had a 43-yard reception against Tennessee last week.
What Will Happen: Western Kentucky will try to establish the run against South Alabama’s defense which only gave up 1.7 yards per carry last week against Tulane. Meanwhile, the Jaguars will try to find a running game against a Hilltoppers defense that has given up 228 yards per game this season.
Prediction: Western Kentucky 34 … South Alabama 12
Line: WKU -10.5 o/u: 53.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) ... 1.5