Sun Belt Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith
Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith
Posted Aug 20, 2009

What are the dangerous games that every Sun Belt team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.

The Sun Belt Landmine Games

The traps to watch out for

By Pete Fiutak

Landmine Games For Every Team
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It's next to impossible for a team to get up for every game over the course of the long season. It's easy to be jazzed for the big rival or the top five team, but college kids can't remain focused enough to play razor sharp for one game and then maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.

Below are the very dangerous letdown games for each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least, these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might be pushed very, very hard.

Arkansas State - Dec. 3 at Western Kentucky
This is a landmine because ... Going into the season, Arkansas State is a far better team than Western Kentucky, but that could change dramatically by December. ASU could be beaten down by (arguably) the league's toughest schedule, and could be a bit demoralized it it's out of the hunt for the Sun Belt title and a bowl. This will be the third road game in four weeks for the Red Wolves.

Florida Atlantic - Oct. 17 at North Texas
This is a landmine because ... If FAU really is looking to be in the Sun Belt title hunt, it'll be fired up for the big showdowns with Louisiana-Lafayette on the road and against Middle Tennessee. While the Owls will get a week off to prepare, they should be in for a firefight with a North Texas team whose offense should start to roll by the middle of the season. Give UNT a puncher's chance in what could be one of the wildest games of the Sun Belt season.

FIU - Oct. 24 at Western Kentucky
This is a landmine because ... FIU is in absolutely no position to be looking ahead to play anyone and will be scratching and clawing to get wins without a true layup on the slate. Western Kentucky is one of the few teams that's worse than the Golden Panthers going into the season, but that could go out the window by the middle of the year. The trip to WKU will be FIU's third road game in four weeks and it'll come off a home battle against Troy.

Middle Tennessee - Sept. 26 at North Texas
This is a landmine because ... There was a time when this was the biggest game of the Sun Belt season. The Blue Raiders could be a bit beaten and bruised with road games at Clemson and Maryland in the first three weeks, and even though this is the Sun Belt opener, they'll certainly be looking ahead to the showdown at Troy. MT plays four road games in the first five, and not only is this game four of the run, but it's the one chance at a relative breather. UNT might take advantage.

North Texas - Nov. 21 vs. Army
This is a landmine because ... There's no such thing as a landmine game for the Mean Green, and in fact, this could be Army's landmine date considering it'll be Senior Day in Denton, but Rich Ellerson's Black Knight offense could be too much to deal with. If the UNT defensive front seven isn't more effective and more consistent, Army could run for well over 300 yards. Will Army's secondary be able to stop the UNT passing game? No, but it could be a case of the last team with the ball getting the win.

Troy - Nov. 7 at Western Kentucky
This is a landmine because ... It's the only real landmine problem, at least as it looks before the season. The Troy season sets up extremely well, with a date at FIU coming after a week off, Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic at home, and no true sandwich games. If there's going to be any problem, it'll be at Western Kentucky with a trip to Arkansas to follow before the Sun Belt season-defining showdowns against Florida Atlantic and at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Louisiana-Lafayette - Nov. 14 at Middle Tennessee
This is a landmine because ... The Blue Raiders would likely be favored at home in this matchup no matter what the situation, but they'll be the huge favorites with the Ragin' Cajuns coming off a brutal stretch. ULL plays four road games in five weeks, with the lone home game against Florida Atlantic. The game against the Middle Tennessee ends the run, and at this point, ULL might not have too much to play for.

ULM - Nov. 7 at North Texas
This is a landmine because ... The Warhawks could be really, really tired. They start out the season with three road games before October, and later has a nasty stretch of four road games in five weeks with the lone home game coming in mid-November. The North Texas game is the third in a row on the road, with trips to Kentucky and Troy before it. ULM can't help but feeling road weary at this point with a dangerous offense to deal with.

Western Kentucky - Sept. 19 vs. Central Arkansas
This is a landmine because ... WKU likely won't be favored in any games this year unless it starts winning and becomes the Sun Belt's big surprise. The game against Central Arkansas, an FCS independent, appears to be a layup considering it's Central Arkansas and not Arkansas, but the Bears have a dangerous offense and are more than good enough to come up with the win. They went 10-2 last year with one of the losses coming against Tulsa, when Nathan Brown threw for 342 yards and three scores. Brown is gone, but former Arkansas quarterback Nathan Dick is ready to take over.