Nelson Chenault - Arkansas State Sports Information

Projecting Sun Belt bowl slots

Weekly Sun Belt bowl update

Last week I approached the bowl situation starting at the top and working down, this week lets start at the bottom and work up.

No one in the Sun Belt is out of the bowl picture just yet but that is just a matter of time.

Three teams have six losses. Georgia State hosts AState on Thursday, ULM hosts USA on Saturday, and NMSU gets an open date before traveling to AState a week from Saturday. ULM and GaSt play each other a week from Saturday insuring one is out even if both survive this week.

The schedule for all three makes it unlikely that any of them make it to bowl eligible.

Texas State is two losses from being out. They travel to App and host AState, Troy and Idaho, they are likely just waiting to make it official that they don’t get bowl eligible.

AState and Louisiana Lafayette need to win three more games.

The Massey ratings are what I’m partial to and it currently favors AState to win all but Troy with Georgia State being the closest. The same ratings pick ULL to win against Idaho and ULM but fall short of six, but that model has Georgia Southern as a fairly significant favorite (a bit more than AState).

This is a good time to speak to the computer rankings and models. One vital question everyone creating a ranking has to answer is whether a game in week 1 should be worth as much as a game in week 10 when ranking week 11? If the answer is no, they then have to figure out how to assign weight to games and how much weight. If you look at the variety of models out there and what they say about the AState-GaSt game some weigh games equally or close to it and will have AState an underdog while weighting more recent games more heavily will make the Red Wolves a favorite. Massey is my preferred rating when looking at bowl eligibility because it seems to sort of strike the middle ground in that debate, weighting more recent games more than some and less than others.

I use two models Massey and GI, the GI is my “gut instinct”. My gut instinct is if AState loses Thursday we are more likely to finish 5-7 than 6-6 but a win Thursday means we are likely to get to at least 7 wins. My gut instinct is that ULL is more likely to beat Georgia Southern than AState. I’d give the Cajuns roughly a 50-50 chance to make it to 6 or better, their game Saturday with Idaho could change my mind.

USA, Georgia Southern, and Idaho need two wins to get eligible.

South Alabama has ULM next Saturday and if they don’t botch they will win at least one of Idaho and NMSU and get eligible. They also have Presbyterian so they are nearly assured of 6 wins but the NCAA allowing them to count two FCS in the wake of the LSU cancellation is not guaranteed.

Georgia Southern will lose at Ole Miss and at home vs Troy and have to win both ULL and at Georgia State. Unless Georgia State gives up after clinching a losing season I’m not big on Georgia Southern making it.

Idaho needs two wins and will only be favored at Texas State.  If they win at ULL they are going to get eligible. If they don’t they should still win at Texas State and then get USA and Ga.St at home.

Troy and App are eligible and projected that the only loss will be when they face each other.

I’m going to tab Troy, App, Idaho, USA, and AState as eligible with the caveat that the picture changes if ULL and/or Georgia State were to get eligible.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: I’m picking Troy here again this week, despite Massey giving the edge to App, my gut instinct is Troy is better.

Dollar General Mobile Bowl. Once again I have Appalachian State here. Even if they beat Troy they may still land here.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. I expect they take South Alabama, AState could enter the mix if USA gets eligible but drops a game along the way but USA would have won four of the last five with two significant early season wins.

AutoNation Cure Bowl. Last week I had Georgia Southern here. I’m growing less impressed with the Eagles with each game so right now I have them out. If they make it, I think they are the likely choice. With Georgia Southern out, I’m tabbing AState here.

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Right now I like Idaho here. Next week could change my mind (namely the Idaho-ULL game).

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