The Rimel Report - Sun Belt Week #3

Guest columnist Duane Rimel, a long-time contributor to the Vandal email list, provides a week-by-week look at the Sun Belt Conference, with a special focus on the Idaho Vandals (of course). We appreciate the opportunity to reprint his group's analysis of each SBC game, each and every week of the season.<br> <br> This week, <b>Malfred Shaw</b> and the Vandals take on in-state rival Boise State at the Kibbie Dome in a game that will be regionally televised on Fox Sports Northwest.<br> <br>

Mixed results in Sun Belt non-conference action Saturday, and not as good as we had hoped. Three Sun Belt teams got blow out wins this weekend, two were embarrassed at home by 1-AA teams, and the other three got trounced by favored opponents. Sun Belt teams are 3-13 against non-conference foes. The most impressive win was North Texas crushing Baylor of the Big-12 by 52-14 - way to go Mean Green! The embarrassing games were from Idaho and Louisiana Monroe, both losing home games to 1-AA teams. It is hard for the Sun Belt to get respect, when their members cannot win at home against teams with 22 fewer scholarships. Next week will be another tough one, as seven Sun Belt teams are underdogs - four by 20 points or more. Only Arkansas State is favored, but NT, ULL, and MTSU have chances at upsets.

Eastern Washington 8 IDAHO 5
Our worst football fear was realized, as the Vandals lose the easiest game on their schedule. Sadly, 0-12 is now a distinct possibility. Offensive ineptness ruins a great game by the Vandal defense. The Vandal offense has scored 3 points in two games - probably some kind of record in futility - but we will not bother to look it up. At this point, the change in leadership of the Vandal offense is a dismal failure. Tom Cable's record against 1-AA teams is now 1-4. Next up is BSU in the dome. As we predicted the Broncos exceeded 60 points in trashing Idaho State 62-0 in Boise. BSU outgained ISU 587 to 152! Idaho's only hope might be the BSU players looking past UI to their big game with Oregon State the following weekend. BSU (1-0) is favored by 20 and should win by more. We think the Vandals (0-2) would have to score 40 points to have a chance. Unfortunately they are averaging 3 points per game. The Vandal defense is better than ISU's and since BSU has to play UI every year, they may not pour it on like they did with ISU.
BSU 38 UI 3.

NORTH TEXAS 52 Baylor 14
Great cross state rivalry win for NT over a Big 12 opponent! NT (1-1) defense came up with six turnovers and their offense pounded out 327 yards on the ground. Next up is a visit to Air Force of the Mountain West Conference as 8 point underdogs. Air Force is 2-0, but just barely got by Northwestern 22-21 Saturday. The Mean Green have the defense to slow down the Falcon's option offense and an upset is possible. We will go for the upset.
NT 24 AF 23.

NEW MEXICO STATE 48 Western New Mexico 6
Aggies crush Division II WNM, running up 465 yards offense and evening their record at 1-1. Next up is at Oregon State (1-1) as 22 point underdogs. Beavers were ambushed by Fresno State 16-14 last week and will take it out on Tony Samuel's Aggies.
OSU 38 NMSU 17.

ARKANSAS STATE 63 Tennessee Martin 6
Wow - ASU (1-1) follows up their good effort against Texas A&M last week, by crunching 1-AA UTM. The Indians ran for 437 yards on 44 carries (that is 10 yards per carry folks!), as they continue to impress us. They are our darkhorse pick to win the Sun Belt. Next up is another 1-AA team at home, Southeast Missouri (0-2). ASU is favored by 14 and should win by more.
ASU 45 SEM 10.

Georgia 29 MTSU 10
The #8 ranked Bulldogs build a 29-3 lead and cruise to victory. MTSU did beat the 29 point spread, but are still 0-2 after last week's debacle against 1-AA Florida Atlantic. Next up the Blue Raiders are at Clemson as 13 point underdogs. Clemson eked out a 28-17 win over 1-AA Furman last weekend and have been unimpressive this year. MTSU has a slight chance of an upset if they play very hard.
Clemson 21 MTSU 19.

Nebraska 31 UTAH STATE 7
On national TV, the Aggies led 7-6 in the first quarter, then #23 Nebraska's smothering defense shut them down. USU (0-2) now heads to Arizona State (1-0) to take on the #16 ranked Sun Devils. Dirk Koetter's ASU team was not overly impressive in their opener against Northern Arizona of the Big Sky, so he will be looking to run up a big score on the Aggies.
ASU 56 USU 20.

After an impressive game against South Carolina last week, the Ragin Cajuns get slaughered at home by archrival LT. And we were dumb enough to pick ULL to win! It was 27-3 at halftime and never really a game. This is the ULL (0-2) we expected to see when we picked them for the basement of the Sun Belt. Next up is a home game with Houston (1-1) of Conference USA. ULL is an 8 point underdog against UH who has beaten Rice 48-14, then lost to Michigan 50-3 last week. Houston looks to be the better team.
UH 27 ULL 13.

Stephen F. Austin 23 LOUSIANA MONROE 21
We almost had this one right, picking ULM to win 21-20, but..... SFA of 1-AA land led 16-0 at half time then held on to win in Monroe. Last year ULM's coach resigned after a similar loss. The stats were roughly equal for each team, except ULM (0-2) had 3 turnovers to just one by SFA. Next up is a road trip to Ole Miss of the SEC as 23 point underdogs. Ole Miss (1-1) was upset by Memphis last week and will be looking for someone to pound on. Poor ULM.
Ole Miss 45 ULM 6.


WASHINGTON 38 Indiana 13
The #21 ranked Huskies trailed 10-13 in the third quarter, then ran off 28 quick points to route the Hoosiers. Former UI head coach Keith Gilbertson gets his first win as the UW head coach. UW (1-1) has this weekend off to "rest up" for their big game with Idaho. We have to have a little humor here.

North Dakota State 25 MONTANA 24
Grizzlies apparently started their victory celebration too early. UM led 24-2 at halftime, but blew it big time in Missoula. New head coach Bobby Hauck's first home game turns into a nightmare as Division II NDSU wins the second half 23-0. A very rare Montana collapse at home. Next up is Sam Houston State (1-0) at home as 21 point favorites. These Grizzlies have us almost as confused as the Vandals do?? We will assume the Griz will play all four quarters this week.
UM 28 SH 14.


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