The Rimel Report

Thanks a TON to Duane for providing this report on the Sun Belt Conference, which will now be a weekly publication on this site. He's been writing this report for years on the <i>Vandal E-Mail List</i> and now it has another home here.


We said it could be an 0-5 weekend for Sun Belt teams and it was. Sun Belt teams dropped to 2-18 against nonconference foes, but the schedules have been very tough. Three Sun Belt teams are in USA Today's top 10 toughest schedules to date - Idaho is #2, Middle Tennessee is #3, and New Mexico State is #6. No cupcakes on Sun Belt Schedules! All seven conference teams are in action this week, and all seven have a legitimate shot at winning. Let us hope that 4 or 5 get it done. The first conference game is this week, with ASU visiting ULM.

Oregon 58 IDAHO 21
Unfotunately our prediction (52-16) was accurate and the #9 Ducks truly looked like a national power. Let's not kick this game around any more and move on to San Diego State in the Kibbie Dome Saturday. The Aztecs lost a home field heart breaker to Arizona State Saturday 39-28 and come in 0-3. SDSU was AHEAD 22-0 in the second quarter when ASU coach Dirk Koetter made a QB change and ASU charged back to win. SDSU outgained ASU by 200 yards (564 to 364) but lost because of 5 turnovers. SDSU QB Adam Hall was 32 of 60 for 516 yards. His tandem of brilliant receivers JR Tolliver (12 for 296) and Kassim Osgood (10-158) were astounding! The Vandals are 7 point home underdogs and have a legitimate shot at the upset. The key will be putting enough pressure on Hall and his two recievers to disrupt their offensive flow. We see two possible scenarios for this game, and the most likely one is not good for our Vandals. Scenario #1 - Aztecs come out very fast, score early and often and take the crowd out of the game. The Vandals mount a valiant second half comeback but come up short 32-42. Scenario #2 - the Aztecs get a ton of yards, but demonstrate their only offensive weakness - failure to get it in the end zone. Vandals "hold" them to 4 FG's and a TD in the first half and are down only 14-19. In the second half the Vandals crunching control offense starts to wear on the Aztecs and the Vandals pull out a thriller 36-32. Our head says Scenario #1 will happen, our heart says Scenario #2. To heck with our head, we are going with our heart! This darn losing has got to stop and now is the time.
UI 36 SDSU 32.

Alabama 33 NORTH TEXAS 7
Crimson Tide defense throttles NT offense, holding the Eagles to 141 total yards. Alabama pounds away with 336 yards rushing and another 198 passing. We thought NT would give them a better game than that. Next up is at TCU as 12 point underdogs. These teams are neighbors and NT would dearly love to knock off their uppity WAC rival. NT's defense should keep it close, but they probably cannot generate enough offense to win.
TCU 19 NT 13.

ULL continues to underperform under new coach Rickey Bustle and are still looking for victory #1. They have a winnable home game this weekend against Conference USA's Alababama-Birmingham (UAB) as 8 point underdogs. UAB came close to knocking off Pittsburgh of the Big East last weekend so we will have to pick UAB.
UAB 28 ULL 14.

McNeese State 24 LOUISIANA MONROE 19
McNeese is a Division 1-AA power and are ranked #3, but losing at home to a 1-AA team is still embarrasing for ULM. We must brag a little as our prediction was McNeeses 24-16. ULM made it close, but McNeese outgained them 443 yards to 287. Next up for ULM is the first Sun Belt Conference game of the year as they host Arkansas State as 3 point favorites. We have to go with ASU.
ASU 24 ULM 16.

Illinois 59 ARKANSAS STATE 7
The Big Ten's Illini were in a foul mood after losing their first two games to Missouri and Southern Miss. Arkansas State paid the price in front of 46,258 in Champaign. Illinois offense rolled up 600 yards to 313 for the Indians. Next up is the first Sun Belt conference game of the year as ASU visits ULM. ULM is favored by 3 because of home field, but have not shown me a thing yet. ASU has one win and should get another.
ASU 24 ULM 16.

The SEC's Kentucky and their 300 pound QB are off to a 3-0 start, including a nationally televised win over John L. Smith's Louisville team. But Kentucky has a notorious habit of losing games they are supposed to win and Middle Tennessee has had two weeks to prepare. The gamblers know Kentucky's history as the opening line was UK by 9 and it has been bet down to 7. MTSU knocked off Vanderbilt of the SEC last year and this is a winnable game for the Blue Raiders. We will go with an upset here.
MTSU 35 UK 29.

UNM of the Mountain West is 2-2 with wins over Weber State and lifeless Baylor, while NMSU is 0-2 ; but NMSU is favored by 2 (Sagarin) because of solid efforts against two top 25 teams - Cal and South Carolina. This is a game that Aggie Coach Tony Samuel really emphasizes and it will be a full house in Las Cruces. He has had two weeks to prepare and we see an Aggie win.
NMSU 38 UNM 28.


The mighty #13 Huskies had last week off, while poor Wyoming (0-3) wasgetting manhandled at home by BSU 13-35. Does not look good for the Cowboys and the Vegas folks agree as Wyoming is a 31 point underdog. This one could get real nasty. UW coach Neuheisel will probably get to play a lot of folks.
UW 56 Wyoming 6.

MONTANA 31 Northern Colorado 14
The #1 ranked 1-AA Grizzlies needed 17 fourth quarter points to pull away from Division II power UNC in Missoula. It was the Grizzlies 17th consecutive win and coach Joe Glenn's record improved to 30-3!! Next up is Big Sky rival Idaho State and UM is favored by 17 (Sagarin). But be careful Griz, as ISU gave Utah State all they could handle last weekend in Logan, losing 33-38. Griz should win unless they get complacent.
UM 35 ISU 27.


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