Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week One

Pre-season talk is nice in college football, but nothing gives us a better feel for the rest of the season than actually getting to see some football. The Sun Belt saw few surprises in the opening week of college football with nine of the ten teams seeing action. That said, here's how I felt they looked after one week.

1. Troy (1-0) – Won @ UAB 39-29.

While this may be a bit of a stretch, the Trojans were the only team in the Sun Belt to beat an FBS opponent this past week. While UAB is no powerhouse team, this may go as a statement to the Conference USA that Troy deserves to be considered in their expansion thoughts.

Overall, the Trojans look solid on offense, almost putting up 500 yards of offense. However their passing defense should be something to watch throughout the season since the Blazers threw for over 300 yards.

Next Game: September 8 v. Louisiana.

2. Louisiana (1-0) – Won v. Lamar 40-0. The Ragin Cajuns looked good in their opener against Lamar. All their scoring came in the first half, but what's more impressive is the shutout they were able to put up. The Cajun defense only gave up 38 yards on the ground and around 1 yard per carry. I'm impressed, but let's see if they can continue that dominance entering conference play.

Next Game: September 8 v. Louisiana.

3. Florida International (0-1) – Lost @ Duke 46-26.

This was one outcome I was surprised about. Duke is still an ACC team, so they were expected to win, but FIU definitely could have kept this one closer. Even though the Panthers outgained Duke by 100 yards, giving up big plays killed them. The Blue Devils scored on a 60 yard pass, 75 yard blocked field goal, and 98 yard interception. Easy to say turnovers killed FIU in this one. Look for the Sun Belt preseason favorites to correct those mistakes heading into a tough stretch of non-conference games.

Next Game: September 8 v. Akron.

4. Arkansas State (0-1) – Lost @ Oregon 57-34.

Arkansas State was able to recover from a 40-0 first half and make things look a little better against a dominant Oregon team. However if the Red Wolves can take anything out of this game, they did manage to put up over 500 yards of offense with a balanced attack. Look for Arkansas State to use this game to build on the rest of their season.

Next Game: September 8 v. Memphis.

5. Western Kentucky (1-0) – Won v. Austin Peay 49-10.

The Hilltoppers impressed in their week one match-up putting up almost 600 yards of offense. While its tough to take exactly how good Western is from a big game against an FCS opponent, they did take care of business and looked solid doing so. However, we should get a much better look at what this Hilltopper team really is in the upcoming weeks with 3 straight games against solid non-conference foes.

Next Game: September 8 @ Alabama

6. North Texas (0-1) – Lost @ LSU 41-14.

The Mean Green hung with one of the best teams in the country for a solid half. I can't knock North Texas too much based on their competition, so once again, its tough to get a good grasp on how good this team really is.

Next Game: September 8 v. Texas Southern.

7. Louisiana-Monroe (0-0) – Idle.

The Warhawks didn't play in The Opening week of games, and it may be a while before we really get to see what they're worth, as they start with 3 BCS conference teams on their schedule.

Next Game: September 8 v. Arkansas.

8. Florida Atlantic (1-0) – Won v. Wagner 7-3.

While the Owls didn't lose, they didn't have a lead in the game until the early fourth quarter. FAU didn't take care of the ball with four turnovers on the day. However, the Owls DID take care of business and get the win.

Next Game: September 8 @ Middle Tennessee.

9. Middle Tennessee (0-1) – Lost v. McNeese State 27-21.

Safe to say, Middle has to be the biggest disappointment for the Sun Belt in the opening week. It seems the Blue Raiders failed to solve their rush defense problems this off-season giving up almost 300 yards to McNeese State on the ground. Additionally, Middle's turnover problems continued, coughing up the ball three times and forcing no turnovers. If these problems can't find a solution early for Middle Tennessee, it could be a long season.

Next Game: September 8 v. Florida Atlantic.

10. South Alabama (0-1) – Lost v. UTSA 33-31.

The Jags first game in the Sun Belt could have gone much in their first game in FBS. However, with 4 turnovers on the day, and 7 penalties it wasn't helping much. Overall South Alabama has a bit to go, but that's to be expected in the inaugural season.

Next Game: September 8 v. Nicholls State.

Also Worth Noting:

Texas State (1-0) – Won @ Houston 30-13. A future Sun Belt team got a huge win against a quality program in Houston. Going to be interesting to see what they can do throughout the season.

Georgia State (0-1) – Lost v. South Carolina State 33-6. Georgia State got an ugly start to the season with a loss at home. However, trying to build in their second season, and last season before moving to the Sun Belt will be imperative before making the big jump.

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