Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week 3

This isn't your father's Sun Belt. The league has played admirably thus far on the young season, as evidenced by accolades being lumped on the conference from various national publications. With that in mind, BRZ's own Kurt Mullen has taken it upon himself to rank the entire league team-by-team from top to bottom. Keep reading for more.

1. Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) – Lost @ Auburn 31-28 OT

Ranking Change: Up 1 Spot.

ULM gave another SEC team all they wanted again this week, but came up a little short on the road in overtime. It's easy to say, the War Hawks have easily looked the best of any Sun Belt team so far this season. ULM fans are hoping their tough non-conference schedule will pay dividends once their Sun Belt season opens up.

Next Game: September 21 vs. Baylor.

2. Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1, 1-0) – Lost @ Oklahoma State 65-24

Ranking Change: Down 1 Spot.

One week after opening the Sun Belt season with a win, the Ragin' Cajuns had a rough week on the road against a high-powered Oklahoma State offense. We should get a better gauge of how good this Lafayette team is in a couple weeks when they take on a battle-tested FIU team.

Next Game: September 29 vs. Florida International.

3. Troy (1-2, 0-1) – Lost vs. Mississippi State 30-24

Ranking Change: Up 1 Spot.

The Trojans' offense put up nearly 600 yards against an unbeaten SEC defense. However, once again turnovers killed the Trojans (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles) and cost them a chance to knock off an SEC opponent. If the Trojans can solve their turnover problems, they will still be a factor in the Sun Belt championship.

Next Game: September 22 @ North Texas.

4. Florida International (1-2) – Lost @ Central Florida 33-20

Ranking Change: Down 1 Spot.

You can't say the Panthers are willing to step out and play a tough schedule, and even though their record doesn't show it, they are still a very solid team. FIU did dig themselves an early hole, not scoring until the second half of the game. On a positive note, the Panthers offense seemed fairly balances, splitting their 306 yards down the middle between their rushing and passing game.

Next Game: September 20 vs. Louisville.

5. Western Kentucky (2-1) – Won @ Kentucky 32-31 OT

Ranking Change: Up 2 Spots.

The Hilltoppers got what may have been the biggest win in program history over in-state rival Kentucky. Western's defense was stout, only giving up 41 yards on the ground, and forcing 4 interceptions on the day. Fair to say, WKU should at least be mentioned now with the contenders in the Sun Belt.

Next Game: September 22 vs. Southern Miss.

6. North Texas (1-2) – Lost @ Kansas State 35-21

Ranking Change: Idle.

North Texas didn't move in this week's power rankings, but that's a credit to the Western Kentucky win. The Mean Green looked solid for most of the game against Kansas State, only being down by 8 heading into the fourth quarter. We get a chance to see what the Mean Green are really about when they open conference play this week.

Next Game: September 22 vs. Troy.

7. Arkansas State (1-2) – Lost @ Nebraska 42-13

Ranking Change: Down 2 Spots.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in the Red Wolves this week. Granted, they were playing against a team that has been ranked thus far this year, but I fully expected them to hang a little closer in this game. For the first time this season, we saw their high-powered running attack held under 200 yards. However, the Red Wolves were able to force 4 turnovers on the day.

Next Game: September 22 vs. Alcorn State.

8. Middle Tennessee (2-1, 1-0) – Won @ Memphis 48-30

The Blue Raiders got a rivalry win over in-state Memphis this week. However, the win isn't as impressive as it could be, since Memphis hasn't won a game this season. For the first time this season, the Blue Raiders did win the turnover battle, forcing 3 fumbles and returning an interception for a touchdown.

Next Game: September 29 @ Georgia Tech.

9. Florida Atlantic (1-2, 0-1) – Lost @ Georgia 56-20

Florida Atlantic played a solid half against Georgia this weekend. However, Owls did give up more than 700 yards of offense. The road of the 2012 season doesn't get any easier for Florida Atlantic, taking on the defending National Champs next week.

Next Game: September 22 @ Alabama.

10. South Alabama (1-2) – Lost @ North Carolina State 31-7

The first season for the Jags only seems to get tougher after splitting their first two games. Turnovers and penalties killed South Alabama's offense, and made it tough for them to compete with the deeper Wolfpack.

Next Game: September 22 @ Mississippi State.

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