Sun Belt Power Rankings: Week Nine

With only three weeks left in the regular season, the Sun Belt is starting to shape up, but there is still PLENTY of room for shake ups over the next few games. Keep reading to see how things stand according to Kurt Mullen.

1. Arkansas State (7-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) – Won vs. Louisiana-Monroe 45-23

The Red Wolves sent a message to the conference this week. That message? Arkansas State is out for the title. Granted, ULM was without quarterback Kolton Browning, but a win is a win. If the Red Wolves can take care of business against the Trojans this week, they may be looking at a winner-take-all game with Middle Tennessee.

Next Game: November 17 @ Troy.

2. Middle Tennessee (6-3, 4-1 Sun Belt) – Idle

The last time we saw the Blue Raiders, they were out-coaching their biggest rival on the road. However, if Middle Tennessee wants to make sure they're bowl bound this season, they'll need to grab a couple more wins before the season's end. However, Middle beware, a trap game at South Alabama may ruin any momentum they've built.

Next Game: November 17 @ South Alabama.

3. Western Kentucky (6-4, 3-3 Sun Belt) – Lost vs. Florida Atlantic 37-28

The Hilltoppers have dropped two straight games and three of the last four they've played. If Western can't solve their turnover problems, they may stay on the outside looking in come bowl season.

Next Game: November 17 @ Louisiana-Lafayette.

4. Louisiana-Lafayette (5-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) – Lost @ Florida 27-20

The Cajuns nearly pulled off another Sun Belt defeat of a Top 10 team this week in the Swamp. Even though Lafayette couldn't complete the epic win, they have looked frightfully good to teams over the last couple weeks including their win over ULM. Don't think the Cajuns are out of the Sun Belt title just yet either with three very winnable games remaining.

Next Game: November 17 vs. Western Kentucky.

5. Louisiana-Monroe (6-4, 4-2 Sun Belt) – Lost @ Arkansas State 45-23

Its been a rough couple weeks for the Warhawks. Without Kolton Browning, it seems ULM can't really do anything offensively and their defense isn't good enough to win games for them. The Warhawks aren't quite out of the Sun Belt race just yet, but after losing to two of the final five contenders, a lot would have to go right for ULM to find themselves on top.

Next Game: November 17 vs. North Texas.

6. Troy (5-5, 3-3 Sun Belt) – Won vs. Navy 41-31

After a close loss on the road against a fellow offense heavy team in Tennessee, the Trojans got a solid non-conference win against Navy. While Troy may be out of the Sun Belt race, they can still find themselves in bowl season with two tough games left to finish out the season.

Next Game: November 17 vs. Arkansas State.

7. Florida Atlantic (3-7, 2-4 Sun Belt) – Won @ Western Kentucky 37-28

Don't look now, but the Owls have won their last two Sun Belt games. I've said all season I thought Coach Peleni would get this program headed in the right direction, and it seems he's been able to prove me right. FAU may not be looking forward to bowl season, but they can play spoiler to finish the season with some momentum headed into 2013.

Next Game: November 16 vs. Florida International.

8. North Texas (4-6, 3-3 Sun Belt) – Won vs. South Alabama 24-14

The Mean Green have an outside chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. However, North Texas hasn't won a road game since last November so the odds may be stacked against them. If the Mean Green want to make their mark before leaving the conference, they can definitely play spoiler for some teams looking to grab the Sun Belt crown.

Next Game: November 17 @ Louisiana-Monroe.

9. South Alabama (2-8, 1-5 Sun Belt) – Lost @ North Texas 24-14

It was another close loss for the Jags this week against North Texas. I have been impressed at how this offense has improved since this beginning of the season, and this team in Mobile is definitely building something to keep an eye on for years to come.

Next Game: November 17 vs. Middle Tennessee.

10. Florida International (2-8, 1-5 Sun Belt) - Idle

If there ever was a horrible way to leave a conference, the Golden Panthers are displaying it. Yes, FIU managed not to go winless in their final year in the Belt. However, coming from a team picked to win the league at the beginning of the year, sitting at the bottom has to be a humbling experience for this program.

Next Game: November 16 @ Florida Atlantic.

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