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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Sun Belt was not to be trifled with last week

by Wally Hall | September 15, 2022 at 2:33 a.m.


Notice was served to the college football world last weekend.

The shots over the bow were Georgia Southern beating Nebraska, Notre Dame losing to Marshall and Appalachian State downing Texas A&M.

Does this mean the Sun Belt is the third-best conference in America?

Should Memphis try and find a way out of its game with Arkansas State this Saturday?

Does Aggie Coach Jimbo Fisher average more money per win than Alabama's Nick Saban?

No one has to tell Arkansas' Sam Pittman he's getting ready to play a very good FCS team in Missouri State. He has bragged on Bobby Petrino and his Bears all week.

Pittman has talked to his players and they have bragged on Petrino and the Bears.

How much parity there is in college football remains to be seen, but there is no doubt the transfer portal has leveled the field for some programs.

Missouri State has transfers from about a dozen FBS schools.

Quarterback Jason Shelley transferred from Utah State in the summer of 2021 after being dismissed by new head coach Blake Anderson, who brought his Arkansas State quarterback Logan Bonner with him.

His dismissal was for violation of team rules, according to a release by Utah State.

Last season for the Bears, Shelley completed 234 of 399 passes for 3,352 yards, 22 touchdowns with 9 interceptions.

So far this season, he has completed 34 of 59 passes for 563 yards, 6 touchdowns and has no interceptions.

He may be the best quarterback the Razorbacks have faced and he will test the Hogs all over the field, including deep.

. . .

A little more on those three "upsets."

Nebraska fired its coach after the loss, Notre Dame fell out of the top 25 and Fisher's on the hot seat in Aggieland.

It makes one wonder if it was just money that convinced Brian Kelly to leave the Irish and go to LSU, which had been rocked by transfers.

Maybe Kelly knew the Irish were not going to be as competitive as fans expected.

. . .

Alabama avoided an upset at Texas by kicking a 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds to play to win 20-19.

The Longhorns passed for 292 yards on the Tide, but ran for only 79 yards.

They only scored one touchdown and had four field goals.

The most telling statistic, and the one that had Alabama Coach Nick Saban spitting mad, was 15 penalties against the Crimson Tide for 100 yards.

Those resulted in eight first downs for the Longhorns.

There has been a lot of speculation this week about that game.

A lot of folks thought Texas got hosed by the officials, but try telling that to Saban.

It was a Big 12 officiating crew.

No one has questioned that maybe the Tide's band not making the trip had anything to do with it.

They are called the Million Dollar Band.

. . .

Somehow Texas A&M did not drop out of the Associated Press top 25 after losing to App State.

They dropped from No. 6 to No. 24.

That gave the SEC eight teams in the poll, four in the top 10.

Georgia moved ahead of Alabama as the No. 1 team and the Tide slipped only to No. 2. Kentucky is No. 9 and Arkansas No. 10

Tennessee is No. 15, Florida No. 18 and Ole Miss No. 20.

At this point in the season, all appear to be deserving of their ranking. But it may be one of the better teams in the SEC is being overlooked.

Mississippi State opened with a convincing 49-23 win over Memphis and then traveled to Tucson for a 10 p.m. kickoff against a solid Arizona team.

The Bulldogs won 39-17.

State is a team to keep an eye on.


Print Headline: Sun Belt was not to be trifled with last week

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