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ESPN - Tidbits

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ESPN - Tidbits

This was part of ESPN overview of the 2006 SBC.


Can't wait to see these things this fall
By Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde
ESPN.com



Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In the Sun Belt

By Ivan Maisel:

1. North Texas tailback Jamario Thomas endured a hamstring-induced sophomore slump last season, rushing for only 361 yards. He proved himself when healthy, grinding out 83 yards against LSU. Much like Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma, as a healthy Thomas goes, so go the Mean Green's Sun Belt hopes. We'll find out early. North Texas opens at the defending national champion Texas Longhorns.

2. Louisiana-Lafayette closed last season with a five-game winning streak, the fifth-longest current streak in Division I-A. The fast finish erased a 1-5 start and gave the Ragin' Cajuns a share of the league championship. The streak won't see six – ULL opens at LSU and at Texas A&M – but an offense with steady quarterback Jerry Babb and sophomore tailback Tyrell Fenroy (1,053 yards, 12 touchdowns) will be worth watching.

3. Which suicide, check-chasing schedule catches your eye? Florida Atlantic opens with five road games (Clemson, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, ULM) while Troy's four-game trip includes Florida State, Georgia Tech, Nebraska and UAB on consecutive Saturdays. FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger and Troy coach Larry Blakeney are the two most accomplished coaches in the Sun Belt, but I just want to see if their teams survive long enough to play each other on Nov. 11.


By Pat Forde:

1. Has Rickey Bustle turned the corner at Louisiana-Lafayette? The former Virginia Tech offensive coordinator has improved the product steadily in four years, going from 3-9 to 4-8 to 4-7 to last year's 6-5 mark. The Ragin' Cajuns enter this season on a five-game winning streak and bring back 1,000-yard rusher Tyrell Fenroy. That might be enough to earn the favorite's role in an evenly matched conference.

2. Oklahoma State vs. Arkansas State in Little Rock on Sept. 9. Louisville vs. Middle Tennessee State in Nashville on Oct. 6. If this league is ever going to score a major credibility victory on something other than the opponent's home field, these are as good as the opportunities might get. Arkansas State is coming off a New Orleans Bowl bid and facing an Oklahoma State program that lost its way a bit last season. Middle Tennessee is in much tougher company, taking on a Cardinals program that should be ranked in the top 15. These are the rare opportunities the Sun Belt must take advantage of.

3. Can North Texas relocate its mojo? The Mean Green had owned this league from its inception until last season, when they slumped to 2-9. Was that the true end of an era, or just a one-year blip? This season might provide the answer.


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ESPN - Tidbits

FAU gets and will be getting comments concerning its rigorous schedule. The comments are of a "I can't believe it" nature. It worked for Miami, it worked for Louisville and it will work for FAU. If I was being recruited and I saw the chance to play in Hawaii, the Hubert Humphrey dome in Minnesota, death valley in SC, Michigan, Michigan State and other great football venues around the country, that is where I would want to play ball. I'm suprised Howard couldn't get a date with Penn State. Paterno was at the campus practicing this winter at Howard's invitation.

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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The old school coaches like Bowden and Paterno may just pop up on the schedule. They remember how it's done with their peers. The younger coaches seem more focused on the top dollar figures vs the historical match-ups.


Ark St have the better chance at the upset vs OK State. Louisville didn't lose that much to graduation and should be tough again vs MTSU.
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We offend complain about most expert don't know or care much about the SBC, I thought that Maisel and Forde insight showed that at least they are some what current with the SBC. At least someone is paying attention :o then again they did hit on the most obvious situations.

That brutal OCC last year did take a toll on the team, especially toward the end of the season.
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Bytor,

I wasn't down there to see it but the 55-6 loss to FIU, as you know, is and will be a sore spot. From what I read about it from everyone, the guys acted like they lost interest, they never showed up. Was this from the schedule? Do you think they have mentaly toughened up so they will be able to survive it this year?

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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FAU players was down after losing QB Embick. He was a leader on and off the field for the youngsters. The young O-Line definitely could have use his adjustments out there. The loss of Danny's experience and leadership with the fired up FIU team who NEEDED(seniors last shot) to get into the win column. Now consider the way FIU lost the previous game and you have the makings for this type of game. FIU played inspired ball and capitalized on the mistakes by FAU.
The loss was just a small sample of what they went through all season.

They have paid their dues. The Sunbelt should be more competitive this year.
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Last season was very hard to get a grip on, because the team was face with so many adversities thru-out the season.

Like OG mentioned the lost of Embick may have been that last straw that deflated a team that was still trying to find an identity for itself. Just from spring ball this year the team seem to have a different attitude and intensity that seemed to lack last year and appear to be a much more confident as a group as well.

There was a changing or the guards, with so many veterans leaving at the same time, that it kind of left a void that seemed to never have gotten filled.



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