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Watch the blows below the Belt

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Watch the blows below the Belt

Tend to agree with this guy…this may just be the year that the Belt finally gets some clout and respect - beginning with one of these Teams knocking off NU.

Watch the blows below the Belt

You've heard the cracks by now. Nebraska: honorary member–and possible champion?–of the Sun Belt in 2009. Yes, Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette are all on the schedule but as far as humor goes it's a middle of the pack, mid-major effort.

In fact, far less than a joke, I'd say this slate has a good chance to play out as a good bit of scheduling for Nebraska.


You'll never win any plaudits from either the college football media or the proletariat for scheduling three Sun Belt teams. It just sounds bad. The Sun Belt, home of the perennial 6-6 New Orleans Bowl team, a win farm that is harvested during the four weeks of September by custom cutting crews out of the SEC, Big 12 and ACC, the little conference that comes close.

But that's the thing about the Sun Belt, they're a battle tested conference. Getting your teeth kicked in by the bullies of college football–almost always on their block–three to four times a year tends to toughen you up a bit and teach you how to fight. Last year in week two Louisiana-Monroe had Arkansas down 24-6 before losing 28-27 on a touchdown with 1:22 to play, and Troy forced the Ohio State faithful to sweat out a 28-10 win at the Horseshoe in week three. The year before UL-M went ahead and beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa 21-14 and Troy waxed Oklahoma State 41-23 on a Friday night. The ratio of blowouts to close calls/wins is still drastically in the favor of the heavyweights, but at this point in the conference's history most major football programs know this: When you play the Sun Belt with less than your best effort, they have the talent to beat you.

Why? Geography. Take a look at the map of the conference. Texas? Check. Florida? Check. Louisiana? Check. You could argue that there isn't a non-BCS conference better situated to pick up the speedy chaff and athletic academic casualties left behind by the big recruiting machines than the Sun Belt. Throw a chip on every one of their shoulders when they play against the schools they dreamed of going to and overall you have a conference that likely gets a little less scared to play any team anywhere with each passing year. Nebraska is unnaturally exposed–thanks Steve!–to the giant slaying with three such games next season. Let's take a look:

FAU
I hate games where the storyline is already built in and so utterly familiar. It's like a summer blockbuster and this one comes prepackaged as Schnellenberger v. Nebraska the sequel. While the Owls feasted on their Sun Belt comrades last season after starting 1-5, they have the most experience of any of the Huskers' Sun Belt opponents playing with the big boys. Since 2006 Florida Atlantic has played 10 games against BCS foes and won only one, a 42-39 win over an awful Minnesota team in Boca Raton in 2007. Last season's non-conference schedule was highlighted by giving Michigan State a run for the money before falling 17-0 in East Lansing. While FAU has yet to show that they're capable of pulling off something truly shocking they have improved rather quickly under Schnellenberger and anything can happen in week one, especially with a new starting quarterback in his first game.

Arkansas State
Say what you will about Texas A&M last season, but the fact is this: Winning in College Station is never any easy proposition. Arkansas State managed to do that in week one last year and you might say the loss set the stage for the Aggies first losing record at home since 2002. One year earlier the Indians pressed #10 Texas in the season opener, falling 21-13 after a last gasp on-side kick attempt failed. ASU hasn't taken on BCS foes with the regularity of an FAU but they've played them closer overall, scaring Texas and Oklahoma State in the last three years.

Louisiana-Lafayette
What's the Ragin' Cajuns claim to near fame over the past few seasons? Nearly rallying to beat #24 Illinois in Champaign last year and then, two weeks later, climbing back into a game they trailed 28-3 at Kansas State before losing by eight. Now neither of those BCS teams ended up being much good, but ultimately UL-L wasn't that good either at 6-6 with only those two major conference teams on the schedule. What the Cajuns–isn't the "Ragin" just superfluous?–can do is score and score quickly. They were a Top 25 scoring offense last season and no team in the country scored more touchdowns of 50 or more yards than UL-L did. They'll be breaking in a new quarterback but three of their top five receiving threats are back and they'll at least have experience going into the hornet's nest as Louisiana-Lafayette plays at LSU the week before heading to Lincoln.

On the surface, Nebraska is sure to take their lumps from opposing fans for scheduling a three-team cruise of the Sun Belt conference but I think each of those games could represent a fairly tough cupcake. They're all at least tougher than a big time program probably has to schedule given the financial and winning percentage incentives not to and they are all certainly better than Idaho or South Dakota State, two teams Nebraska will frost next year.

Make no mistake, a loss to one of these teams would still be catastrophic with a road game against an almost certain top ten foe looming in Virginia Tech and a wide open Big 12 North, but it's not entirely out of the question.

That said, I don't expect Nebraska to be lauded for taking on 30 percent of the Sun Belt Conference either but I do hope they're at least appropriately rated for it. That and well prepared because the Sun Belt, despite everything you've heard, is a lot better than anything involving a scoff, snort or snicker.

Source:  Brandon Vogel - bigrednetwork.com
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Re: Watch the blows below the Belt

We played in Boca Raton in 2007?  ???

AEA
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Re: Watch the blows below the Belt

Wow wasn't even Lauderdale…this guy is two counties off…that was at Dolphin stadium….

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower
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Re: Watch the blows below the Belt

Silver_Bullet32 said

Wow wasn't even Lauderdale…this guy is two counties off…that was at Dolphin stadium….

Owl Country baby, South Florida…all of it! It's getting bigger as we speak…just like our boys!  ;D

-Go owl!
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Re: Watch the blows below the Belt

He probably thinks we play in Boca Raton, FL.
In the end isn't that the place where FAU is located? :P


Advertising & Design / FAU 2006
Marketing / GEORGETOWN 2015
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Re: Watch the blows below the Belt

It's an honest mistake, you would think by now we would be playing Boca Raton….. ::)
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