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Week 3: #FunBelt Fool’s Gold

#GiveEmHell

Who’s up for a slightly very hyperbolic intro? Let’s roll…

…Let’s call it the San Marcos Slugfest. The Sun Belt Powers That Be certainly want us to believe that’s what’s in store.

Something’s got to give Saturday night under the lights in the Lone Star State, if one buys what the conference is selling.

(Spoiler Alert: We don’t.)

That’s because, if one blindly believes everything one reads on the Internet machine, the top offensive and defensive units in the Sun Belt #FunBelt square off in an early season conference clash.

Your blogger did not expect App State’s Week 3 tilt against Texas State anyone – even the Sun Belt marketing machine – would try to describe App State-Texas State as intriguing as any conference game featuring a 23-point favorite (for those into that kind of thing, like Uncle Brent) could be. Yet, that’s what Belt HQ is selling.

/#SIREN! AppFan.com News Alert: We have start times, folks, including for the Highway 421 Brawl against Wake Forest./

Here you go, plan accordingly:

Oct. 7 vs. New Mexico State – 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 vs. Coastal Carolina – 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 (Thursday night, ESPNU) vs. Georgia Southern #TheStink – 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 2 vs. Louisiana – 2:30 p.m.

The University also announced the big renewal of the App State-Wake Forest rivalry will go down Thursday night, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. with a national teevee audience watching on ESPN2! Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. on…your laptop or mobile device.

That’s quite the buzzkill, though the Athletics Department and Sun Belt officials offers some hope that this game will be promoted to your 70-inch (oh my!) flatscreen: “With broadcast considerations in mind, the times and channels for many college football matchups are set 12 days in advance,” per a press release.

Thumbs up to AD Doug Gillin for making this happen, and your blogger will reserve judgement on the availability of the game on the teevee. For now.

/End #BreakingNews alert/

The Mountaineers are a three-TD favorite Saturday night in San Marcos, but the Big Brains (we’re sure…) at something called PFF College last week dubbed Texas State the top defense in the Belt. And App State’s domination of FCS Division II Savannah State earned it the outfit’s offensive unit of the week, uh, honor…

We know who the Mountaineers are, at least philosophically: A run-first spread offense that’s at it’s best when balanced early – or at winnin’ time – so the passing game opens up the running game for “The Franchise” Jalin Moore and his understudies.

(Speaking of balance, was good to see the App TEs running wild last Saturday. Getting the TEs involved is key to any Coach Visor offense.)

And defensively, we saw a return to the swarming, physical and shutdown defense that got gassed and blown out during Week 1 in Athens.

That’s who the Mountaineers want to be. After a check game and a Div-II tune up, we can’t be sure that’s who the 2017 Mountaineers will be – nor how good they really are. We’ll start to find out against a peer conference foe in just a few hours.

Now, despite what the #FunBelt is selling, the stats just don’t back up the claim that the Bobcat defense (ranked mid-pack among FBS squads) is the top unit in this or any other conference. One on hand, the ‘Cats have given up only five TDs in two games. One the other hand, they played Houston Baptist in the opener and give up 344 yards per game.

We’ll go out on a limb and predict the Mountaineers will roll up at least 345 yards.

Texas State is surrendering 24 points per game. We’ll go further out on a limb and predict App will get to at least 25.

The ‘Cats are the nation’s 12th-best D on third down so far. Given the Mountaineers’ problem last season on the Hells Bells down, that gives your blogger some pause…

…But not much considering one headline about TSU that stands out above any data point this scribe could find: “Texas State holds off Houston Baptist in opener, 20-11”.

Houston Baptist led the opener 9-0, and trailed by just a point at halftime against what many folks keep insisting is an “improving Texas State team.”

Your blogger just isn’t buying the fool’s gold the #FunBelt is selling about this game. Give this guy the Mountaineers MINUS the full 23 points. App tosses it around a good bit against the country’s 90th-ranked passing D, and run it just enough to loosen the country’s 18th-best running D.

Prediction Time: Taylor Lamb goes over 300 yards passing uh-gin, and get some yards on the ground in the option game as Satt tries to get Moore and the running going. This one gets out of hand by halftime as the Mountaineers cruise, 41-10. Give. Em. Hell.

–Appstradamus

Follow your favorite barely tolerated blogger DURING the game on Twitter @APPstradamus for analysis, snark and third-down bell emojis (!!).

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