It’s already the seventh week of college football in 2016, can you believe that? Football season always flashes by quickly it feels like, and this year is no exception. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of football left to be played and a lot to be desired. In this edition of Wednesday night football, we get a Sun Belt matchup between Appalachian State and UL Lafayette. It’s either the Sun Belt or MAC on Wednesday night, so this is the best we’re going to get before the weekend gets closer. There actually isn’t any football on Thursday this week, which is kind of odd considering we have a game on Wednesday.
Appalachian State is best known for defeating the University of Michigan a decade ago, a very good Michigan team mind you. This wasn’t the Rich Rod Wolverines, it was the Chad Henne and Mario Manningham Wolverines, a top team in the nation. They nearly pulled off a similar upset against the Tennessee Volunteers in Week 1. The Mountaineers pushed Tennessee to the break point, but ultimately fell in overtime, 20-13.
It was an impressive effort, which came around ten years after they caught Michigan off guard in the first week. New comers to the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian State is looking to take the conference by storm and bring home a championship. The Mountaineers were too good for FCS competition, so it felt right that they moved up to playing at the FBS level.
Appalachian State enters 3-2 tonight, with losses coming against the Volunteers in overtime and to Miami, a 45-10 drubbing. Miami were short favorites in that one, giving the Mountaineers a ton of respect. However, they were clearly off base on that one, as the Hurricanes rolled Appalachian State up. The Mountaineers are coming off not one but two losses in overtime. How is that for a shot to the stomach? Consequently, the Rajin Cagun fell to 2-3 on the season.
They have wins over McNeese State and South Alabama. UL Lafayette is coming into tonight rather banged up, so we’ll see if they can overcome that to put worth a winning effort on Wednesday night. It’s been a profitable college football campaign for me thus far, let’s keep it going tonight in the Sun Belt.
Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. UL Lafayette Rajin Cajuns NCAAF Betting Odds:
Appalachian State -10(-110)
vs. UL Lafayette +10(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Appalachian State vs. UL Lafayette Pick:
I know it’s the Sun Belt, but this conference should pack a punch near the end of the season. There are so many teams bunched up with similar talent, which should provide for an exciting finish to the season. Nobody here is threatening to muddy up the college football playoff, but predicting a winner in the conference at this point proves difficult. The Mountaineers only two losses come against Power 5 Conference teams, and they for all intent and purposes, should have beat Tennessee in Week 1. I think they got a little too comfortable playing Miami after they had an easy time against Tennessee.
The Rajin Cajuns benched starting quarterback Anthony Jennings late in the first-half against New Mexico State in favor of Jalen Nixon. However, Nixon broke his ankle in overtime so it’s back to Jennings. He was benched in large part due to 2 interceptions and inadequate play. Jennings was 12/22 with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions against a really bad New Mexico State defense, one of the worst in the country.
Jennings is a transfer from LSU who appeared with the team only in early August. Learning the playbook seems to be at the brunt of his issues. So much so, that head coach Mark Hudspeth said they may have to simplify the playbook for him this week. Simplify is a nice way of saying the guy is clueless right now and he still needs to find the reins of the offense. The Rajin Cajuns will also be down a couple of defensive lineman, LaDarrius Kidd and David Lemonte.
Depth may be an issue in this one for UL Lafayette. Lafayette has given up monster yards through the air, with an average of nearly 300 yards per game surrendered. New Mexico State was able to dice them up for 354 yards. The Mountaineers are a balanced team who like to mix in bit of the run and pass. But at the center of my pick tonight is the Rajin Cajun offense against the App State defense. Outside of Miami, the Mountaineers have allowed just 15.25 points per game through four quarters. Appalachian State is 27th in college football defending the run, versus 78th running the ball for UL Lafayette. If the Rajin Cajun are going to simplify the playbook, like they say they are for Jennings, expect them to utilize the ground game frequently. This is going right into the strength of Appalachian State. I expect them to struggle mightily on offense this evening. My outlook has the Mountaineers winning 31-17 on Wednesday night.