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Don't Sleep on the Sun Belt: A Recent Lesson

Conventional wisdom says, "Oh, they're just Sun Belt teams. We should have no problem with this tune-up game." Recent results disagree.

Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

As we walk into Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday afternoon to play against Middle Tennessee State, most Tech fans will have the same mindset: "Well, this one should be interesting for about a quarter. Looking forward to this blowout." I'll be the first to tell you, I'm just as guilty as anyone in this regard, and I know plenty of students who have the exact same mindset. And why wouldn't we? Everything we know about college football says that when a BCS Conference team that's regularly playing in bowl games plays against a Sun Belt team that they've beaten two years in a row already, it shouldn't be a contest.

That's also what Arkansas, Kentucky, Auburn, Mississippi St, Louisville, and Baylor fans thought earlier this year.

To be fair, the only teams mentioned above who actually lost their contests are Kentucky (a late "charging" call cost them against Western Kentucky, it seems) and a Petrino-less Arkansas (who lost to UL-Monroe in incredible fashion...mostly incredible because it didn't happen to us, of course). But even still, each of the aforementioned teams went into the game expecting a blowout, and being taken to their limits. Auburn played UL-Monroe a week later, and needed overtime to pull off that victory. Mississippi State won over Troy by a score of 30-24 in a game that was much closer than anyone expected. Just last week, Louisville won over Florida International by only a touchdown in a game that Louisville trailed in during the first half, was tied at halftime, and saw a Louisville loss last year. Baylor walked into a Friday evening matchup against UL-Monroe, and won in a shootout that nobody saw coming by a score of 47-42.

Yes, most of these games still ended in a win for the team expected to win, but the moral of the story is that in this day and age of college football, no team can afford to sleep on another team. No win can be taken for granted. When a team walks in expecting to win on name alone, they get beat at home by a team no fan wants to admit that their team lost to. Hopefully our guys are confident but focused coming into Bobby Dodd Stadium tomorrow. Coming off a loss to a team that we had beat, our fan base might not be able to handle a loss to MTSU.

You scared now, readers? Is this something that we can take for granted, regardless of what those other teams have done?