Sometimes during the course of a football season, like last Friday, there are days where one finds one’s self watching college football simply because it is there. This is not one of those times. Appointment television, ahoy!
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? Arkansas State and Louisiana kick off at 8 p.m. ET at Cajun Field. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and streamed on WatchESPN.
• What’s at stake? Second place in the Sun Belt. Louisiana-Monroe is the only remaining undefeated team in conference play, but five squads currently sit at 2-1 in league games: Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas State. One of those last two will add a second league loss and drop down with the likes of Troy after tonight.
• How have these teams fared against common opponents? Only one such exists, so far. FIU was beaten 34-20 by the Red Wolves and 48-20 by the Cajuns.
• Who has done what so far? The Cajuns have run roughshod over conference dregs like FIU and Tulane, beat Troy by a couple scores, got pantsed by Oklahoma State and dropped a close game to North Texas last Tuesday. The Red Wolves are riding a two-game win streak over such unmighty opponents as the Golden Panthers and South Alabama, lost paycheck games to Oregon and Nebraska, beat Memphis by a mere five points back in September and lost 26-13 to Western Kentucky in Week 5. Reply hazy; try again later.
• Any players to watch? There’s a Gus Malzahn offense, albeit a still-hatching one, happening on one side here, so train your eyes on Red Wolves quarterback Ryan Aplin and receiver J.D. McKissic — and see if pick-happy Cajun Rodney Gillis can’t snag a pass out of the air. Louisiana’s best scoring weapon remains kicker Brett Baer, currently ranked 16th in the nation in scoring among players of any position.
• Every time you write about the Red Wolves, you mention they did not entertain your suggestions for a new name several years ago when switching mascots. Did you have any other ideas besides the Arkansas State Vine-Ripe Pink Tomatoes? So glad you asked. We were particularly fond of the “Arkansas State Manmade Lakes.”