Written by: James Braswell
The scent of College Football is in the air. In a couple of weeks, the season will start and everybody’s favorite (well at least my favorite) Group of Five conference, the Sun Belt Conference, will begin play. Now is as good a time as any to predict the best and worst Sun Belt teams for the upcoming season.
(Author’s note: As a Georgia Southern student, I will do my best to remain as non-bias as possible when making these rankings.)
Without further ado, here are my Preseason Sun Belt Conference Football Rankings:
11. New Mexico State Aggies
10. Idaho Vandals
9. Georgia State Panthers
These three teams are pretty much at the bottom of the barrel of the conference. The Aggies and Vandals have the unfortunate burden of being geographically out of place within the conference. Georgia State will be much improved with the addition of several University of Alabama-Birmingham transfers (thanks to Ray Watts), and should win a FBS game this year. The Panthers haven’t won a FBS game since the creation of their football program.
8. Troy Trojans
7. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
6. South Alabama Jaguars
5. Texas State Bobcats
These teams are in the middle of the Sun Belt road. They’re decent, but they’re not great. Troy will be playing under a new coach after the retirement of long-time coach Larry Blakeney, so it is difficult to scope how they will develop this season. Texas State are usually on the cusp of being a top-tier Sun Belt team, but have always been left at home when Bowl Season comes around. Maybe Coach Franchione can get the Bobcats to their first bowl game this year.
4. Arkansas State Red Wolves
3. Appalachian State Mountaineers
2. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns
1. Georgia Southern Eagles
Theses teams are the cream of the crop. Any four of these teams have a great shot winning the Sun Belt this year. Appalachian State is a team many people will make a run for the title this year. Sun Belt veterans, Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State, will look to reclaim their place at the top of the conference. Georgia Southern will be looking to repeat as Sun Belt champions in their second-year in the conference and the FBS.
Once the season starts, I’ll be giving a Sun Belt Conference weekly ranking every Monday here on Nuts and Bolts Sports. You can follow me on Twitter @JamesGSTV for Sun Belt updates and Georgia Southern news.