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Conference Preview: Sun Belt

crystalballIn an effort to address all the teams and conferences that make the fall so exciting, OTP’s All-Star Editorial staff is putting on their prognosticatin’ hats and taking a stab at each of the conferences and all of the teams in FBS. Alan and Edge are giving you the conference’s order of finish, the records, the superlatives for offense and defense, and the biggest surprise for each conference. At the conclusion of our series, we’ll have the Bowl Projections for all 34 Bowl Games.

OTP Conference Preview: The Sun Belt
sun belt

For the SunBelt conference, it’s certainly easy to be overlooked. The footprint of the conference is predominantly SEC country, you aren’t an automatic qualifier, and for the most part, your teams make their living and their athletic budgets by being the sacrificial lambs for Big 12 and SEC teams. This year, the Sun Belt also welcomes in a new member to the conference table, as Western Kentucky begins their first season as a full member of the Sun Belt and the FBS Division.

Troy has been the dominant Sun Belt member over the last few years, winning 3 straight conference titles. And that’s an accomplishment no matter what mediocre conference you belong to!

Last 5 Conference Champions:
2008: Troy
2007: Troy/Florida Atlantic
2006: Troy/MTSU
2005: Arkansas/ULM/Louisiana
2004: North Texas

Bowl Tie Ins:
The Sun Belt Conference has only one guaranteed bowl tie-in, with a contingency to fill up to three additional bowl slots.
#1-The New Orleans Bowl plays host to the champion of the Sun Belt conference.
#2-4– The St. Petersburg Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, and Independence Bowl have agreed to give precedence to a Sun Belt Conference team should the conferences that normally send teams to those bowl games not have enough bowl eligible teams. In years where more than one of these bowls has available slots, they may select teams from the Sun Belt conference in the order given.

Alan’s Sun Belt Predictions
Order of Finish:
Troy: 9-3 (8-0)
Arkansas State: 8-4 (7-1)
Florida Atlantic: 7-5 (5-3)
Middle Tennessee State: 6-6 (5-3)
Louisiana-Monroe: 5-7 (4-4)
Florida International: 5-7 (4-4)
Louisiana-Lafayette: 3-9 (2-6)
North Texas: 2-10 (1-7)
Western Kentucky: 1-11 (0-8)

League MVP: DuJuan Harris, RB, Troy
Offensive MVP: Ty Hilton, WR, Florida International
Defensive MVP: Alex Carrington, DE, Arkansas State

Biggest Surprise This Season: Troy goes unblemished through SunBelt play but drops their season opener in stunning fashion against the Bowling Green Falcons.

Edge’s Sun Belt Predictions
Order of Finish:
Troy 10-2: (8-0)
Middle Tennessee: 7-5 (6-2)
Arkansas St.: 7-5 (6-2)
Florida Atlantic: 7-5 (5-3)
Florida International: 5-7 (4-4)
Louisiana-Lafayette: 4-8 (3-5)
ULM: 3-9 (2-6)
North Texas: 1-11 (1-7)
Western Kentucky: 1-11 (0-8)

League MVP: DuJuan Harris, Troy
Offensive MVP: Rusty Smith, Fla. Atlantic
Defensive MVP: Alex Carrington, Ark. St.

Biggest Surprise This Season: It’s a tie between 1) Middle Tennessee takes the #2 spot from Arkansas State after a week 12 win, and 2) I watch one Sun Belt game this year.

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5 Responses

  1. Keep in mind that MT is just now getting up to full schollies after academic probation that has hampered us for the last three years. I don’t know if we win the conference, but I would bet that we go bowling.

  2. Based on the reception I received from the MTSU “fans”, I can only hope you get your asses throttled every game this season.

  3. Question. After Ball State loses to North Texas, will the New Hampshire become a “trap game” for the fallen Cardinals ? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. We’ll burn that bridge to fantasy island when we get there, Joe.

  5. You got a name wrong, it’s not “Louisiana” it’s ULL or Louisiana-Layayette

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