Welcome to the 2017 Sun Belt Football Preview. Coastal Carolina joins the league this year. The league is divided into two tiers. The top three teams this year are decisively better than the rest of the conference.
Sun Belt Preview
Appalachian State Mountaineers – coming off a 10 win season, they have veterans at several skill positions. If the defense stays top 10, the Mountaineers should be a double digit win team again.
Arkansas State Red Wolves – The offensive line is rebuilt but skill positions are back from offense that was 74th last season. Defense was 19th but returns only four starters. Can they just reload on D?
Troy Trojans – Offense should be good again. Could jump up from 39th in scoring. Can the defense stay a top 25 scoring D? If so, Troy could challenge for the league title.
Georgia Southern Eagles – New Offensive coordinator will try to get the passing game to compliment one of the nation’s best running attacks. Lost seven of nine to end ’16.
Louisiana Rajin Cajuns – Defense should be good. What will they get from the QB position? Offensive was 109 in scoring last year.
Georgia State Panthers – Shawn Elliot is new head coach. Offense returns a lot of starters but was 121st in scoring. Defense needs to step up against the run.
New Mexico State Aggies – Larry Rose is a solid running back but they’ll need more playmakers. Will experience help the defense improve from 121st and offense 97th?
South Alabama Jaguars – The line needs to get better to improve 92nd scoring offense. Alternated wins and losses last six games of ’16.
Idaho Vandals – It’s the Vandals last season in FBS. QB Matt Linehan has a lot of experience to keep them competitive but need the defense to step up.
Texas State Bobcats – Lost eight in a row to finish 2-10 in ’16. Team can only go up from last season as the offense was 124th, defense was 125th and 123rd in turnover margin.
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks – RB Derrick Gore transferred from Alabama to carry the offense. The defense has many starters returning from a defense that was 122nd in scoring last season. The offense was 110th last year and turnover margin was 122nd. A lot of room for improvement.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers – jumping to FBS. Can they handle facing a FBS team every week? Several new starters will make it a tough adjustment.
2017 Sun Belt Predictions
|TEAM||W||L||CONF W||CONF L|
|Appalachian State Mountaineers||11||1||8||0|
|Arkansas State Red Wolves||10||2||7||1|
|Georgia Southern Eagles||7||5||5||3|
|Louisiana Ragin Cajuns||5||7||4||4|
|Georgia State Panthers||4||8||3||5|
|New Mexico State Aggies||4||8||3||5|
|South Alabama Jaguars||4||8||3||5|
|Texas State Bobcats||3||9||2||6|
|Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||3||9||1||7|
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