The Sun Belt looks to be very competitive this season. The league has non-conference match-ups that can help legitimize them and we’re calling for the Sun Belt to knock off a Power 5 this year as Appalachian State will take down the Miami Hurricanes. Here are our Sun Belt Football predictions for 2016.
2016 Predicted Records and Standings for Sun Belt Football:
|RANK||TEAM||W||L||CONF W||CONF L|
|54||Georgia Southern Eagles||9||3||8||0|
|46||Appalachian State Mountaineers||10||2||7||1|
|86||Arkansas State Red Wolves||6||6||5||3|
|90||Georgia State Panthers||7||5||5||3|
|104||New Mexico State Aggies||3||9||2||6|
|107||Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns||3||9||2||6|
|117||South Alabama Jaguars||3||9||2||6|
|128||Texas State Bobcats||3||9||2||6|
2016 Sun Belt Football Preview
1. Georgia Southern Eagles – Tyson Summers takes over for the Eagles as head coach and brings back and two experienced QB’s. Summers wants to get a better passing game so look for the ball in the air more so finding a QB to do that hopefully won’t be difficult. The defense is experienced along the line and make the Eagles our favorites to win the Sun Belt in 2016.
2. Appalachian State Mountaineers – A lot of the 11-2 team from 2015, returns for the Mountaineers. A tough non-conference schedule includes at Tennessee to start the season and then a home game against Miami on September 17. The Mountaineers are a team to watch in 2016.
3. Troy Trojans – Troy hasn’t had a winning season since 2010. Coming off a 4-8 2015, the Trojan return double digit starters. The schedule gives them opportunities to reach a bowl game and jump up to the upper echelon of the Sun Belt.
4. Arkansas State Red Wolves – The Red Wolves will be breaking in a new signal caller to the offense that lead the Sun Belt last season. ASU’s eight defensive touchdowns will be hard to duplicate this year.
5. Georgia State Panthers – The defense will be the focus this year. It made big strides from 2014 to 2015 and with nearly all starters back, it’ll again be expected to improve in 2016. If they can get good play from an inexperienced QB, the Panthers could surprise.
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6. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks – The Warhawks have a lot of new faces starting on defense and a new scheme. Matt Viator comes over from McNeese State to take over in Monroe. He had great success there and will look to make adjustments right away and catch some Sun Belt teams by surprise in his first season.
7. New Mexico State Aggies – The Aggies are the most talented they’ve been in years, if not decades. They need to get improved special teams if they want to make the leap to a bowl team. A bowl is probably a year away, but look for NMSU to be improved in 2016 though the record might not show it.
8. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns – The Ragin Canjuns return several starters on both sides of the ball. Will that mean more wins from a group that went 4-8 last season? They bring in a sophomore QB, Jordan Davis, and will need him to hit some plays down the field to keep defenses from consistently stacking the line to stop Elijah McGuire. The defense has to improve. Even with starters back, there could be changes to get new players on the field to improve.
9. South Alabama Jaguars – Teams are going to stuff the box and make the Jags try to beat them passing. Can they do it? The defense is seeing a scheme change. It’s a transition year for the Jags so look for them to take a step back record wise.
10. Idaho Vandals – The Vandals are experienced on offense but will that help them improve from a 4-8 team in 2015? The experience can help win close games they couldn’t close out last season.
11. Texas State Bobcats – The Bobcats took steps back last season going 3-9. Returning only a handful of starters, will they get an improvement? They’re trying to chance the culture and build a program there. We rank the Bobcats 128 out of 128 college football teams entering the 2016 season.
Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview.