Time for Part Deux of the, OK let’s see…well, there’s a lot of parts to these predictions, let’s just say that. And the next conference picked out of the hat is the mighty Sun Belt conference! Maybe I should have ditched the random order. Oh well, too late now. Upward and onward (or something along those lines).
- UL-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns (6-1 Sun Belt, 9-3 overall). The Sun Belt will be ultra-tight this season. Yeah I read that back and it sounds pretty dirty. Anyway, basically it becomes a war of attrition among as many as five teams as to who can limp out of the conference as the champions. The Cajuns have been consistently good over the past few seasons and even though there’s a ton of hype about WKU this year, I will go with Louisiana to get back to the Superdome.
- Arkansas State Red Wolves (5-2 Sun Belt, 9-3 overall). Another consistently good team but with a new coach and the loss of super-QB Ryan Aplin, I can see them dropping the all-important game against UL-Lafayette and dropping the title to the Cajuns.
- Troy Trojans (5-2 Sun Belt, 8-4 overall). Right in the middle of things in the Sun Belt, they will be one of the teams contending all year. What kills them is losses to the two teams above them in this post.
- ULM Warhawks (5-2 Sun Belt, 8-4 overall). Kolton Browning will keep this team in the Sun Belt title conversation. However, they will lose at just the wrong time to cost them the conference title and make it a little more difficult to secure a bowl berth.
- Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (4-3 Sun Belt, 7-5 overall). Petrino is coming! Petrino is coming! Unfortunately for Chopper Bob, the Toppers will be in a dogfight at the top of the conference. I do pick them to upset the Cajuns for Louisiana’s only loss. However, they will lose to the other three top teams and finish well back. This could cost them a bowl berth and cost Fun Bobby a really good BCS job (which he is sure to go to next season).
- Texas State Bobcats (2-5 Sun Belt, 3-9 overall). Once the Cats start winning on a consistent basis, the Sun Belt will be in their rear-view mirror as they are destined for a better conference. The key word being consistent. Dennis Franchione is trying to work some magic down in San Marcos but it will be at least one more season before he sees good results.
- Georgia State Panthers (1-6 Sun Belt, 4-8 overall). People have to remember that this program is only four years old. So they are an FBS toddler. They may be annoying and show more than you think they should but in the end you can push them around for the most part. Trent Miles has to feel lucky to be playing three FCS schools this year as they will need the practice (although for them they might not be blowouts…quite the opposite).
- South Alabama Jaguars (0-7 Sun Belt, 1-11 overall). This might be, arguably, the worst team in FBS this season. They have a long way to go to even be relevant in their own state, let alone the college football world. Better luck next year (or more like five years from now).
No conference championship game for the Sun Belt…yet. Georgia Southern and Appalachian State join next year and it is assumed that Karl Benson will try to add more teams to get a Sun Belt championship game. I would not at all be surprised if any of the top five teams win the Sun Belt and get that trip to the New Orleans bowl. No BCS busters here (although it would be amazing for a SBC team to have a chance). And thank god for the college sports package or otherwise I would see all of zero Sun Belt games on TV this year.