On in the middle of the week at times throughout the season but not as much as the MAC, especially in November. Treated like the third tier of FBS, like the MAC…….I know I had more reasons but I can’t think of them now.
Really that’s where the similarities, for the most part, end. The Sun Belt acts as the conduit to FBS from FCS football (unlike the MAC). Startup programs and long-time FCS powers tend to find a home here in their move up the chain. It has an identity as the true southern Group of Five conference. That is especially true starting next year with Idaho moving back to FCS and the Big Sky and New Mexico State wandering off into the Independent wilderness. The geographic footprint is tightening slightly (Texas State notwithstanding). As I did mention in my previous (relatively popular/controversial) post about Conference USA, geography has to start being considered for these non-Power Five conferences. Without it, the opportunity to be picked off at the next realignment Armageddon becomes much higher.
So let’s get to predictions for one of the two conferences that turns college football watching from somewhat of an obsession to a full-blown addiction (from September through early January: the MAC is the other conference by the way) followed by restrained musings:
|New Mexico State||3||5||4||8|
- Ho hum. Appalachian State and Arkansas State at the top of the standings. And of course they don’t play each other. Oh well, nothing you can do. Can’t have everyone play everyone. If they one day go to divisions, this becomes less of a worry. Don’t know when that will happen though.
- Of course I have Idaho going to a bowl game in their last FBS season. And other not-so-good teams like their almost-always-counterparts from New Mexico State will see their bowl game drought go one more season at least. Saying that, NMSU is improving but I don’t think it will be enough to go to the postseason. This sucks since next year there is almost no chance they go bowling being an Independent.
- There will be a lot of teams just under the ol’ bowl-eligibility line of 6 wins. After the top three of App State, Ark State, and Troy there’s a lot of parity and I only see Idaho rising above that. Inside the conference, only newcomer Coastal Carolina will truly struggle, especially now with head coach Joe Moglia not being on the sidelines for the entire season. I still see them winning three games but it might take a few years for them to find their sea legs so to speak.
- So only four bowl-eligible teams, Bossman? With six bowl tie-ins, I see the other two spots going to Georgia Southern and UL-Lafayette, as long as their students are playing school (thanks Cardale) and doing their job at both ends of the spectrum…you know, that kind-of non-paying job they have? Alright that’s a debate for another time…
- I still wish the Sun Belt champ would get a shot at a P5 school in a bowl game. Otherwise, what’s the big deal with winning the conference? Bragging rights? A banner? Give them something!
OK one more conference to go. And that is our friends in the MAC. After that we have a few more prediction posts and then that’s it, that’s all. From then on out it will be schedules and recaps galore. And the season is only 17 days away. SEVENTEEN! It’s been a long wait but we survived.
NFL preseason action continues tonight on the NFL Network with Houston going up against Carolina. This truly starts the preseason schedule as there will be games aplenty between now and Labour Day weekend. The NFL season commences September 7th.