Preview 2018: Sun Belt Team Rankings

Preview 2018: Sun Belt Team Rankings

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Sun Belt Team Rankings


Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Sun Belt season with the team rankings.


Preview 2018: Sun Belt Team Rankings

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This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.

Please scroll down for the Sun Belt rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 10.

Sun Belt Rankings: East

1. Appalachian State

Preview 2018: The Sun Belt Star – Again

Should be ranked here because … the cornerbacks – Clifton Duck and Tae Hayes – will be productive among the most Group of Five teams. Jalin Moore and the running game will take over for the best offense in the conference.

Should be ranked lower because … losing veteran QB Taylor Lamb hurts. He was the steady leader for the offense, and not having LB Eric Boggs is just as painful a loss for the defensive side.

2. Troy

Preview 2018: Just Win Every Game

Should be ranked higher because … the secondary is among the best in the league, and the defensive front will be more than fine. No, the offense won’t be quite as good, but the receiving corps is still going to be outstanding.

Should be ranked lower because … QB Brandon Silvers and the main parts of the offensive backfield have to be replaced. The line might be great, but the O should take a dip.

3. Georgia Southern

Preview 2018: A Change Did Them Good

Should be ranked higher because … the program has its coach in place. Chad Lunsford knows how to get the option moving, and it’s about to rock – even with a few tweaks to do more with the passing game. The backfield is excellent.

Should be ranked lower because … there isn’t much of a receiving corps or a passing game to complement the ground attack, and on the other side, the run defense is iffy. The ends will be good, but the linebacking corps will be just okay.

4. Georgia State

Preview 2018: Growing Sun Belt Power

Should be ranked higher because … WR Penny Hart might just be the league’s best player. The linebackers are experienced and solid, the D overall will be good, and thanks to Hart, the receiving corps will be great.

Should be ranked lower because … the offense that sputtered and struggled last year won’t be appreciably better. There won’t be enough of a running game to take advantage of what the defense will do.

5. Coastal Carolina

Preview 2018: Now The Era Can Begin

Should be ranked higher because … Joe Moglia is back. The Chanticleers have their head coach again after he missed last season – that’s about to make a huge difference. The lines have the upside to surprise, and Moglia gets the most out of everything he coaches.

Should be ranked here because … there’s an overhaul being done in too many key spots. The secondary will be a work in progress, the quarterback situation is iffy, and the lines are mediocre.

Sun Belt Rankings: West

This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.

Please scroll down for the Sun Belt Conference rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 10.

1. Arkansas State

Preview 2018: Sun Belt Title Or Bust

Should be ranked here because … it’s by far the best team in the division. Justice Hansen and the passing game will hang up points in bunches, but the improvements on defense should make the biggest difference. The secondary has tremendous safety talent.

Should be ranked lower because … the linebackers are just okay, and the O line isn’t special. At least at the moment, though, there’s no one in the division who can hang on both sides of the ball unless it’s a fluky day.

2. ULM

Preview 2018: It’s Fun, But Can It Win?

Should be ranked higher because … it’s going to be a fun ride. The offense has the upside to keep up in just about any shootout thanks to QB Caleb Evans and one of the league’s best receiving corps. Get ready for plenty of wild battles, because …

Should be ranked lower because … the defense still isn’t going to stop anyone. The line is going to get powered over and the secondary will be a rumor. If the O isn’t blasting away, forget it.

3. South Alabama

Preview 2018: New Coach, New Attitude

Should be ranked higher because … the program didn’t need all that much to tweak things for the better, and that’s where new head coach Steve Campbell should come in. The linebackers are terrific, and the secondary will be a plus.

Should be ranked lower because … the offensive pop won’t be there, especially from the running game. Neither line is particularly impressive – the offensive front isn’t going to do much pounding.

4. Texas State

Preview 2018: Enough Rebuilding … Win

Should be ranked higher because … the talent level has been building for a while, and the program is overdue to start coming through. The linebacking corps is one of the best in the Sun Belt – at least the West – and there are options on the O line to be better.

Should be ranked lower because … it still should take a bit to go from awful to mediocre. Both lines are mediocre, and the skill guys aren’t nearly up to snuff yet to hang around with the league’s better teams in shootouts.

5. Louisiana

Preview 2018: Next Superstar Head Coach

Should be ranked higher because … the Ragin’ Cajuns got the head coach. Billy Napier might need a little while to get everything together, but he’s a rising star. There’s a shot the offense gets hot early on thanks to a good group of receivers.

Should be ranked here because … the defensive front and secondary that were so lousy last year will need a while to get it all together. The lines just aren’t good enough, and the special teams need some work.

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