The 2018 Sun Belt Preview with the Game of the Year, Players of the Year, top pro prospects, big-time players who deserve a bigger spotlight, and more.
Preview 2018: Sun Belt Preview
The Sun Belt has now turned into a lean, mean, conference machine.
There’s no more New Mexico State – even though it’s gone just as it got interesting – and Idaho has been booted, creating a ten-team league with two divisions and a championship game.
If nothing else, now the best teams in the conference are going to play each other at some point, which hasn’t always been the case over the years.
But the whole league if loaded with interesting storylines and teams that can look into the season with hopes of improving.
Coastal Carolina gets back head coach Joe Moglia after being out all of last year with a medical issue. Now the Chanticleers get a shot to see what they can do with their main man at the helm.
Georgia Southern has its coach in place after going through a change midway through last season, Texas State has spent the last few years building things up, and South Alabama’s coaching change should make an instant impact.
Georgia State is a proven bowl program now, ULM has one of the Group of Five’s most exciting offenses, and Louisiana is good enough to bounce back into a bowl program with just a little bit of defense.
But really, the excitement is over the top teams. Appalachian State and Troy didn’t play last season, and now they’re in the same division. ASU missed the other ASU – Arkansas State – too, and now there’s no way the two can avoid each other if they turn out to win their respective divisions.
Sun Belt Team That Will Surprise
South Alabama Jaguars
There’s just enough in place on defense for new head coach Steve Campbell to work with in what should be a bounce back season. The Jaguars are only a year removed from going bowling, and if they can find any semblance of an offense, they should be deep in the hunt for a 13th game.
Sun Belt Team That Will Disappoint
This is going to be considered the Sun Belt’s sleeper team in the race with QB Caleb Evans leading a devastating offense that should put up massive numbers in shootout after shootout. However, even with a good linebacking corps in place, the defense won’t be able to do its part – again. With five road games in a seven game stretch, and dates at Southern Miss and Texas A&M early on, going bowling will be tough.