2016 Sun Belt Conference Season Football Preview
Looking for Sun Belt Conference 2016 predictions? Say what you want about the quality of the league but the Sun Belt can be entertaining and if you look at the odds there are at least a few teams that could compete for the title this season. Another interesting story is the fact that Idaho is dropping down to FCS after this season. They never made much sense in this league geographically and no other was interested in bringing them on board.
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They have never been that strong of a program but if the future odds are any indicator they are not going to be that terrible this season.
Some call this league the Fun Belt and there will be some reasons throughout the year to pay attention.
The following is a look at the top contenders in Sun Belt and their odds to win the league title.
Sun Belt Conference 2016 Odds: Appalachian State Mountaineers +225
The Mountaineers claim to fame may still be that win over Michigan but in two years in the Sun Belt they are 18-7 including 11-2 last season.
They narrowly lost the title because they lost at home to Arkansas State so it is interesting that the two programs are the top contenders heading into the season – they do not meet this season.
The teams at the top are close but one thing that could put the Mountaineers over the top is the return of Taylor Lamb at QB. He was third team all conference last year and is the top returning QB in the league.
That puts the offense in good shape and with nine returning starters to the best defense in the league a year Appalachian State might be undervalued as far as being tied for the lowest odds to win the league this season.
Sun Belt Conference 2016 Odds: Arkansas State Red Wolves +225
The coaches seem to come and go but the Red Wolves just keep on winning. Last season was the first since 2010 that Arkansas State had the same coach in back to back seasons and it paid off with an 8-0 SBC record.
They were the top scoring team in the conference, a feat that will be hard to repeat while replacing their top quarterback, running back and receiver. At least they have two all conference offensive linemen returning.
The defense was middle of the pack last season but it could be better this season with seven starters returning including four who earned all conference honours a year ago.
The key to the season will be finding the right replacement to departed Fredi Knighten at QB.
If they can get that right there is no reason they can’t repeat as SBC champs but that question mark makes me think there should be more separation in the odds between them and Appalachian State.
Sun Belt Conference 2016 Odds: Georgia Southern Eagles +300
The Eagles have transitioned to FBS pretty smoothly, two seasons and two nine win campaigns.
Last year they had the second best offense and defense in league play and they are definitely a threat to the teams above, especially because they play both, visiting Arkansas State but getting to host App State.
Coach Willie Fritz is gone though and transition can be difficult.
The Eagles are one of the top running teams in the country and top back from a year ago Matt Breida is in tow to lead the way again. So is QB Kevin Ellison, among seven returning starters to the attack should be just as lethal as it was a year ago.
That option style when run well can still dominate and it will be interesting when the Eagles take on Georgia Tech later in the season.
I like Georgia Southern and what they have coming back more than Arkansas State.
Sun Belt Conference 2016 Odds: Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns +800
For four seasons the Cajuns were the most consistent program in America.
When coach Mark Hudspeth took over he immediately led the team to four straight 9-4 season, each culminating in a Louisiana Bowl win.
Unfortunately things fell apart last season as they dropped to a 4-8 season.
The fall was steep but given the previous 4 seasons there is no reason to think they can’t rebound and be a contender this fall.
Like many programs in America their success will hinge on what they can do at QB.
Soph Jordan Davis looks to be the man there and he has a lot of returning talent, including RB Elijah McGuire, who has been a star since arriving at Lafayette.
Three linemen return so the offense should be good.
7 Starters return on defense so that unit should be solid as well.
The schedule as App State and Ark State visiting and a trip to Georgia Southern. Those two home games makes this team a factor in the race.
Sun Belt Conference 2016 Odds
- Appalachian State +225
- Arkansas State +225
- Georgia Southern +300
- Louisiana-Lafayette +800
- Troy +1000
- Georgia State +1400
- Idaho +2500
- South Alabama +2500
- New Mexico State +3000
- Louisiana-Monroe +4000
- Texas State +10000
What do you think about our Sun Belt Conference 2016 Predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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