College Football 2015: Sun Belt Pre-Season Power Rankings
11. New Mexico State- New Mexico State returns 10 starters on defense this season. Their offense however will need to be figured out quickly. I expect their defense to improve but I don’t see their offense scoring enough points to compete with these teams.
10. Georgia State- Georgia State had a rough year last season winning only one game. Playing Georgia State last season was a guaranteed win. This year they return 16 starters and will try to be more competitive this season.
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9. Idaho- Idaho is coming off a season where they won one game. They have improved a little bit with the fact that they weren’t blown out every game. They have some key pieces retuning on both sides of the ball, so they should improve from last season.
8. Troy- Troy is coming off a rough 3-9 season. They will try to change it up by hiring Neal Brown to be there new head coach. They will have a good quarterback and running back leading their offense. The defense however looks to be a mess; with a new defensive coordinator and a already struggling defense things aren’t looking good for Troy.
7. South Alabama- South Alabama only returns three starters on offense this year. However they have taken on a lot of players from last years UAB’s team. Including quarterback Cody Clements who had a solid year for UAB last season. South Alabama only returns two starters from last years team. If the players from UAB can play well, South Alabama will be able to beat some teams.
6. UL Monroe- UL Monroe returns most of their defensive starters but lose a big chunk of their offensive starters. They have a tough schedule opening schedule playing at Georgia and at Alabama. With a new quarterback I think that their offense will struggle but their defense should be good. Getting bowl eligible will be the goal for this team.
5. Texas State- Their offense has improved over the past couple seasons and it will look to improve again with senior quarterback Tyler Jones and senior running back Robert Lowe. They lost some of their best defenders, which will make it tough on their defense.
4. Arkansas State- Arkansas State finished least year with a 7-6 record. This offense is lead by senior quarterback Fredi Knighten who is a dual threat quarterback. They return their top receivers so their dominant offense should be just as good. Their defense was their weakest part last year. They will need to improve on their defense if they want to have a chance.
3. UL Lafayette- The Ragin Cajuns have had a good couple of seasons. They will have to replace their quarterback, leading receiver and one of their running backs. They will rely heavily on their running back Elijah McGuire who ran for 1264 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. He averaged 7.6 yards a carry. I think the in experience at quarterback will cost them a chance at the conference title.
2. Georgia Southern- Georgia Southern won the Sun Belt Conference last season. They led the nation in rushing yards per game in their triple option offense. If their defense can play as good as they did last year they will be a tough team to beat. Their game at Appalachian State could be the deciding factor.
1. Appalachian State- Appalachian State enters this year as the favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference. They only won seven games last season, but they only lose a couple players from that team. They have the experience they need and a good schedule, I think Appalachian State can win the Conference.
Sun Belt Overview- I think this conference is wide open. I could see Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Lafayette, Arkansas State, and Texas State taking home the title. I think after these 5 the conference falls off. So it will be fun to watch these teams battle it out.