2016 Sun Belt Football Preview

We take a look at where each team finished in the Sun Belt Conference and what they will be facing next season.

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With just over 100 days until the start of Sun Belt Football, let us take a look at what each team faces in 2016.  The Sun Belt Conference has four automatic bid bowl games.

These games include the R+L Carrier Bowl in New Orleans, the Raycom Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, the Auto Care Cure Bowl in Orlando, and finally the Go Daddy Bowl in Mobile.

1. Arkansas State

Arkansas State comes into the 2016 season ready to defend their undefeated Sun Belt championship.  The Red Wolves come into the season looking forward to their three nationally televised games with the biggest one coming on October 5th, when the Georgia Southern Eagles, and 2014 Sun Belt Champions, come into town to face off.  The Red Wolves ranked first in the Sun Belt at 40 points per game while also being second in total offense averaging 439.2 yards per game.

2. Appalachian State

Appalachian State finished the season 7-1 in the Sun Belt conference and secured their first ever bowl game in the process.  The Mountaineers come into the season with two nationally televised games.  The one that they will have circled on the schedule will be the October 27th matchup, when they head to the “Prettiest Little Stadium in America” to face off against Georgia Southern.  The Mountaineers ranked second in points per game with 36.7, first in total offense with 466.2 yards per game, and first in total defense with 314.5 yards per game.

3. Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern finished off the season with a 6-2 Sun Belt record.  The Eagles would secure their first ever bowl game and win in their first year of eligibility.  Georgia Southern was not far behind in points per game sitting in third with 36.5, led the Sun Belt in rushing offense averaging 363.0 yards per game and put 54 touchdowns on the stats sheet.  The Eagles defense was phenomenal and had great senior leadership posting a 338.1 yards per game.  The Eagles will be one of two teams to play in three nationally televised games this season.  They will travel to Arkansas State and host Appalachian State before hosting UL Lafayette on homecoming.

4. Georgia State

Georgia State finished the season with a 5-3 Sun Belt record and was the final team in the standings to finish above .500 in the Conference.  The Panthers will have one huge televised game against the defending conference champions Arkansas State on November 3rd in the Atlanta Dome.  Georgia State was seventh in the Sun Belt at scoring points only averaging 26.9 points per game.  They finished fourth in total offense putting up 432.8 yards per game and gave up the fourth least at 405.6 yards per game.

5. South Alabama

South Alabama finished the season with a 3-5 record in the Sun Belt.  The Jaguars were one of seven teams that did not finish over .500 in the Sun Belt last season.  South Alabama struggled to score finishing in 10th place in the Sun Belt averaging 25.0 points per game.  They also finished ninth in total team offense gaining 360.2 yards per game and allowing 416.0 yards per game last season.  The Jaguars will have one game on ESPNU on October 20th against Troy.

6. Idaho

Idaho finished the Sun Belt Conference with a 3-5 record.  The Vandals would finish the year in fourth for scoring with 30.3 points per game.  They would finish in fifth place in total offense with 428.4 yards per game while allowing the ninth most 484.9 yards a game.  The Vandals will not be nationally televised this season after finishing the season with a record of 4-8.

7. Troy

Troy finished the season with a 3-5 record in the Sun Belt.  The Trojans were ranked sixth in scoring offense putting up 27.9 points per game.  The Trojans were unable to gain yards last season finishing 10th in the conference with 359.9 yards per game while ranking third in total yards given up with 391.2 per game.  Troy will have three televised this season with two of them being nationally televised on ESPNU and their game against Clemson being broadcasted on the ACC Network.  The two ESPNU games will be against South Alabama and defending Sun Belt Champions Arkansas State.

8. UL Lafayette

UL Lafayette finished their Sun Belt season with a 3-5 record.  The Ragin’ Cajuns ranked ninth in points scored with 26.4 per game.  They also ranked eighth in total offense per game with 380.4 yards per game while allowing the seventh most in the Sun Belt at 420.8 yards per game.  The Ragin’ Cajuns will have two nationally televised games in 2016 with the first on October 12th when they host the visiting Appalachian State Mountaineers.  The second and final televised game will be on November 10th when they head to Statesboro to face off against the Georgia Southern Eagles.

9. New Mexico State

New Mexico State finished 3-5 in the Sun Belt Conference.  The Aggies were in the middle of the pack for scoring threats in the Sun Belt ranking fifth with 28.6 points per game.  They also ranked third in total offense with 433.3 yards per game, but ranked 10th in yards allowed giving up 522.2 yards per game.  The Aggies do not have any nationally televised games this season after a disappointing 3-9 finish to the season.

10. Texas State

Texas State finished the 2015 season with a 2-6 record in the Sun Belt.  The Bobcats ranked eighth in points scored averaging 26.9 points per game.  Their offensive totals ranked seventh in the Sun Belt with 415.6 yards per game, but they were the worst team in the Conference allowing 522.7 yards per game.  Texas State will not be featured on any nationally televised games in 2016 after finishing the year with a 3-9 record.

11. UL Monroe

UL Monroe finished in last place in the Sun Belt with a 1-7 record in 2015.  The Warhawks ranked last in points scored averaging 21.0 per game.  They ranked last in yards gained with 310.8 yards per game and ranked eighth for yards allowed with 422.8 per game.  UL Monroe will not be on the schedule for nationally televised games after finishing the season with a 2-11 record

Author Details
A student at Georgia Southern University who is passionate about sports all sports and statistics. If my team is getting beat, chances are you will want to stay as far away from me as possible because I will not be in the mood. Otherwise come hang out and enjoy the love of sports because, lets face it who doesn’t love sports?
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A student at Georgia Southern University who is passionate about sports all sports and statistics. If my team is getting beat, chances are you will want to stay as far away from me as possible because I will not be in the mood. Otherwise come hang out and enjoy the love of sports because, lets face it who doesn’t love sports?

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