Monday, August 06, 2007

2007 Sun Belt Preview

There is both a major advantage and a major disadvantage to writing about the Sun Belt Conference; the major advantage being that you don’t know shit about the conference, and the major disadvantage being that neither do I. With that said, let’s see what we can bullshit each other into believing makes sense.

Order of Finish

  1. Troy Trojans 9-3 (7-0)
  2. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 8-4 (6-1)
  3. Arkansas State Indians 7-5 (5-2)
  4. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 5-7 (4-3)
  5. North Texas Mean Green 3-9 (2-5)
  6. Florida Atlantic Owls 2-11 (2-5)
  7. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 2-10 (1-6)
  8. Florida International Golden Panthers 1-11 (1-6)

Just to give you an idea of how little I know what I’m talking about, I picked Troy based on two things: they’re usually tough in NCAA Football for the PS2, and Demarcus Ware was a first round pick out of there. Oh, and they are widely considered the best team out of this pile of junk. Middle Tennessee State comes in a close second (I have them being undefeated in the conference coming into the season finale at Troy that will have no one watching) based solely on the fact that former Cleveland Brown playoff stud Kelly Holcomb went there.

Bowl Bound Teams

The Sun Belt champion gets an automatic bid in the New Orleans Bowl, so book Troy a horse (Trojan, perhaps?) to the Superdome. Middle Tennessee can probably get an at-large bid, while Arkansas State may get screwed (and I use the term loosely considering that the Sun Belt should thank the stars it gets one bowl bid).

Players To Watch

  1. Omar Haugabook, QB, Troy, SR
  2. Calvin Dawson, RB, La. Monroe, SR
  3. Tyrell Johnson, S, Arkansas State, SR
  4. Damon Nickson, S, Middle Tennessee, SR
  5. Tyrell Fenroy, RB, La. Lafayette, JR

Haughabook is the pre-season Player of the Year, and is coming off an above-average 21-17 TD-INT ratio, so watch out for him. Dawson ran for 1210 yards and 11 TD last season, while fellow Louisiana student athlete Fenroy was right there with him, posting 1197 yards and 10 TD. Johnson is the pre-season Defensive Player of the Year, while Nickson is also a safety (and has a nifty spelling to his last name).

(Media All-Conference Picks here.)

Best Chance For An Upset

Troy over Oklahoma State, September 14. And that’s about it for upset talk. I guess Troy could play tough at an Arkansas team dealing with a lot of upheaval, but you have to figure that Darren McFadden and the opening day Razorback crowd will be too much. So the Cowboys are the conference’s only hope of beating one of the big boys.

World Beaters (Toughest Schedule)

Troy. As mentioned above, the Trojans open at Arkansas, then go to Florida and host Oklahoma State before beginning conference play. As if that gauntlet wasn’t enough, a November 3 trip to Georgia interrupts the Trojans conference schedule and breaks what could have been a season-ending eight game winning streak. Troy’s non-conference schedule also include D I-AA team Western Kentucky, but so does half the rest of the league (the Hilltoppers will be joining the conference in 2009). (By the way, Florida should be ashamed. They host not only Troy but Florida Atlantic as well. Way to defend your crown, you pussy, faggot-ass, crocodile-wannabes.)

Sucka Ducks (Weakest Schedule)

Louisiana-Lafayette. The Rajin’ Cajuns non-conference schedule opens at South Carolina, hosts Ohio, and travels to UCF. Not exactly the gauntlet Troy faces, while also excluding Western Kentucky. I mean, if you’re going to schedule a patsy lineup, you should at least include the patsy that will be joining your league someday. (By the way, the Cajuns will not even come close to beating any of these so-called “patsies.”)

Best Mascot

Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns. C’mon. That one was easy. (Troy should get points taken away for their painfully obvious selection of Trojans.)

How Bad Is The Sun Belt?

Pretty bad. Over the past five years, not one program has a cumulative record above .500. Only one team has repeated as conference champ (North Texas, 2001-04, when they were running wild with Patrick Cobbs & Jamario Thomas), no team has posted double-digit wins, and La.-Monroe shared the conference title in 2005 with a 5-6 record. Only Troy in 2004 has defeated a ranked opponent (vs. Missouri, 24-14), and only North Texas has won a bowl game (vs. Cincinnati, 24-19, 2002 New Orleans Bowl). [Edit: Troy beat Rice 41-17 in last year's New Orleans Bowl. Thanks Timothy the commenter.] The conference is young, however, and hopefully the schools are putting the money they earn by playing all of these road games against BCS schools to good use (by which I mean back into the football program, not into academics hahahaha).


  1. I like the way you used "pile of Junk"! I am pretty impressed with what you just threw up on this blog! Here are my predictions!

    Louisiana-Lafayette 8-4 6-1
    Troy 7-5 6-1
    FAU 6-6 5-2
    Louisiana-Monroe 6-6 4-3
    Middle Tennessee 5-7 3-4
    Arkansas State 4-8 3-4
    North Texas 2-10 1-6
    FIU 1-11 0-7

  2. Troy murdered Rice in the New Orleans Bowl last season 41-17. It's not only UNT who has won a bowl game.

  3. Good catch, Tim. I got my info from the Top 30 Moments of the Sun Belt (
    4100&ATCLID=290571) on their official site. I should have checked the date, though (June 5, 2006). Corrections have been made.