The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 10, 2015

2015 Sun Belt Conference Preview

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:37 pm

Today, the PiRate Ratings begins previewing the FBS conferences for 2015-16 with the Sun Belt Conference preview.  While this league has perennially been the weakest of the FBS conferences, the gap is closing thanks to a couple of new teams entering the league in recent years.

Last year, Georgia Southern became the first team since Arkansas St. in 2011 to run the table.  The Eagles were not bowl eligible in 2014, but they are now, and they figure to be in the hunt in the conference race.

Another team that can make a bowl trip for the first time this year is Appalachian St.  The Mountaineers, like Georgia Southern, have won a national championship, albeit in the FCS.  However, Appy State is most noted for upsetting Michigan at “The Big House.”

Arkansas St. had five different head coaches in the last five seasons, but the Red Wolves finally retained a coach in Blake Anderson.  Anderson’s Wolves should remain in contention in the SBC race.

Dennis Franchione is primed to take Texas St. to its first bowl after failing to garner a bid last year even though they were 7-5.

UL-Lafayette is looking to make it five consecutive trips to the New Orleans Bowl.  Chances are good the Ragin’ Cajuns will be bowl eligible again.

UL-Monroe and South Alabama should come up a bit short this year, while New Mexico St. and Georgia St. figure to improve a little in the standings.

Idaho and Troy figure to fight it out to avoid the cellar.

Here is the Sun Belt Conference Media Poll For 2015

Sun Belt Conference Media Poll
Pos. Team 1st Place Total
 1 Georgia Southern 6 110
 2 UL-Lafayette 3 108
 3 Arkansas St. 1 96
 4 Appalachian St. 0 82
 5 Texas St. 0 78
 6 South Alabama 1 68
 7 UL-Monroe 0 59
 8 Troy 0 39
 9 Georgia St. 0 32
10 N. Mexico St. 0 30
11 Idaho 0 24

Here is the Preseason All-Conference team as voted by the media.

Sun Belt Conference Preseason All-Conference Team
Offense Player School
Quarterback Fredi Knighten Arkansas St.
Running Back Matt Breida Georgia Southern
Running Back Elijah McGuire UL-Lafayette
Wide Receiver J. D. McKissic Arkansas St.
Wide Receiver Donovan Harden Georgia St.
Wide Receiver Rashon Ceaser UL-Monroe
Tight End Joel Ruiz Georgia St.
Offensive Line Jesse Chapman Appalachian St.
Offensive Line Darien Foreman Georgia Southern
Offensive Line Chris May South Alabama
Offensive Line Joseph Scelfo South Alabama
Offensive Line Adrian Bellard Texas St.
Defense Player School
Defensive Line Ronald Blair Appalachian St.
Defensive Line Ja’Von Rolland-Jones Arkansas St.
Defensive Line Chris Stone Arkansas St.
Defensive Line Gerrand Johnson UL-Monroe
Linebacker John Law Appalachian St.
Linebacker Xavier Woodson Arkansas St.
Linebacker Joseph Peterson Georgia St.
Defensive Back Doug Middleton Appalachian St.
Defensive Back Mitch Lane UL-Monroe
Defensive Back David Mims II Texas St.
Defensive Back Montres Kitchens Troy
Special Teams Player School
Kicker Aleem Sumanon South Alabama
Punter Austin Rehkow Idaho
Return Specialist Blaise Taylor Arkansas St.

Here are the Preseason PiRate Ratings for the Sun Belt Conference

Sunbelt Conference
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 91.9 95.1 94.0 93.7
Georgia Southern 91.4 93.9 91.5 92.3
Arkansas St. 88.5 89.1 89.2 88.9
Texas St. 84.1 89.1 84.4 85.9
UL-Lafayette 83.4 88.1 83.6 85.0
UL-Monroe 81.3 78.1 80.8 80.1
South Alabama 76.6 85.3 78.4 80.1
Georgia St. 75.0 73.1 74.1 74.1
New Mexico St. 74.7 76.1 75.0 75.3
Troy 71.2 70.1 71.8 71.0
Idaho 70.8 81.1 72.7 74.9
Sun Belt Averages 80.8 83.6 81.4 81.9

Here are the predicted regular season records for the Sun Belt Conference

PiRate Ratings Predicted Records
Pos Team Conf. Overall Bowl
1 Appalachian St. 7-1 10-2 GoDaddy
2 UL-Lafayette 6-2 8-4 New Orleans
3 Texas St. 6-2 8-4 Camelia
4 Georgia Southern 6-2 7-5 At-Large
5 Arkansas St. 6-2 7-5 Cure
6 UL-Monroe 4-4 5-8 None
7 South Alabama 3-5 4-8 None
8 N. Mexico St. 3-5 3-9 None
9 Georgia St. 1-7 3-9 None
10 Idaho 1-7 2-10 None
11 Troy 1-7 2-10 None
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