The Pi-Rate Ratings

August 10, 2019

2019 Sun Belt Conference Football Preview

The Sun Belt Conference is a league on the rise, and in 2019, it has moved past two other leagues to third best in the Group of 5, at least according to our preseason PiRate Ratings.

Recent success has led to coach poaching by Power 5 schools, much like the poaching of MAC schools for decades by the Big Ten.  The East Division breaks in new coaches at the top two programs, as Appalachian State’s former coach Scott Satterfield moved on to Louisville, and Troy’s former coach Neal Brown took the West Virginia job.

It’s the personnel that returns in droves this year in the SBC.  Most of the contenders will be as talented or better than 2018, and the few teams that look a tad weaker were already the also-rans of the league.

Here’s how the Sun Belt Conference Media voted in their preseason poll.


Sun Belt Conference Media Poll
East Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Appalachian St. 7 46
2 Troy 1 39
3 Georgia Southern 2 35
4 Coastal Carolina 0 17
5 Georgia St. 0 13


West Division
Pos. Team 1st Place Votes Overall Votes
1 Louisiana 6 46
2 Arkansas St. 3 42
3 Louisiana-Monroe 0 27
4 South Alabama 1 19
5 Texas St. 0 16


Championship Game Winner
Appalachian St.


The preseason PiRate Ratings differ minimally from the media poll.


Preseason PiRate Ratings–Sun Belt Conference
East Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Appalachian St. 105.2 103.3 104.3 104.3
Georgia Southern 98.3 98.0 97.7 98.0
Troy 95.1 95.5 94.1 94.9
Georgia St. 84.2 85.6 83.2 84.3
Coastal Carolina 81.2 82.6 80.0 81.3


West Division
Team PiRate Mean Bias Average
Louisiana 92.1 92.9 91.0 92.0
Arkansas St. 91.2 91.7 91.1 91.3
Louisiana-Monroe 89.0 89.9 89.0 89.3
Texas St. 83.6 84.9 83.6 84.0
South Alabama 74.8 78.0 73.6 75.5


SBC Averages 89.5 90.2 88.8 89.5

Note:  These preseason ratings are accurate as of August 1, 2019, and subject to change before the first week of the season due to personnel changes prior to the first week of the season.


Predicted Won-Loss Records

The PiRate Ratings were not created to forecast won-loss records like other ratings might attempt.  Our ratings are valid for just the next game on the teams’ schedules, and we have pre-set adjustments built into our ratings on many teams.  For instance, if a team has exceptional starting talent but little depth, their rating has a pre-set reduction per week of the season, so that even if they win or lose a game by the exact expected margin, they will lose some of their power rating due to their depth issues.

If a team has exceptional, but inexperienced talent, their rating will have a pre-set addition per week of the season, and even if their performance may be exactly what was expected, their power rating will rise.

What you see in these predicted won-loss records are our opinion and not calculated from the ratings.  These are the estimated records based on a vote, with the Captain having 50% of the vote and the crew having the other 50%.  The Captain then rounded up or down those teams picked to have an average wins that were not whole numbers.


PiRate Members Predicted Won-Loss
East Division
Pos Team Sun Belt Overall
1 Appalachian St. 7-1 10-3*
2 Troy 6-2 9-3
3 Georgia Southern 6-2 8-4
4 Coastal Carolina 2-6 4-8
5 Georgia St. 1-7 2-10


West Division
Pos Team Sun Belt Overall
1 Arkansas St. 6-2 7-6
2 Louisiana 6-2 8-4
3 UL-Monroe 4-4 5-7
4 Texas St. 2-6 3-9
5 South Alabama 0-8 1-11
* Appalachian St. Picked to Win SBC Championship Game


Bowl Predictions
New Orleans Appalachian St.
Dollar General Arkansas St.
Camellia Louisiana
Cure Georgia Southern
Arizona Troy


Coaches That Could Move To Power 5 Conferences

Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern

Billy Napier, Louisiana


Coaches On The Hot Seat

Shawn Elliott, Georgia St.


Top Quarterbacks

Shai Werts, Georgia Southern

Zac Thomas, Appalachian St.

Caleb Evans, Louisiana-Monroe


Best Offense

Appalachian St.




Best Defense

Georgia Southern


Appalachian St.


Coming Tomorrow–The Mountain West Conference

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