Sunday, August 03, 2008
College Football Projections: Sun Belt
Tonight is the first installment of projections for the 11 major college football conferences. The projections will be posted in order of relevance to the college football landscape and my personal preference.
I will predict the five non-BCS conferences first, followed by independents, then the six BCS conferences.
The first conference I will predict is the Sun Belt Conference. Traditionally known as the dregs of the Football Bowl Subdivision, the Sun Belt is becoming increasingly more competitive. Ask Alabama about the Sun Belt, as the Tide lost at home to Sun Belt middle-of-the-roader Louisiana-Monroe last season. These schools still play a lot of money games against the big boys, but they are becoming more competitive against the rest of the division formerly known as I-A.
Why am I predicting the Sun Belt? Why does it matter? It matters to people in places like Murfreesboro, TN and Monroe, LA. These are athletes playing big-time college football. The winner earns a bid to a bowl game. Ok, it’s the New Orleans Bowl, but Florida Atlantic won that game over Memphis last year. Plus, Troy won 8 games last year but was passed over for a bowl bid after losing the last game of the year to Florida Atlantic. This conference is part of the FBS, so I’ll pick it.
This year, Middle Tennessee looks to be the team to beat. Troy will be good as well, but the schedule favors the Blue Raiders of MTSU. The conference could be decided in the first week of the season, when Troy travels to Murfreesboro to play MTSU. By the way, Troy will be making some serious dough for its athletic department by playing a killer non-conference schedule with trips to LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State. Florida Atlantic will also be decent, as well. These three teams will be the class of the league.
Projected order of finish:
Middle Tennessee 8-4 7-0
Troy 7-5 5-2
Florida Atlantic 7-5 5-2
Louisiana-Monroe 5-7 4-3
North Texas 5-7 3-4
Arkansas State 4-8 3-4
Louisiana-Lafayette 2-10 2-5
Florida International 1-11 0-7
Coming up next: MAC