Sun Belt: Ragin' Cajuns Look to Finish What They Started
The Sun Belt Conference has no championship game, so every regular season result means that much more.
Coming off a co-championship last season, Louisiana-Lafayette returns 15 starters and is the front runner this season to win the title outright.
The Ragin' Cajuns had the overall championship in their grasp last year but lost their last two games and was forced to share the title with Arkansas State. This season, Terrance Broadway returns at quarterback and the defense is loaded with letter winners.
South Alabama and Troy were both 6-6 last season and both teams will look to have winning seasons and get bowl invites. The Jaguars have improved quickly under new coach Joey Jones and they will feature Brandon Bridge throwing to tight end Wes Saxton. The Trojans are looking for a quarterback to team up with running backs Brandon Burks and Jordan Chunn.
Louisiana-Monroe ruined their rival's season last year and finished 6-6. The Warhawks lost quarterback Kolton Browning to graduation but return running backs Tyler Cain and Centarius Donald. Their defense is capable of keeping them in games and they will have to as they transisition to a new quarterback. ULM is still trying to rekindle memories of one of its more notable upsets, two years ago against Arkansas:
Somehow, New Mexico State and Idaho are in this conference and both teams will struggle. The Aggies were 2-10 last year with one of those wins coming against Idaho. Quarterback King Davis hopes to at least double their win output this season. Idaho finished 1-11 playing a tough schedule as an indpendent in 2013 and the Vandals offense will operate behind a veteran offensive line and Scott Linehan's son Matt now vying for the starting QB job.
Georgia Southern and Applachian State have joined the league after playing each other for years in the FCS and the Southern Conference. Both teams are not eligible for bowl games this season but could cause havoc in the league as they return multiple starters from last year.
The Mountaineers' season highlight could come this weekend, when they get an encore performance at the Big House. They're 35-point underdogs. Can lightning strike twice?
In Gainesville. Against Florida. Yowza! Their highlight could be the pre-game meal. Or cashing the $975,000 whuppin' check.
The same cannot be said about Georgia State as the Panthers finished 0-12 last year under first year coach Trent Miles. This season, GSU looks to get in the win column led by quarterbacks Ronnie Bell and Nick Arbucker.
UL Lafayette is determined to win the title outright this year after 2013's late season swoon. The Ragin' Cajuns do play Arkansas State at home but have a tough strech late at ULM, home against Applachian State, and at Troy. Those three games should tell the tale of the Sun Belt this seson.