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Sun Belt Football Preview 2015
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Sun Belt Football Predictions 2015
#1 Appalachian State
Forecast: Marcus Cox is that dude at running back. Cox ran for over 1,400 yards and scored 19 rushing touchdowns. He is surrounded by nine other returning starters. Taylor Lamb had a good freshman year and should be even better with his receiving core staying intact. The Mountaineers defense was impressive last season and should be the best in the Sun belt this season with 10 starts back and great depth. Ronald Blair is the top defensive end in the Sun Belt and should see his sack totals increase this season. The Mountaineers are bowl eligible and you can lock them in for a bid. They get Georgia Southern and Arkansas State at home which works in their favor.
#2 Arkansas State
Forecast: If you are looking for the best passing attack in the conference look no further than Jonesboro, AR. the top quarterback in the conference leads the way, Fredi Knighten. His top six receivers are back to form the best core in the Belt and Micheal Gordon is a great option to have at running back. On the defensive side the Red Wolves are hoping that an influx of transfers can make a difference in what was an OK defense last season. The secondary has the potential to be great especially from the safety spot where they have Humes, Girley and Hunter back. Blake Anderson has the talent to win this season and get the Sun Belt title.
#3 Georgia Southern
Forecast: The big thing for the Eagles will be, how could will the line be? They lose all but one starter from last years top rushing attack in the country. QB Kevin Ellison and RB Matt Breida are back which bodes well for the running game. Rumors are the passing attack will be featured more but that is a wait and see approach. The depth is there on defense. Last season the Eagles held eight teams under thirty points. They nearly knocked off NC State and Georgia Tech last season so do not be surprised if the Eagles hang with West Virginia.
Forecast: Terrance Broadway is gone but that doesn't mean the Ragin' Cajuns fall off the map. Running back Elijah McGuire is destine to have a monster year. He is also a top threat at catching the ball out of the back field. Linebacker is the strong point on defense, the line however, is a concern. Linebacker Dominque Tovell is the best player on the defense. Louisiana has proven that they can win on a consistent basis. This season they should be between 4-6 and possibly get a bowl bid.
#5 Texas State
Forecast: Quarterback Tyler Jones will be in control on how far the Bobcats will go. He had 22 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. The defense needs to continue to improve and with five starters they could. David Mayo is gone who after being the Sun Belt's defensive player of the year. Texas State went 5-3 in Sun Belt play and five wins might be the max this year.
Forecast: For ULM it all starts with the defense. They may have the best secondary and linebacker. The secondary gave up 189.9 yards per game which ranked 14th in the nation. Outside of Rashon Ceaser the Warhawks don't have much going on offense. ULM has a tough schedule ahead of them and they play 13 games this season.
#7 South Alabama
Forecast: South Alabama's offense looks like UAB from last year with several UAB key players transferring in. D.J. Vinson could make a big difference for the Jags. The defense only brings back two starters and they too have transfers coming in who should contribute. Defensive end Jimmie Gipson is going to have a big season this year after showing flashes last year. With the amount of players they have lost the past two years it won't be easy to reload they will have to rebuild.
Forecast: Remember when Troy was always at the top of the Sun Belt? Those days are over, for now. To see a Troy offense only put up 21.8 points per game last season is sad. With eight guys back they should be able to get the offense headed in the right direction and Brandon Silvers should develop into one of the better quarterbacks in the league heading into next season. The defense wasn't much better and with a weak linebacking core they won't be much better this season.
#9 New Mexico State
Forecast: The defense couldn't stop the run, at all. Until they do that, they won't win more then four games and that could be a stretch. The offense really wasn't too bad for the Aggies. Running Larry Rose is back and he should continue to be a big time player at New Mexico State after his huge freshman season. Turnover margin was at -13 last season that needs to change too.
Forecast: The passing attack had it's moments but they just don't score enough points to win games. They have Sophomore QB Matt Linehan back and if he starts to play the Vandals will feel good heading into 2016. Similar to New Mexico State can't stop the run and teams know that. Kaden Elliss could emerge as the guy at linebacker. Idaho should get one maybe two wins in the Kibbie Dome.
#11 Georgia State
Forecast: For Georgia State it is really simple, beat Charlotte and go from there! The Panthers do not have an FBS win under their best and they have a very good chance week one vs. Charlotte.
Sun Belt Offensive POY
Marcus Cox, RB, Appalachian State
Sun Belt Defensive POY
Hunter Kissinger, LB, ULM
Sun Belt Coach of the Year
Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State