The Sun Belt Conference is the lowest rated FBS conference by most accounts, but there could be some excitement during the 2010 season. The Sun Belt celebrates the 10Th anniversary in football in 2010.
Only 16 programs in the FBS have never been ranked. None of the Sun Belt programs have ever been ranked, since 1959. Could the ceiling be broke in 2010?
Biggest Win by Sun Belt: Louisiana-Monroe had a huge win in 2007 at Alabama, when the Warhawks upset Nick Sabin's Alabama Crimson Tide, 21-14. Alabama has been 27-3, since that game.
Last year, Middle Tennessee (10-3) beat Maryland 32-31 in Week 3 on the road and beat Southern Mississippi 42-32 in the New Orleans Bowl. Troy (9-4) lost 41-44 to Central Michigan in the GMAC. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6) beat Kansas State 17-15 last year in Week 2.
- Minnesota @ Middle Tennessee on 9/2 - The Blue Raiders will host the Golden Gophers on opening day ... The Sporting News is picking this game as a Sun Belt victim!
- Kansas State @ North Texas on 11/27 - The Mean Green will close out Thanksgiving weekend with a visit from a Big 12 program ... Will this be the another victim?
- Bowling Green @ Troy on 9/4 - The Trojans lost 14-31 last year at Bowling Green, so a payback opportunity in opening weekend rematch ...
- Rice @ North Texas on 9/11 - The instate series is tied 1-1, but the '08 game at Rice turned out to be a 20-77 loss for the Mean Green ...
- Louisville @ Arkansas State on 10/2 - The Red Wolves have selected the game with Louisville as their Homecoming game, despite the 13-21 loss @ Louisville last year ...
- Oklahoma State @ Louisiana-Lafayette on 10/8 - The Ragin' Cajuns look to pick up another win vs. Big 12 at home, after last year's win over K-State ...
- Rutgers @ FIU on 9/11 - The Panthers open the 2010 season at home a week later than most as Rutgers pays a visit to Miami, after last year's 15-23 loss in NJ ...
- Indiana @ Western Kentucky on 9/18 - The Hilltoppers lost 13-31 in the '08 opener at IU, but this season's game the Hoosiers come for a visit ...
- Florida Atlantic vs. Michigan State on 9/11 in Detroit - The Owls lost 0-17 @ MSU in '08 ...
- Troy @ Oklahoma State on 9/11 - Third meeting, the Trojans won 41-23 in '07 at home, but followed it up with a 24-55 loss on the road in '08 ...
- Arkansas State @ Indiana on 10/16 - The Red Wolves are 0-5 lifetime vs. Big Ten and gave Iowa a scare last year, so first meeting vs. Hoosiers could be interesting ...
- Florida Atlantic @ Texas on 11/20 - The Owls opened at Texas in '08 and got rolled 10-52, so will a late November game give the Owls a better chance?
- Middle Tennessee - Austin Peay (9/11), @ Memphis (10/18)
- Troy - @ UAB (9/18), @ South Carolina (11/20)
- North Texas - @ Clemson (10/4), @ Army (10/18)
- Florida Atlantic - @ UAB (9/4), @ USF (10/2)
- Arkansas State - @ Auburn (9/4), @ Navy (10/20)
- Louisiana - Lafayette - @ Georgia (9/4), @ Ohio (10/30), @ Mississippi (11/6)
- FIU - @ Texas A&M (9/18), @ Maryland (9/25), @ Pittsburgh (10/2)
- Louisiana-Monroe - @ Arkansas (9/11), SE Louisiana (9/25), @ Auburn (10/2)
- Western Kentucky - @ Nebraska (9/4), @ Kentucky (9/11), @ USF (9/25)
Best chance for a Top 25 Team in 2010 - Middle Tennessee
Top Conference Game - Troy @ Middle Tennessee on 10/5 (Tuesday)
Most dominate program over the last 3, 5 and 9 years of the conference: Troy (best conference records)
Former members of the conference: New Mexico State, Utah State and Idaho
Preseason Sun Belt Coaches Poll
First Place Votes in Parenthesis (Record from '09)
1. Middle Tennessee (7-1) 75 (5)
2. Troy (8-0) 73 (3)
3. Arkansas State (3-5) 53
4. Louisiana-Lafayette (4-4) 49 (1)
5. Florida Atlantic (5-3) 45
6. FIU (3-5) 42
7. Louisiana-Monroe (5-3) 32
8. North Texas (1-7) 27
9. WKU (0-8) 9
Note - Western Kentucky's first official football season was '09. South Alabama hopes to join the football conference in 2013. The Arkansas-Little Rock and the University of Denver don't field a football team.
Preseason All-Sun Belt Team
As voted on by the Sun Belt Head Coaches and Media Representatives
- Dwight Dasher (MT, Sr., QB)
- Alfred Morris (FAU, Jr., RB) and Lance Dunbar (NT, Jr., RB)
- T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Jr., WR) and Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, Sr., WR)
- Ladarius Green (ULL, Jr., TE)
- Derek Newton (ASU, Sr., OL), Brad Serirni (FIU, Sr., OL), Mark Fisher (MT, Sr., OL)
- Esteban Santiago (NT, Sr., OL) and Tyler Clark (Troy, Sr., OL)
- Bryan Hall (ASU, Sr., DL), Troy Evans (ULM, Jr., DL),
- Jamari Lattimore (MT, Sr., DL) and Brandon Akpunku (NT, Jr., DL)
- Demario Davis (ASU, Jr., LB), Grant Fleming (ULL, Sr., LB),
- Craig Robertson (NT, Sr., LB)
- Tavious Polo (FAU, Sr., DB), Anthony Gaitor (FIU, Sr., DB),
- Jeremy Kellem (MT, Sr., DB) and Bryan Willis (Troy, So., DB)
- Alan Gendreau (MT, Jr., Place Kicker)
- Spencer Ortego (ULL, Sr., Punter)
- T.Y. Hilton (FIU, Jr., Return Specialist)
Offensive Player of the Year: Dwight Dasher (MT, Sr., QB)
Defensive Player of the Year: Bryan Hall (ASU, Sr., DL)
Bowl tie-ins for the Sun Belt Conference:
MTSU primed to pass up Troy atop Sun Belt - SI.com
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -As the Sun Belt Conference closes out its first decade of college football, commissioner Wright Waters is calling on its top teams to set ...