Sun Belt Conference Football Preview and Rankings

Rick GillispieCorrespondent IIJune 17, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 21:  Members of the Troy Trojans prepare to take the field against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles during the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on December 21, 2008 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Sun Belt is believed by everyone as the weakest of all the conferences in college football.

But everybody it is time to wake up and smell the sunshine. The Sun Belt will not be the worst conference this year (that is the MAC).

With a non-conference schedule that includes Florida X2, Arkansas, Nebraska X3, Iowa, South Carolina, Clemson, Maryland, Mississippi State, Texas, Arizona State, Kentucky, LSU, Kansas St, Alabama X2, Tennessee, and South Florida you are thinking yeah right this is going to be a long season.

Western Kentucky is the worst team in the conference will go 1-3 in non-conference with the win being against Central Arkansas. Hilltoppers will go 1-7 in conference getting a win at home against Louisiana Lafayette. so 2-10 for Western Kentucky

Louisiana-Monroe is going to struggle this year; expect 1-3 non-conference (Texas Southern). The Warhawks will be 2-6 in conference beating FIU and Western Kentucky. A 3-9 record will end the coaching stint of Charlie Weatherbie.

Louisiana-Lafayette lost too much from last year's team to contend. Going 1-3 in non-conference play (Southern University), the Ragin' Cajuns will be 2-6 in conference with wins against the North Texas Mean Green and the Warhawks. A 3-9 overall record will be hard for the Cajuns.

North Texas will improve over last year as coaches son takes over at QB. The Mean Green will go 2-2 non-conference (Ohio, Army) and 2-6 in conference with wins against Western and Louisiana-Monroe. Coach Dodge will be happy with 4-8 and the bright future of his son at QB.

FIU will struggle a little from last years up swing will go 1-3 non conference (Toledo) and 3-5 conference (Western, North Texas, and Louisiana-Lafayette). Coach Cristobal has shown enough that this 4-9 record will not get him fired. He has about two more years to get it going.


The Top Teams in the Sun Belt

Middle Tennessee State is a quality team who will just miss a bowl game this year. 7-5 overall record with loses to Clemson, Maryland, Troy, Mississippi State and FAU. Coach Stockstill has them going in right direction.

Arkansas State will also just miss out on a bowl going 6-6 with loses to Nebraska,Troy, Iowa, Louisville, FAU and MTSU. Coach Roberts might start felling some pressure to get the Red Wolves in a Bowl Game.

Florida Atlantic will be bowling with a 9-3 mark. The Owls will be lead by Senior QB Rusty Smith. The will lose games to Nebraska,South Carolina and Troy. Coach Schnellenberger has the owls believing the can win it all.

Troy is the best team again in the Sun Belt. The are lead by Senior QB Levi Brown who will motor them to a 9-3 record with loses to Bowling Green, Florida and Arkansas. Coach Blakeney might test the waters of big schools and leave Troy behind after this year.