CSJ Conference Preview: Sun Belt Conference

College Sports Journal announces their 2018 Fearless Prediction for the Order of finish of the Sun Belt Conference, the second of our Group of Five Conference previews.

It has been addition by subtraction for the Sun Belt Conference as two teams are out and the league now will be the last of the FBS conferences to host a championship game.

The two teams out of the league were the two football only western teams in Idaho and New Mexico State. Idaho has dropped down to the FCS level and will play in the Big Sky Conference. New Mexico State, meanwhile, will play as a FBS independent this year.

For the remaining ten teams, they will break-up into two divisions and the two division winners will play Dec. 1 for the right to be the SBC champion.

The preseason excitement is over what seems to be the top three teams. Appalachian State and Troy did not play last season and were co-champions, and now they’re in the same division of the East. ASU missed the other ASU – Arkansas State, who finished a game behind. Arkansas State looks like the favorite in the West Division.

In the anticipated ASU-ASU battle, the Mountaineers look like the top team this year.

East Division

  1. Appalachian State
  2. Troy
  3. Georgia State
  4. Georgia Southern
  5. Coastal Carolina

West Division

  1. Arkansas State
  2. Louisiana-Monroe
  3. Louisiana-Lafayette
  4. South Alabama
  5. Texas State

2018 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Football Teams (courtesy of Sun Belt Conference)

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Justice Hansen (Arkansas State, QB, RS-Senior)
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Clifton Duck (Appalachian State, DB, Junior)

* – named to 2017 Preseason Teams
^ – named to 2017 All-Sun Belt First Team
# – named to 2017 All-Sun Belt Second Team
$ – named to 2017 All-Sun Belt Third Team
! – named 2017 All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention

First Team Offense
QB – Justice Hansen (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) ^
RB – Jalin Moore (Appalachian State, Senior) *^
RB – Warren Wand (Arkansas State, Senior)
WR – Justin McInnis (Arkansas State, Senior) $
WR – Penny Hart (Georgia State, RS-Junior) *^
WR – Marcus Green (ULM, Senior)
TE – Collin Reed (Appalachian State, Junior) !
OL – Victor Johnson (Appalachian State, Junior) *^
OL – Lanard Bonner (Arkansas State, RS-Senior) ^
OL – Kevin Dotson (Louisiana, Junior) #
OL – Tristan Crowder (Troy, Junior) #
OL – Deontae Crumitie (Troy, Senior) *#

First Team Defense
DL – Ronheen Bingham (Arkansas State, Senior) #
DL – Logan Hunt (Georgia Southern, Senior) #
DL – Hunter Reese (Troy, Senior) ^
DL – Trevon Sanders (Troy, Senior) #
LB – Anthony Flory (Appalachian State, Senior) !
LB – Michael Shaw (Georgia State, RS-Senior) $
LB – Tron Folsom (Troy, Junior) #
DB – Clifton Duck (Appalachian State, Junior) *^
DB – Justin Clifton (Arkansas State, Senior) *#
DB – Monquavion Brinson (Georgia Southern, Junior) #
DB – Blace Brown (Troy, Senior) ^

First Team Special Teams
K – Gavin Patterson (South Alabama, Senior) ^
P – Corliss Waitman (South Alabama, Senior) ^
RS – Marcus Green (ULM, Senior) ^

Second Team Offense
QB – Caleb Evans (ULM, Junior) !
RB – Wesley Fields (Georgia Southern, Senior) !
RB – Trey Ragas (Louisiana, RS-Sophomore) $
WR – RJ Turner (ULM, Junior) $
WR – Jamarius Way (South Alabama, Senior) #
WR – Deondre Douglas (Troy, Senior) *#
TE – Ellis Richardson (Georgia Southern, RS-Senior)
OL – Jacob Still (Arkansas State, RS-Sophomore) !
OL – Curtis Rainey (Georgia Southern, Senior) !
OL – Hunter Atkinson (Georgia State, RS-Junior)
OL – Shamarious Gilmore (Georgia State, Sophomore) !
OL – Aaron Brewer (Texas State, Junior) *$

Second Team Defense
DL – Myquon Stout (Appalachian State, Senior) *!
DL – Marterious Allen (Georgia State, Senior) $
DL – Tyree Turner (South Alabama, Junior)
DL – Marcus Webb (Troy, Junior) !
LB – Silas Kelly (Coastal Carolina, Sophomore) !
LB – Bull Barge (South Alabama, Senior) !
LB – Bryan London II (Texas State, Junior) *!
DB – Tae Hayes (Appalachian State, Senior) #
DB – BJ Edmonds (Arkansas State, Junior) !
DB – Marcus Jones (Troy, Sophomore)
DB – Cedarius Rookard (Troy, Senior) $

Second Team Special Teams
K – Tyler Bass (Georgia Southern, RS-Junior) #
P – Cody Grace (Arkansas State, RS-Junior) $
RS – Marcus Jones (Troy, Sophomore) #