Sunbelt Conference scheduling needs improvement
With the Cajuns starting conference play, it’s unclear who will emerge as champion, but the Sun Belt scheduling should change in order to have the best team as the champion.
Georgia Southern played neither Arkansas State nor Louisiana-Lafayette in the 2014 season, who had been the best two teams in the Sun Belt since 2011. The conference champion may have been different had the Cajuns and Eagles played last year.
Georgia Southern was a FCS power in football before making the jump to the FBS and joining the Sun Belt in 2014. Many people didn’t know what they would bring to the table since they were playing their first season at the FBS level. They were subsequently picked and they finished eighth in conference.
The Eagles’ first big win in 2014 came against South Alabama in the conference opener. Then they beat Appalachian State, another former FCS power, and people started taking notice. They ended up finishing 9-3 overall and going undefeated in conference.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, in my opinion, were the best team last year because of the team. They had a three-headed monster in Terrance Broadway, Alonzo Harris and Elijah Mcguire. They also had who I thought was the best coach in the conference: head football coach Mark Hudspeth — not to mention Justin Hamilton and Christian Ringo on the defensive side of the ball.
The Cajuns had nine players on the preseason All-Sun Belt team while Georgia Southern had none. Broadway was also voted as the Sun Belt preseason player of the year. Mcguire, who was voted as the freshman of the year in 2013, was voted as both the offensive player of the year and player of the year in the Sun Belt while Georgia Southern’s coach won coach of the year.
The Eagles and Cajuns were picked as the favorites by some people to finish top two in the Sunbelt, including the Associated Press and the Sun Belt Conference coaches poll.
Mcguire was picked as the 2015 preseason offensive player of the year and was named to three award watch lists like the 2015 Doak Walker Award, while Georgia Southern’s Matt Breida was also selected to the preseason first team offense as well.
The record may not show it right now, but once you start conference play it’s a new season, and teams start 0-0. With the Cajuns’ win against Texas State they are 1-0 in conference play, which means anything can happen. I believe the Cajuns will finish the season 9-3 with the possibility of getting 10 wins for the first time in the Hudspeth Era and will go to another bowl game.
In order to have the best two teams in the Sun Belt play each other, they need to add one more football-playing school so they can create a conference championship game. The creation of this game will not only help the conference but also take away the what-ifs. It remains to be seen what will happen this year but the Cajuns and Eagles should have to play next year.