Q: Will Georgia Southern repeat?
The Eagles flew high in their first year in the Sun Belt, going 8-0 while outscoring conference opponents by 19 points per game. But the rest of the league now has a year of film to dissect, and Georgia Southern is losing nine starters from last year’s squad.
The Eagles were the choice by the coaches to win the league, but the top of the conference is much less clear than it has been in previous years.
Q: Will parity be at the forefront?
Speaking of that muddled picture at the top of the conference, expect a healthy amount of Monday’s discussion to be focused on how wide open the conference is.
There are five, maybe six teams with a legitimate chance at winning the conference outright. Preseason prognostications always have a way of going wrong, evidenced by the coaches tabbing Georgia Southern to finish sixth last season, but it certainly looks like it’s anybody’s race at this point.
Q: Where are the quarterbacks?
Football may be a quarterback-driven sport, but that sentiment may not be true in the Sun Belt, where running backs rule the conference.
Just look at the teams’ Media Day representatives; New Mexico State’s Tyler Rogers is the only quarterback speaking on behalf of his team.
The season is rapidly approaching, and a third of the teams in the conference don’t have an established starter at QB — including the Ragin’ Cajuns, who will have a three-way race for the starting job at preseason camp.
Q: Can anyone make a statement?
It has been a couple of years since a team from the SBC made a splash by beating someone they weren’t supposed to. Who can make it happen this year?
We might know by Week 1, when the Cajuns face Kentucky, Arkansas State faces Southern California, Texas State faces Florida State and Georgia Southern faces West Virginia.
The Red Wolves face Missouri in Week 2, and Appalachian State travels to Clemson the same week. A win in any of those games would be a shocker and a big boost to the SBC.
Q: Is there enough to go around?
The SBC’s newest bowl tie-in — the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida — brings the conference’s total to four, joining the New Orleans, the GoDaddy and the Camellia. That may not be enough.
The conference had six teams finish with bowl-eligible records last season, but Georgia Southern and Appalachian State were not able to play in a bowl because they were making the transition to the FBS level.
Those teams will be able to participate in the postseason this time around, so how many teams get left out?