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  • Eye Test Analytics

2022 Sun Belt Conference Football Preview

Predicted Order of Finish-

East Division-

1. Appalachian State- the offense is loaded with the return of senior QB Chase Brice, 1,000 rusher junior RB Nate Noel, and 4 senior offensive linemen, the receiver corps was hit hard losing 3 seniors who combined for 173 receptions and TD’s a year ago

2. Coastal Carolina- junior QB and 2-time Sun Belt Player of the year Grayson McCall returns after throwing for 2,873 yards and 27 TD’s in just 11 starts last year, however, many of the pieces on both sides of the ball have moved on after back-to-back 11-win seasons for the Chanticleers

3. Georgia State- 14 starters return for HC Sean Elliot who continues to be one of college football’s most unsung coaches taking the Panthers to 3 straight bowls, senior QB Darren Grainger must continue to make strides as a passer and defensively the front 7 will feature plenty of new faces

4. Marshall- the offense returns Freshman All- American sophomore RB Rasheen Ali who rushed for 1,400 yards while compiling over 300 yards receiving, Ali will be relying on 3 new offensive linemen to create running lanes and expected starting senior QB Henry Colombi will be playing for his third team in five years

5. James Madison- the former FCS powerhouse finally gets their shot at the FBS level and with talented playmakers on offense and defense the Dukes could contend for a Sun Belt Championship, the quarterback position is a question mark with the departure of 2-year starter Cole Johnson and the schedule includes road games at Appalachian State and Louisiana

6. Georgia Southern- new HC Clay Helton will turn to Buffalo senior transfer QB Kyle Vantrease who started 26 games for the Bulls to lead a more balanced passing attack after a long history of running the triple option in Statesboro, the receiving corps has no experience which could hinder the offensive transition and on defense every starting linebacker from last year must be replaced

7. Old Dominion- 16 starters from last year’s team which was one the biggest surprises in college football reeling off 5 straight wins to reach a bowl after opting out of 2020 due to COVID, on defense 4-year starter LB and leading tackler in 2021 Jordan Young must be replaced and the schedule doesn’t offer many gimmies in the win column

West Division-

1. Louisiana- the Ragin Cajuns have won 4 straight West Division titles and new HC Michael Desormeaux knows the program inside and out having served 7 years as an assistant while playing QB in Lafayette from 2005-2008, the quarterback position remains open heading into fall camp and defensively all 4 linebackers must be replaced including Chauncey Manac and Lorenzo McCaskill Rajin who both earned All-Sun Belt honors last year

2. South Alabama- the offense which sputtered last season picked up 2 quality transfers in JUCO All-American junior RB La’Damian Webb and Ole Miss junior transfer TE D.J. Thomas, the starting QB sport remains up for grabs and much of the O-line spent the offseason recovering from injuries

3. Arkansas State- senior QB James Blackman has the talent to be amongst the best in the conference throwing for over 300 yards in 3 out of his 5 starts before suffering a shoulder injury, both the offensive and defensive lines struggled last year and will be turning to transfers and inexperienced backups to right the ship

4. Troy- new HC Jon Sumrall, who previously served at Kentucky, takes over a roster with 19 returning starters and plenty of talent including All-American senior LB Carlton Martial who recorded 127 tackles last season, the new staff will be put to the test right away with September road games at Ole Miss and Appalachian State

5. Louisiana Monroe- the offense has depth at both RB and WR and returns of handful of its leaders on defense including senior LB Zack Woodard who recorded 89 tackles last season, the non-conference schedule is brutal with road games at Texas, Alabama, and Army likely keeping the Warhawks out of the postseason

6. Texas State- Arkansas State junior transfer QB Layne Hatcher is a proven commodity throwing for 7,400 yards and 65 TD’s in 3 seasons and will have last year’s top 2 receivers to throw to, the defense has been spinning its tires under HC Jake Spavital and to make matters worse 3 out of last year’s top 4 tackles are gone

7. Southern Miss- the defense returns 7 starters including all three linebackers after finishing 42 in total yards allowed last year despite getting little to no help from the offense, the quarterback position was a mess last year and the offensive line must improve after allowing over 3.5 sacks per game in 2021

Buy- Georgia Southern

Sell- Louisiana

Best Bet- Georgia Southern OVER total wins

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