2013 @The_Sun_Belt Conference Preseason Football Top 5* Teams Rundown
The Sun Belt Conference is undergoing a makeover, from 2012 to 2014 the conference is having to adjust to realignment and during that adjustment period we get the 2013 8 team conference. Now, understand one thing, this conference is not a joke and depending on how good Troy is, the conference could be 5 deep of teams that could upset some of the big boys. With only 8 teams in the Sun Belt our Rundown will only be 4 teams, look back next season for a full Top 5 Rundown. So without anymore messing around let’s get to the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Rundown:
1. University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks 9-3
Last year had all the makings of a special season for the Warhawks. The began with an upset of Arkansas then ULM came within 7 points of beating Auburn and Baylor. Even with those tough losses it looked like they were going to be able to put together a 10 win season, until injuries took over some of the Warhawks best players and they finished limping to the finish line but still with a respectable 8-5 overall record. The 2013 Warhawks look poised and ready to capture a Sun Belt title returning 16 starters, 7 of which are seniors and most important to that senior QB Browning. We are taking the Warhawks to avenge losses to UL Lafayette and Arkansas State and bring home a title to Monroe. Also, look for an upset at Wake Forest on Sep. 14th…
2. University of Louisiana Lafayette Ragin‘ Cajuns 9-3
The Ragin‘ Cajuns are going to be one of the best offenses in the country. Last year they finished 29th overall in yards per game and 24th overall in scoring per game, this years model will be looking to improve on that number and they will since they have a defense that ranked in the bottom of all of FBS teams at 86 in yards per game. The defense isn’t getting much help from experience as they look to replace the majority of the starters which might not be a bad thing. But the story about the ULL is the offense and what QB Broadway and Running Back Harris will be able to do. We like the Ragin’ Cajuns to compete for a title but they are going to have to wait until 2014 to win it.
3. Arkansas State Red Wolves 8-4
In 2012 the Red Wolves from Jonesboro made a serious run down the stretch and finished on an 8 game winning streak, they were one of the hottest teams in the country down to the finish and like with most small schools that causes you to lose your coach. Going into 2013 Arkansas State will have to not only deal with a new coach, which they are growing used too but they will have to find a new QB, which they haven’t done for four season. Hopefully, with an extremely experienced offensive line and a solid running back it will be a plug and play scenario for the team. The other side of the ball is a different story, the defense last season was solid keeping opponents to 24.5 points on average but this year they will need to fill in 7 starting positions will either sophomores or juniors. The defense and lack of experience QB will keep the Red Wolves from repeating for a conference title but look for a solid 8 wins and a possible bowl.
4. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 7-5
The Hilltoppers made of the best coaching hires of the 2013 offseason and one that we think will bring them a very special season in a couple of years. Coach Bobby Petrino was climbing the coaching ladder to the top when it all came crumbling because of a personal scandal, here at the R&R we could careless about what happens off the field as long as it’s not illegal or abusive, so we are excited to see what Petrino can do in Bowling Green this season. If the previous three teams weren’t as strong as they are this season we might be jumping on the Petrino motorcycle too! We know, that was a cheap one, but in reality Western Kentucky scored a nice upset last year against Kentucky but couldn’t parlay that into a conference title after losses to UL Monroe, Middle Tennessee and UL Lafayette. The 2013 season will look similar, we think Kentucky will avenge it’s loss but the Hilltoppers might be able to upset Tennessee. Overall look for a 7-5 finish, a possible bowl game and for Petrino to get a couple of recruiting classes in and the Hilltoppers will be on top of the Sun Belt for…well, until Petrino leaves for one of those big schools again.