The Sun Belt Conference has a unanimous favorite this fall, at least according to the coaches in the conference. UL Lafayette received all 11 first-place votes from the coaches of the Sun Belt in a preseason poll, which was released by the Sun Belt Saturday.
UL Lafayette tied for the conference championship last season with Arkansas State. Arkansas State is second in the preseason coaches poll for the upcoming season, followed by a growing South Alabama program. The South Alabama Jaguars are entering the third year as a FBS program and just the sixth year of its existence.
The Sun Belt also welcomes some new additions to the conference this season. Idaho and New Mexico State, once left standing together in the rubble of the imploded WAC, join the Sun Belt as football associate members. A pair of FCS programs making the move to the FBS, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, also join the conference this season.
Here is how the Sun Belt coaches poll added up, courtesy of the Sun Belt Conference;
1. UL Lafayette 121 (11)
2. Arkansas State 102
3. South Alabama 98
4. Troy 84
5. UL Monroe 78
6. Texas State 70
7. Appalachian State 47
8. Georgia Southern 44
9. Idaho 29
10. Georgia State 27
11. New Mexico State 26
Sun Belt media day is scheduled for Monday, July 21.
Auburn got back in the win column after two straight losses. While winning a game must have felt nice, head coach Gus Malzahn is not prepared to say whether or not Sean White will be the team’s starting quarterback moving forward.
“I thought he competed; he did some good things,” Malzahn said after the game Saturday, per Al.com. “We’ll take this thing week-to-week like we’ve been doing it. We’re starting to kind of get good answers to the questions that we needed.”
White replaced Jeremy Johnson at quarterback last week against Mississippi State. Johnson, a preseason Heisman favorite for some, struggled out of the gate of the season with six interceptions thrown and a lost fumble. That forced Malzahn to make a change at quarterback after a woeful performance against FCS Jacksonville State and a loss to LSU. White lost his first game as a starter against Mississippi State but the offense has been marginally better. White has yet to throw a touchdown pass in his first two starts.
Against San Jose State, White completed six of 10 pass attempts for 1087 yards. Auburn’s running game is what helped push the Tigers by the Spartans, with Peyton Barber scoring all five touchdowns in the 35-21 victory. Auburn’s next game is in two weeks against Kentucky, on Thursday, October 15 in Lexington.
The Ohio State Buckeyes remain atop the AP Top 25 this week, but the Big 12’s top contenders have bumped Michigan State down two spots. No. 2 TCU picked up five first-place votes and managed to stay ahead of No. 3 Baylor despite the Bears getting 10 first-place votes.
No. 5 Utah picked up seven first-place votes and No. 9 Texas A&M received the last first-place vote available. The big mover in this week’s AP poll was No. 11 Florida, with the Gators jumping 14 spots in the poll after dismantling Ole Miss Saturday night. The Rebels dropped from No. 3 down to No. 14. No. 15 Notre Dame fell nine spots after losing at No. 6 Clemson. No. 19 Georgia also tumbled this week, down 11 spots after being blown out at home by Alabama. It was also a rough week for No. 20 UCLA, falling 13 spots after losing to Arizona State at home.
New teams in the AP poll this week include No. 22 Iowa, No. 24 Toledo and No. 25 Boise State. Iowa and Boise State also made appearances in the coaches poll earlier today, but Toledo did not. Memphis appears in the coach spill but is the third team in its own conference in the others receiving votes category, behind Houston and Temple. Memphis tied with division foe Navy in that category as well.
- Ohio State (38 first-place votes)
- TCU (5)
- Baylor (10)
- Michigan State
- Utah (7)
- Texas A&M (1)
- Florida State
- Ole Miss
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
- Boise State