2016 Sun Belt schedule superlatives

September 4, 2015 - Atlanta, Ga: Charlotte 49ers quarterback Matt Johnson (8) is tackled by Georgia State Panthers defenders from left to right; defensive end Carnell Hopson (55), linebacker Joseph Peterson (6), and linebacker Alonzo McGee (4) in the third quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome, September 4, 2015, in Atlanta. Johnson fumbled the ball on the play. The 49ers won 23-20. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Now that the Sun Belt Conference has released its football schedules (here’s Georgia State’s and here’s Georgia Southern’s), let’s take a look and create some awards:

First, for context here are last year’s conference standings:

Arkansas State         8-0

Appalachian State     7-1

Georgia Southern     6-2

Georgia State           5-3

South Alabama         3-5

Troy                           3-5

New Mexico State   3-5

Idaho                         3-5

Louisiana-Lafayette 3-5

Texas State               2-6

Louisiana-Monroe     1-7

More context …

Teams with new coaches:

Louisiana-Monroe: Matt Viator

Texas State: Everett Withers

Georgia Southern: Tyson Summers

 

Toughest non-conference stretch

Appalachian will open the season at Tennessee, vs. Old Dominion, vs. Miami and at Akron. Three of those teams went to a bowl last year. Their combined records were 30-21.

Runners-up: Idaho will play at Washington (7-6) on Sept. 10 and at Washington State (9-4) on Sept. 17 in consecutive games. It appears after this week’s news that they will need all the guarantee games they can get.

Texas State will play at Arkansas (8-5) on Sept. 17 and will host Houston (13-1) on Sept. 24.

Easiest non-conference stretch

There’s really not one. The Sun Belt’s members seemed to have scheduled aggressively this season.

There are 10 games against SEC teams, with South Alabama playing at Mississippi State on Sept. 3 and at LSU on Nov. 19. New Mexico State will play at Kentucky on Sept. 17 and at Texas A&M on Oct. 29.

There are three games against ACC teams (Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami).

It can be argued that Arkansas State may have scheduled easy looking at the names of the opponents, but I’m not sure I agree. Toledo went 10-2, Auburn 7-6, Utah 6-7 and Central Arkansas 7-4.

Toughest finishing stretch

Troy will finish with Appalachian, Arkansas State, at Texas State and at Georgia Southern. Those teams went 32-19 last season. Throw out Texas State and the other three went 29-10.

Easiest finishing stretch

We have a tie.

Three of Texas State’s final four games are home games: vs. Idaho, at New Mexico State, Troy and Arkansas State. The Red Wolves were the only one of the four to finish with a winning record (9-4). The other three went a combined 11- 25.

Arkansas State will finish with four of five games on the road, including its final three at Troy, at Louisiana-Lafayette and at Texas State. Louisiana-Lafayette (4-8), Troy (4-8) and Texas State (3-9) were poor last season. The only home game in the stretch is New Mexico State (3-9).

Easiest conference schedule

Arkansas State will play just one conference team that had an overall winning record last year: Georgia Southern (9-4).

Idaho will also avoid Arkansas State (9-4) and Georgia Southern (9-4).

Toughest conference schedule

Well, to be kind, this is a tough one because just three of the teams finished with overall winning records and just four finished with winning records in the conference.

What do you think?

Share your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to share this story on social media. I would appreciate it.

 

Here’s the whole thing, directly from the conference website

Thursday, September 1
Montana State at Idaho

Friday, September 2
Ball State at Georgia State

Saturday, September 3
Appalachian State at Tennessee
Toledo at Arkansas State
Savannah State at Georgia Southern
Boise State at UL Lafayette
Southern at UL Monroe
New Mexico State at UTEP
South Alabama at Mississippi State
Texas State Ohio
Austin Peay at Troy

Saturday, September 10
Old Dominion at Appalachian State
Arkansas State at Auburn
* Georgia Southern at South Alabama
Georgia State at Air Force
Idaho at Washington
McNeese State at UL Lafayette
UL Monroe at Oklahoma
New Mexico at New Mexico State
Troy at Clemson

Saturday, September 17
Miami at Appalachian State
Arkansas State at Utah State
* UL Monroe at Georgia Southern
Georgia State at Wisconsin
Idaho at Washington State
* South Alabama at UL Lafayette
New Mexico State at Kentucky
Texas State at Arkansas
Troy at Southern Miss

Saturday, September 24
Appalachian State at Akron
Central Arkansas at Arkansas State
Georgia Southern at Western Michigan
Idaho at UNLV
UL Lafayette at Tulane
* New Mexico State at Troy
Nicholls State at South Alabama
Houston at Texas State

Saturday, October 1
* Georgia State at Appalachian State
* Troy at Idaho
* UL Lafayette at New Mexico State
UL Monroe at Auburn
San Diego State at South Alabama
Incarnate Word at Texas State

Wednesday, October 5
* Georgia Southern at Arkansas State (ESPN2)

Saturday, October 8
* Texas State at Georgia State
* Idaho at UL Monroe

Wednesday, October 12
* Appalachian State at UL Lafayette (ESPN2)

Saturday, October 15
* South Alabama at Arkansas State
Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech
* Georgia State at Troy
* New Mexico State at Idaho
* Texas State at UL Monroe

Thursday, October 20
* Troy at South Alabama (ESPNU)

Saturday, October 22
* Idaho at Appalachian State
* Georgia Southern at New Mexico State
UT Martin at Georgia State
* UL Lafayette at Texas State
UL Monroe at New Mexico

Thursday, October 27
* Appalachian State at Georgia Southern (ESPNU)

Saturday, October 29
* UL Monroe at Arkansas State
* Georgia State at South Alabama
New Mexico State at Texas A&M

^ Thursday, November 3 or Friday, November 4
* Arkansas State at Georgia State (ESPNU)

Saturday, November 5
* Texas State at Appalachian State
Georgia Southern at Ole Miss
* Idaho at UL Lafayette
* South Alabama at UL Monroe
UMass at Troy

Saturday, November 12
* Appalachian State at Troy
* New Mexico State at Arkansas State
* UL Lafayette at Georgia Southern
* UL Monroe at Georgia State
* Idaho at Texas State

Thursday, November 17
* Arkansas State at Troy (ESPNU)

Saturday, November 19
* UL Monroe at Appalachian State
* Georgia Southern at Georgia State
UL Lafayette at Georgia
* Texas State at New Mexico State
South Alabama at LSU

Saturday, November 26
* Appalachian State at New Mexico State
* Arkansas State at UL Lafayette
* South Alabama at Idaho
* Troy at Texas State

Saturday, December 3
* Arkansas State at Texas State
* Troy at Georgia Southern
* Georgia State at Idaho
* UL Lafayette at UL Monroe
* New Mexico State at South Alabama

Schedule is subject to change

*denotes Sun Belt Conference game

^ Exact date for Arkansas State at Georgia State will be determined following the release of the NFL schedule


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