Sunday, August 25, 2013

Buy, Pass, Sell: Sun Belt Edition

It's been a Summer of big change in the Sun Belt, but it is possible that the conference is just as good after the loss of North Texas, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and Middle Tennessee, as they were before the departures. None of the bowl teams in the conference left, and only one had a winning record. The conference sits at eight member for 2013, and will go to 12  in 2014 with the additions of Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, New Mexico State, and Idaho.


Western Kentucky: There has been a tremendous amount of loss heading into 2013 for WKU, which will also be their final season in the SBC before moving on to Conference USA. Willie Taggert is gone as head coach, as is team leader QB Kawaun Jakes. In comes Bobby Petrino, he of notable motor cycle and 25 year old whore fame. Nobody ever said that Petrino can't coach, he just seemingly has the ethics and morals of an alley cat. He will bring instant buzz to this program, and his offense should be explosive right away. There is some talent to build around here, especially in all everything RB Antonio Andrews, who rushed for 1728 yards last season.

Louisiana-Lafayette: Mark Hudspeth is a first rate head coach, and has built a solid foundation with the Ragin' Cajuns. QB Terrance Broadway is primed for a big season if he can stay healthy. Jamal Robinson will be his go to receiver after racking up 116 yards in the bowl game win. Look for the Cajuns to push for the conference crown, especially if the defense can improve, and that will be imperative. There is no reason on the schedule to doubt that this team will match their 9 wins from last season.

Louisiana-Monroe: QB Kolton Browning could be the best QB in the conference, but he has to stay on the field, which was an issue in 2012. It all starts and ends with him in 2013, and he should be able to find someone on the current roster to step up for the loss of leading receiver Brent Leonard. The first month is brutal on the schedule with games against Oklahoma and Baylor on the slate, and the rest of the slate isn't exactly easy. ULM may be the SBC spoiler, and that's ok with me.


Arkansas State: I like this program, but there are two major gaps that have me passing for now. The loss of Gus Malzahn at head coach, and Ryan Aplin at QB are problems to solve. Bryan Harsin takes over as head coach, and there are several QBs in the battle to replace Aplin. If these issues iron out early, I may be buying in a month. The September schedule is not difficult, so a fast start is a must.

Troy: The Trojans lost several close games last season, and Larry Blakeney must start finding a way to win those games. The offense won't be a problem, as Corey Robinson returns at QB after three straight 3000 yard passing seasons. His numbers are dipping as far as yardage is concerned, but he is becoming more effective overall, so it's a good trade off. Shawn Southward is gone at RB, but there should be able replacements, even if Troy has to go with a committee. The problem with Troy is the close losses, and a defense that couldn't pressure a kitten last season. If the defense is shored up, I buy in late September, if it doesn't, I sell.


Texas State: I don't really find Dennis Franchione to be a likable guy, but I guess people like him in San Marcos. He was by far the most stand off coach at WAC Media Days last year, and nobody came close. There isn't a lot to be able excited about this season, as there are only four wins that I can ID on the schedule. At least that matches 2012, but it's not good.

South Alabama: There is still so much work to be done in Mobile to get this program to where it needs to be. It's a start up, and I never buy into start ups. It's going to be years until this team is worth buying on the open market. Leave them alone until further notice.

Georgia State: GSU is another start up program, and they had a great coach in place in Bill Curry. Curry is now gone, replaced by former Indiana State head man Trent Miles. Miles certainly has brought in a solid OC in Jeff Jagodzinski. There are several open jobs heading into the season, and still an amazing amount of building to do. GSU may be ahead of South Alabama in development terms, but this program is still a ways off the mark. I will watch the development of this program with keen interest.

Coming up next...Buy, Pass, Sell: Independent Edition

No comments:

Post a Comment