The Sun Belt Conference released its preseason poll Thursday in advance of the conference’s annual media day on Monday. The league’s 10 coaches selected UL to win the West and Appalachian State to win the East division. The Sun Belt Championship Game will be played at the site of the divisional team with the best overall conference winning percentage. That game will be held on December 7, 2019.
Appalachian State was also picked as the overall favorite to win the SBC Championship Game in a vote that included selected members of the media, along with the 10 football head coaches.
The Mountaineers head into the 2019 season looking to repeat as East Division and overall Sun Belt Champions. App State claimed the inaugural Sun Belt Championship with a 30-19 win over UL. App brings back 20 starters (10 offense; seven defense; three special teams), including 2018 Offensive Player of the Year, Zac Thomas. Thomas accounted for 32 total touchdowns in 2018 (21 pass, 10 rush, 1 receiving) as the Mountaineers led the league in scoring at 37.3 points per game.
UL was picked to win the West Division, garnering six first-place votes for a total of 46 points. The Ragin’ Cajuns started conference play with a 2-3 record before rattling off three consecutive Sun Belt wins to close out the season and earn a spot in the inaugural Championship Game.
UL head coach Billy Napier enters his second season at the helm of the Cajuns’ program and they return 17 starters from last year’s squad (eight offensive; six defense; three special teams). Napier’s Cajuns finished second in the league in scoring offense at 31.9 points per game and was third in total offense, averaging 424.3 yards per contest. A three-headed running attack in juniors Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas, and senior Raymond Calais lead the Cajuns rushing attack, which ranked third in the league at 218.7 yards per game.
2019 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Championship Game Winner
2019 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish
First-place votes in parentheses
1. Appalachian State (7) – 46 pts
2. Troy (1) – 39 pts
3. Georgia Southern (2) – 35 pts
4. Coastal Carolina – 17 pts
5. Georgia State – 13 pts
1. Louisiana (6) – 46 pts
2. Arkansas State (3) – 42 pts
3. ULM – 27 pts
4. South Alabama (1) – 19 pts
5. Texas State – 16 pts