Sun Belt East preview: Burning questions for every team
I’ve long advocated for college football to move beyond divisional play. It’s tough for huge conferences to seem like conferences when groups are only playing some of their mates twice every 12 years approximately, right? And it’s annoying when we wind up with conference title games– in some cases with CFP ramifications– that pit the best team in the conference against, say, the 5th best.My anti-divisions stance is on the record, and I’m gradually getting my way. The Pac-12, ACC and Mountain West have all ditched their departments in favor of more sensible scheduling and potentially stronger title games, and only 4 of 10 FBS conferences still utilize divisional structures. It’s fantastic when sense occasionally takes control of this sport.I do not want change to ever touch the Sun Belt East, however. It’s ideal. It’s geographically reasonable– as far as my Google Maps skills can take me, only one match is more than an eight-hour drive away (and Marshall vs. Georgia Southern is still less than 9)– and competitive: A minimum of three of its present members have actually ended up in the SP+ top 75 for 5 straight years.In 2022, the East offered us Appalachian State’s all-time run of September drama– a 63-61 loss to North Carolina, followed by an upset of Texas A&M, followed by a Hail Mary win over Troy with College GameDay in presence. It offered us another year of Coastal Carolina’s mullet-acious quarterback, Grayson McCall. It provided us one of the greatest FBS debuts we’ll ever see, with James Madison hopping up and instantly playing top-50 ball. It gave us a Georgia Southern upset of Nebraska. It gave us loads of close games and wild finishes.What will it provide us in 2023? We’ll see. Let’s preview the Sun Belt East!