Friday, November 05, 2010

Sun Belt Schedules Preview

You can read lots of preseason predictions of all conferences elsewhere, including the Sun Belt. Since TBB attempts to focus on what is and not what might be, we will look at schedules. This will also give some insight into the challenging world of non-BCS scheduling.

FIU: host Florida State, Utah Valley, Chattanooga, Jackson State, Bowling Green, Sam Houston, Florida A&M; @Marshall, @Louisville, @Utah Valley. Not great, but pretty good by FIU standards. They get docked for opening with two non-DI teams.

FAU: host American, South Florida, Manhattan; neutral UC-Davis, Milwaukee; @Portland, @Florida, @George Mason, @Mississippi State, @Hofstra, @Siena, @DePaul. FAU should be decent, but these roadies are murder. They play five straight roadies in December. But, they have USF at home and do play some strong teams.

Middle Tennessee. host UAB, Evansville, Furman, Vanderbilt, Tennessee State; neutral Campbell, Samford; @Auburn, @Tennessee, @SIU-Edwardsville, @Belmont, @Evansville. The Raiders have a couple of good home games and a couple of normally winnable roadies. Too bad they are likely down this season.
South Alabama: host Central Michigan, LSU, Houston Baptist, Alcorn State; @Southern Miss, @UAB, @Alabama, @Louisville, @Georgia Southern. Not a lot to get excited about here.

Troy: host UAB, Belmont; neutral Western Michigan, Idaho State; @Utah State, @Alabama, @Georgia State, @UTSA, @Mississippi State, @Arkansas, @Miami-OH. Brutal. As always.

WKU: host Alabama A&M, South Carolina, Southern Illinois, Louisville, Florida Gulf Coast; neutral Minnesota (plus Puerto Rico tip-off); @Saint Joseph's, @Vanderbilt, @Memphis, @Bowling Green, @Murray State. Pretty stacked, especially if the dominoes fall right in Puerto Rico, (North Carolina likely awaits if WKU can beat UMinn).

Arkansas State: host Alabama State, Savannah State, Lamar; neutral Missouri State; @
Mississippi, @Memphis, @Missouri State, @Georgia. While the home schedule is abysmal, there are a couple of decent, winnable road games for stAte if they are as good as many think.

Denver: host Colorado State, Alcorn State, Utah State, CS-Northridge, Portland, Northern Colorado, Arkansas-Pine Bluff; neutral ND State, UCSB; @Oregon, @Boise State, @Southern Miss, @Wyoming. The Pioneers are Jekyll at home and Hyde on the road. So, it's good news that they play 9/13 non-conference games either at home or on a neutral court.

host New Mexico State, Cleveland State, Lamar, Centenary; @Creighton, @Houston, @McNeese State, @Tulane, @UCF, @New Mexico State. Two games against NMSU is nice, but these roadies will be tough for a team in transition.

North Texas: host Texas Tech, Rice, UT-Arlington, Grambling, Jackson State, Texas State; @Kansas, @Texas State, @Texas Southern, @Sam Houston, @LSU. This is a pretty weak home slate for the defending champs and a team that should be pretty tough. They also scheduled two non-DI games. The Belt needs more from the Mean Green, but it's tough to get NCAA-hopeful teams in your gym when you are dangerous and play in the Sun Belt.

UL-Monroe: host Stephen F. Austin, Centenary, Northern Colorado; neutral Jacksonville State, South Dakota; @Illinois State, @Kent State, @Louisiana Tech, @UTEP. The Warhawks have a new coach and only two contributors from last season return. Given their situation, this is not a bad schedule.

UALR: host Illinois State, LA Tech, Tulsa, Mississippi, St. Bonaventure; neutral Akron, Oral Roberts, Stetson; @SMU, @St. Bonaventure, @Oral Roberts, @Missouri State, @Rice. Meh. But, the Trojans are trying to recover from a couple of subpar years by their standards.