A look at the Sun Belt

Trevor Mcnaboe

Long gone are the days of the Southern Conference affiliation, and the bright beginning of the Sun Belt is here. The Eagles are making history with their first in-conference game as a member of the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt was founded in 1976 and its headquarters are located in New Orleans – The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, to be exact.

University of New Orleans, University of South Alabama, Georgia State University, Jacksonville University, UNC- Charlotte and University of South Florida were all founding members. Georgia State and South Alabama are the only two remaining original members of the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt did not have football until 25 years after establishing the conference, when they announced in 2001 they would be sponsoring football. Currently, the Sun Belt has 11 full time members. All but two, Arkansas-Little Rock and UT-Arlington, compete in football.

Entering the 13th season of Sun Belt football, Troy has the most conference championships, coming in with five total followed by Arkansas State with four.

Last season UL-Lafayette and Arkansas State were co-conference champions finishing the season with a 5-2-conference record.

Arkansas State has won a share of the conference title for the past three seasons compiling a record of 20-3 in conference since 2011.

The major rivalries in this conference include Georgia Southern vs. App State, UL-Monroe vs. UL-Lafayette, and Troy vs. South Alabama.

The Sun Belt has three different bowl game affiliations: The New Orleans Bowl, GoDaddy Bowl and Camellia Bowl.

The Sun Belt will play an eight game conference schedule with the winner getting an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl.