Last Friday, the Sun Belt released the 2016 home and away opponents for the 11-member conference. While the exact dates won't be known until March 1st, we can take a gander at what the Sun Belt cooked up for 2016.
Here's the big takeaways.
The ASU's Avoid Each Other
The big story might be who is not playing each other. Arkansas State and Appalachian State, the Sun Belt 1-2 of 2015, won't take on each other in 2016.
With both teams expecting most their starting lineups back, these two will be the overwhelming favorites in 2016. So it's possible we could have two 8-0 teams in 2016 with no championship game to decide the better team.
Georgia Southern Finally Gets To Play Louisiana And A-State
Much has been made about the Eagles avoiding both the Cajuns and Red Wolves in their first two seasons of Sun Belt play. However, the script is flipped in 2016 as the Eagles will host Louisiana and travel to Jonesboro to face Arkansas State. Add on home-away-from-home games in Atlanta versus both Georgia Tech and Georgia State and trips to Ole Miss and Western Michigan, Eagles' fans will be ready for Tyson Summers's debut season.
ULM Has The Biggest Beef With The Sun Belt
The Warhawks, who limped to a 2-11 finish in 2015 and endured a coaching change, will have a chore of a road schedule in 2016. Monroe has to travel to all three of the far-eastern Sun Belt school in Georgia State, Georgia Southern and App State, all three tough games. Then you add on the fourth ULM league road game at defending champs Arkansas State and you can easily say that Matt Viator's Warhawks have the league's toughest schedule.
New Mexico State Avoids Any Far Eastern Trips
The Aggies will probably be content with their travel load as NMSU doesn't have to travel further east than Troy in league play. No Georgia State, Georgia Southern or App State road trips is a nice surprise for the folks in Las Cruces.
South Alabama Heads West
With the weird facet of having 5 "eastern" teams and 6 "western" schools, it makes for an interesting schedule for someone. This year's winner is South Alabama. The Jaguars, despite being considered in the east of the Sun Belt, doesn't play a road game east of them in league action. All four of their road games are west with Louisiana, ULM, Arkansas State and Idaho. Also, Joey Jones' team misses one of their "eastern" foes in App State.