After a 48-hour delay and news of Idaho and NMSU's eventual departure came out, the Sun Belt got back to their regularly-scheduled programming on Thursday as the 2016 football schedules were released.
Now that the 2016 slate is out, here are four things you should know.
1. The Sun Belt is moving from Tuesday to Wednesday
After years of having two early October games on Tuesday night airing on ESPN2, it's now going to be on Wednesday. The two games, Georgia Southern at Arkansas State on October 5th and Appalachian State at UL-Lafayette on October 12th, both on ESPN2, will be unopposed by any other football that night.
2. We still don't know a the exact dates of every game
Tucked in the Sun Belt schedule release is this nugget.
One additional game will soon be announced for a Thursday or Friday to be televised on either ESPN or ESPNU.
There's still one more contest to be moved. There have been rumblings about a non-conference game being moved, like Houston at Texas State or Miami at App State. That would coincide with this information from the same release.
A television schedule for the first three weeks of the regular season plus game times for midweek contests will be announced at a later date. For games in the fourth week of the season and beyond, networks will be determined 12 days out from the contest.
Word is that both App State and Miami have fought against moving their game to a weeknight. However, ESPN and the Sun Belt, in that order, have the final say.
Another contest that doesn't have an exact date yet is Arkansas State at Georgia State. The game will be on either Thursday, November 3rd or Friday, November 4th, depending on the NFL schedule. That slate will be known sometime in late April.
3. Long stretches between home games
Some teams will need to get use to being away from their friendly confines this season as five teams have a month-stretch between home games.
- Idaho: 41 days
- Georgia Southern: 40 days
- Georgia State: 36 days
- South Alabama: 34 days
- UL-Monroe: 34 days
Georgia Southern seems to have the roughest stretch with 4 away games in those 40 days with one being on a Wednesday, cutting the bye week in half. Idaho has 3 games and 2 bye weeks in their 41-day stretch
Meanwhile in one stretch, Troy has three home games in 19 days and Arkansas State has four home games in a row (with two bye weeks mixed in) between road games (and before hunting season), a span of 47/48 days. Scheduling is hard y'all.
4. UL-Lafayette will have played half their home schedule before Texas State's home opener
Usually, a team had their home opener in the first two weeks. The weather is nice outside and people are clamoring for football. However, Texas State has to wait four weeks before their first game in San Marcos versus Houston. Meanwhile, UL-Lafayette's slate in front-ended big time as home games against Boise State, McNeese State and South Alabama in those first three weeks.
In fact, after UL-Lafayette's November 5th home game against Idaho, the Cajuns will only have one more home game while Texas State has three.