Going into 2017, the Sun Belt was the only league among the G5 that did not have a conference championship game. Well, that is no more as the Sun Belt has come out and announced that the league will be splitting into two divisions in 2018 and will finally have a conference title game.
Gone will be Idaho and New Mexico State, but the two five-team divisions should provide some great competition. According to the news release, the divisions will look like this:
2018 Sun Belt divisions w/champ game: East:-App St, Coastal Carolina, Ga Southern, Ga St, Troy; West-Ark St, Louisiana, ULM, USA, Texas St— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 23, 2017
- At first glance, it appears that the East is absolutely stacked. As we discussed in our most recent mailbag, perennial powers Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, and Troy being in the same division just does not seem very fair. Either way, it’s hard to complain because now we will finally establish some consistency in scheduling and each team will know where they stand and who they need to beat going into each season. It is obvious the league office went with geography and this makes sense with a league that needs to eliminate expenses as much as possible. Also, getting to host a title game in December will be an awesome reward to the program and its fans for having a spectacular season.
- An interesting point brought up in the release, is the team that will host the championship game is the one that finishes the highest in the College Football Playoff Poll. There was no other tiebreaker included so it will be interesting to see what the league goes to. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, more times than not, the Fun Belt won’t have a team in the top 25 at the end of the season.
- The Sun Belt administrators also approved a “collaborative instant replay system”. Much like the one you see in the SEC, there will be some centralized location where other officials will get to see all replays and assist the instant replay official at the game. It may cause some delays, but this helps the officials get these calls right and at the end of the day, that is good news for the overall health of the game.