All win totals are courtesy of South Point.
Appalachian State - O/U 9.5 wins
Aikman Chambers: I believe the N’eers will have at least 10 wins, possibly 11 if they can get past Wake Forest at home on September 23. I vote over for Appalachian State. It’s hard not to see at least 10 wins for ASU considering they dodge Troy and Arkansas State.
Adam Luckett: Give me the under. Appalachian State returns a lot of production from 2016 and they rank near the top of each position in our personnel rankings. However, with two games against Power Five competition this is a steep number. If Scott Satterfield’s program is unable to split the contests between Georgia and Wake Forest, Then you’re betting on the Mountaineers to run the table in the Sun Belt. The under is the play as the Mountaineers have some depth issues going into 2017.
Brian Stone: I am going to take the under, but I think they still win nine games this year. I could see them dropping the games to UGA by 10 or more points and Wake squeaking out a close win over the Mountaineers. But maybe they drop one conference game to the Ragin’ Cajuns. Over nine wins is a little too expensive for my blood, but they’ll still be a conference power even with a Sun Belt loss on the resume.
Coastal Carolina - O/U 5.5 wins
Aikman Chambers: As for newcomer Coastal Carolina I am going to say four, possibly five wins because they drew a very tough Sun Belt slate with trips to Arkansas State, App State and a home game vs Troy. Coastal could get to six wins if they capitalize on the non-conference slate but I lean more towards under the 5.5 mark.
Adam Luckett: Play the under. The Sun Belt offices did the Chants no favors in their first season as an FBS program. Joe Moglia’s squad has a legit shot to go 3-0 out of the gate, but after the Week 2 bye it gets ugly. Coastal will play 10 consecutive games including road trips to Appalachian State, Arkansas, and Arkansas State. An offense that has a new coordinator and a lot to replace will have to go up against some legit defenses in that brutal run. It could get ugly and a winless conference mark is not out of the question.
Brian Stone: I’m going to take the under as well. You never know how teams new to the FBS will fare. Some hit the ground running, but most struggle coming out of the gate to the speed of the game and from a talent disparity. I agree with Aikman and Adam, I like them for four wins this year.
Georgia Southern - O/U 5 wins
Aikman Chambers: Tyson Summers knows he has to produce a winning season if he wants to stay at Georgia Southern. Five wins is tough because Southern has a tough non-conference schedule with matchups against Auburn and Indiana. Southern also draws App State, Arkansas State and Troy with their Sun Belt slate. I believe this is one of the toughest over/under totals to guess on because just as easily as this team could have six or maybe seven wins they could have four or five. I’m gonna say over and give the Eagles six wins.
Adam Luckett: Tyson Summers has his back against the wall and the Eagles are going back to the option they’ve had so much success with. That’s enough for me to believe that Southern can get back to at least the six win mark. With winnable non-conference games against New Hampshire and UMass, a seven to eight win season is very realistic. Not sure if they’ll win enough to keep Summers in charge, but the Eagles bounce back this fall.
Brian Stone: I think they go 4-8 this season, so I’ll take the under. The Eagles lost a ton of talent last season to graduation, and the defense as a whole was a mess even with NFL draftee Ukeme Eligwe making tackles all over the field. With an entirely new quarterback and most of the offense being new to starting roles, I could foresee athletic director Tom Kleinlein spinning this as a “building year” following the departure of 20+ players and retaining Summers for a third season.
Georgia State - O/U 6 wins
Aikman Chambers: Georgia State is another tough team for me to guess on as they lost Robert Davis to the NFL but they do return QB Conner Manning and WR Penny Hart. GSU has a tough non-conference slate with matchups at Penn State and Memphis. They avoid Arkansas State in Sun Belt play but have matchups with Troy and App State (both at home). If Manning can tone down the interceptions from last year and boost up his completion percentage things can look up for the Panthers. I don’t see them winning more than six games but I don’t see it being a three or four win season either. So with that I am going to go even and say six is the total number of wins for GSU.
Adam Luckett: Take the under. Shawn Elliott takes over the Georgia State program after stints at Appalachian State and South Carolina as an offensive line coach. Elliott took over after Steve Spurrier’s resignation in 2015 as the Gamecocks went 1-5 and barely squeaked out a home win against Vanderbilt. Among those losses was a home game to the FCS The Citadel. I believe Elliott will have some growing pains in his first year in Atlanta and the opening year at Georgia State Stadium will be a rough one. The defense has some pieces, but if the offense can’t find a running game it could be a real ugly start to the Elliott era.
Scott Watkins: Coastal Carolina and Georgia State are going to spearhead the most competitive era in Sun Belt history and it starts this season. Expect the Panthers to become more balanced on offense under new head coach Shawn Elliot. The Panthers used a slew of tailbacks last season, with six running backs amassing at least 20 carries, and will lean on the now experienced group more often than last year. A non-conference game at Charlotte and the season finale against Idaho will be critical if the Panthers want to reach at least six wins on the year. I say they win both and hit seven, possibly eight after the bowl game.
Brian Stone: I’m calling for a push here. I don’t think the Panthers will be as bad as they were last year, but penciling them in for more than six wins seems a bit aggressive right now. I like six wins as a number for them to hit.
Troy - 8.5 wins
Aikman Chambers: The lines say 8.5 and I say over because as long as Silvers is at the helm the Trojans will be in good hands. I see at least nine wins on the Troy slate, possibly 10 if they win the end of the year showdown with Arkansas State.
Adam Luckett: Over. Easily. Troy should be heads and shoulders above any other offense in the Sun Belt and that alone should get them around the nine-win mark. The Trojans will be non-con road dogs against Boise State and LSU, but they will probably be favored in all conference games. Troy has the pieces to, at least, be a middle of the pack Sun Belt defense. But with that offense, Troy should cruise through most of that schedule.
Brian Stone: I’ll take the over here as well. I was really impressed with what I saw from the Trojans last season, the season finale notwithstanding. I think Troy is on the rise, and I like them to hit the nine or even 10-win mark this year and make a real push for the Sun Belt title.