All win totals are courtesy of South Point.
Arkansas State - O/U 7.5 wins
Adam Luckett: Give me the under. I thought about this one for a long time, but with two tough games against Nebraska and Miami to open the season, I could see Blake Anderson’s team getting off to a slow start similar to 2016. The Red Wolves have some real questions to answer on the offensive line and they could get exposed early. The defensive line has some dudes, but depth is a huge question mark. The conference schedule is favorable, but I have the Red Wolves going 1-3 in the non-con including a road loss to SMU. This one will probably come down to the finale against Troy.
Aikman Chambers: How can I get this one right? Arkansas State can surprise because I though they were done by Week 5 last year but, I was fooled. Blake Anderson is back so they will defiantly have steady play at quarterback. I see the biggest hole along the line and we all know a great team starts up front. Non-conference wise, Arkansas State has it tough with games against Nebraska, Miami and SMU. I will take the over and say they win eight games with three loses in non-conference play.
Vidal Espinoza: I’m gonna go with over. Despite some questions at the O-line I see the Red Wolves churning out eight wins, including escaping conference play with an upset and a 2-2 record. As far as Sun Belt play Troy will be the only game that really gives them trouble sans for another upset loss to one of the other conference teams. But before they even reach Troy I think they will win that extra half-game to go to eight wins.
AdoptedAggie: After a slow start to the season, I think the Red Wolves bounce back and win eight of their last ten, including seven in a row in Sun Belt action. I think this team will play for the league title against Troy in the season finale and win at least eight games, nine if they can pull out the win against Troy.
Idaho - O/U 4.5 wins
Adam Luckett: Over. In their last year in the FBS, the Vandals should go down swinging as the schedule is manageable. Matt Lineman returns for Paul Petrino’s program and he should be the better quarterback in 10 of Idaho’s 12 games. Getting the home victory against UNLV will be critical, but I like Idaho’s chances to get to the .500 mark in Sun Belt play.
Aikman Chambers: Over. This is the swan song for the Vandals at the FBS level and I believe they possibly can go bowling if things fall right for Paul Petrino. The Vandals do have their ace back Matt Linehan so they will have steady play in that spot. I see four wins automatically over Sacramento State, UNLV, New Mexico State and Coastal Carolina. I think they actually hit six wins with victories over South Alabama and Monroe. #VandalsGoBowling
Vidal Espinoza: For sure they go over. With momentum of 2016’s amazing run, a chip in the form of a (from fans and player’s point of view) hesitant move to the FCS and senior Matt Linehan back under center I can see this Vandals squad easily reaching beyond the over/under prediction. They should handle Sacramento State convincingly and get an important win over Nevada-Las Vegas to head out of OOC play at 2-2 and get another three or four wins in Sun Belt play. A split between our two Louisiana schools will be critical and the last game of the season against Georgia State will prove to be the fine line between bowling and nothing.
AdoptedAggie: 4.5 Wins? Are you kidding me? The Vandals will surely surpass this mark and go bowling for a second consecutive year for the first time in program history. Matt Linehan is back for his senior season and although he loses a lot of his receiving corps, he still has a solid offensive line and running backs to support him. The defense also looks solid this year as well. Look for Petrino to have this team motivated and ready to play in the Sun Belt. I think six wins is the floor for the Vandals in 2017 but who knows? It could be better.
Louisiana–Lafayette - O/U 5 wins
Adam Luckett: I’m taking the over. It’s a big year for Mark Hudspeth as the Cajuns have posted back-to-back losing season and the seat may be getting warm with a new AD supervising. The schedule is brutal for UL-Lafayette as they must travel to Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Tulsa in the non-conference. The road trips to Appalachian State and Arkansas State will also be tricky, but the Cajuns have a very winnable home conference slate against ULM, New Mexico State, and Texas State. This one will more than likely come down to toss up road contests against Idaho and South Alabama.
Aikman Chambers: Push. Five wins is exactly what I see from Lafayette in 2017. Their non-conference schedule is brutal. I see them going 1-3 followed by Sun Belt losses to Appalachian, Arkansas State and Idaho. Wins are picked up against ULM, New Mexico State, and Texas State. So it comes down to South Alabama and Georgia Southern to hit the over.
Vidal Espinoza: The Ragin’ Cajuns have an intense schedule. Making trips to Tulsa, Texas A&M, Arkansas State, Ole’ Miss and Appalachian State is a road schedule from hell. Good news though is they have a good chance of winning out their home contests. Unless they pull off an upset in road play (I’m looking at channeling the 1996 squad against A&M) I’m going to go with a push in UL-Lafayette’s O/U.
AdoptedAggie: I think the Cajuns will win four games this year, although I’m not very confident with this prediction. The non-conference portion of their schedule is tough and with the previous seasons being the disasters that they have been, it’s hard to be confident in this team. However, I think the Cajuns are still better than the bottom half of the Sun Belt and will feast on them to keep any dreams of a bowl game alive.
Louisiana–Monroe - O/U 3.5 wins
Adam Luckett: I’m a believer in Matt Viator and I’m taking the over. The schedule is once again brutal and a win-less non-conference mark is very possible with road trips to Auburn, Florida State, Memphis and a home game against Southern Miss. However, the Warhawks pulled in the third best recruiting class in the Sun Belt and JUCO reinforcements are on the way. Home games against Coastal Carolina and Georgia State are good opportunities, while road contests against Idaho, UL-Lafayette, South Alabama, and Texas State are not daunting. They won’t be bowling this year, but this is an improved ULM team and they’ll show that in the win column.
Aikman Chambers: It’s an under for me. I think its safe to say ULM has one of the toughest schedules in the Sun Belt for 2017. Two P5 teams and two good G5 teams in Memphis and Southern Miss will lead to a win-less non-conference slate for the Warhawks. Sun Belt play isn’t much better as the only spots I see favorable wins is Coastal Carolina and Texas State.
Vidal Espinoza: With a schedule that rivals the intensity of ULL’s 2017 campaign and no FCS opponent to warm-up with I’m going with an under. They face the likes of Memphis, Florida State, Southern Miss, Auburn and Sun Belt powerhouses Arkansas State and Appalachian State. I can see UL-Monroe going 0-6 in those games. I like what Matt Viator is doing in Monroe but I think the deck is just stacked overwhelmingly in favor of the Warhawks’ opponents in 2017.
AdoptedAggie: All i can say is yikes. Both the Warhawks non-conference and conference schedules are very tough and with a team trying to improve, that won’t be good (at least this year). I could honestly see the Warhawks going winless this season but I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say they overcome the tough early season games and win two games. Look for more wins to come in 2018.
New Mexico State - O/U 3.5 wins
Adam Luckett: Give me the under as this may be Doug Martin’s final year in Las Cruces. New Mexico State has some weapons on offense, but the defense is still very much a work in progress. The UTEP game will be a must win on September 23rd. It’s looking like a 1-7 start for NMSU as they play a couple of P5 programs as well as road trips to Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, and New Mexico. The Aggies will also be large home dogs against Arkansas State and Troy. It gets ugly quick and I don’t think NMSU recovers.
Aikman Chambers: Under all the way here. The one certain I see for NMSU is blowouts will come aplenty but the Aggies will be on the bad side of those blowouts. A future in the black hole of FBS independents loom and I won’t be surprised if the Aggies finish with just one win.
Vidal Espinoza: I’m going with an over but just by a hair. Four wins is what I see the Aggies getting. With a very competitive Sun Belt schedule and a defense that cannot keep the opponents off the field and their high powered offense will suffer and so will their record.
AdoptedAggie: This is honestly a tough call. I want to be optimistic and say the Aggies will overachieve but I can’t with the schedule they have. I think the Aggies will beat UTEP and Texas State for their only two wins of the season. The offense will keep the Aggies in some games but the defense is too much of a project. With that being said, I think the defense will play better and show signs of improvement but with the opponents the Aggies have scheduled, that improvement won’t show up on the stats sheet. Let’s hope I’m wrong because I’d love to see Coach Martin and the Aggies gain some momentum heading into independence.
South Alabama - O/U 4 wins
Adam Luckett: The over is the play here. South Alabama loses a lot of production on offense, but the Jags defensive line is the real deal and their running game should be solid. A rough start is unavoidable but back-to-back home games against FCS Alabama A&M and Idaho could get USA jump-started. USA has shown potential to pull a big upset yearly, so I like their chances to get to at least five.
Aikman Chambers: I vote over. Now since I said that the Jekyll and Hyde of the Sun Belt could always prove me wrong but nonetheless. I see at least five wins on the slate for the Jags, with wins over FCS Alabama A&M, ULM, NMSU, Lafayette, and either Georgia State or Georgia Southern. Now again this all depends on if the Jekyll Jags show up or the Hyde Jags show up.
Vidal Espinoza: Over. A split in conference play plus a win over FCS Alabama A&M. Their could be one more win in conference play but for the sake of the article they will go over their O/U prediction. As long as they can control the ball winning the time-of-possession battle and have their defense can hang in the majority of their competitive games they’ll reach above that four-win bar.
AdoptedAggie: I don’t see the mighty jungle cats pulling off the big upsets this year but I do think they still make it above four wins. I think the team this year will beat the teams they are supposed to (Alabama A&M, ULM, Georgia State, ULL, and NMSU) and lose the games they are expected as well. I see five wins being the bar for the Jags.
Texas State - O/U 2.5 wins
Adam Luckett: This will be close but give me the over. Texas State will be an improved team in 2017, but the schedule is much tougher. Non-conference games against Colorado, UTSA, and Wyoming are all likely losses. However, home games against Georgia State, New Mexico State, and ULM will give the Bobcats a great opportunity to get Everett Withers his first Sun Belt win. The Bobcats figure out a way to pull out two conference dubs and squeak by the number.
Aikman Chambers: This is tough but I have faith in Withers so I will say over. Texas State will start out 1-4 with their lone win coming against FCS Houston Baptist. NMSU ULM and Coastal could maybe be added wins for the program.
Vidal Espinoza: Over. In fact I’m going out on a limb and seeing them possibly stealing an upset and ending the season with five wins. With a solid starter at quarterback, solid offensive position players and a restocked coaching staff the ‘Cats will be revitalized in 2017 and move in the right direction. Win the games they should (Houston Baptist, New Mexico State and Coastal Carolina), win a game they need to (UTSA) and at least split the Louisiana schools and they’ll easily go over that 2.5 O/U and more.
AdoptedAggie: I have to say under for the Bobcats in 2017. I think they will start out 1-0 but lose all their games after that. While the Bobcats might be improved in 2017 I still don’t see them winning any more than last year. They might be able to beat NMSU for homecoming but I think the Aggies can take them. One win is my predication for these cats.