Throughout the 2020 season, the Sun Belt Conference was led by two teams: Coastal Carolina in the East Division, and Louisiana in the West Division. Coastal Carolina went 11-1 and finished 14th in the AP Poll. Louisiana went 10-1, their only loss being to Coastal Carolina, and finished 15th in the AP Poll. Appalachian State also had a good season, going 9-3. Georgia Southern went 8-5, and Georgia State went 6-4. Every other team in the conference finished with a losing record. The Sun Belt Conference Championship Game between Coastal Carolina and Louisiana was canceled, so both teams were declared co-champions.
2021 Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division Preview:
- Coastal Carolina (9-3)
- Appalachian State (8-4)
- Georgia Southern (8-4)
- Troy (7-5)
- Georgia State (5-7)
The Eastern Division is bound to be competitive this upcoming season. The success of the conference last year has changed the outlook of recruiting. Coastal Carolina, Appalachian State, and Troy all have a top 100 recruiting class. This is the first time in the conference’s history that more than two programs have had a class break the top 100. I could see any team in the Eastern Division contending for the Sun Belt Conference Championship except for Georgia State.
2021 Sun Belt Conference Western Division Preview:
- Louisiana (8-4)
- Arkansas State (7-5)
- South Alabama (6-6)
- Texas State (4-8)
- Louisiana-Monroe (2-10)
The Western Division has not had the same success recruiting as the Eastern Division has, with the only program breaking the top 100 being Louisiana, who also had a big offseason win by holding on to head coach Billy Napier. Arkansas State has brought in Butch Jones as their new head coach. These are the only two teams in the Western Division that have a decent chance of contending for the Sun Belt Conference Championship this season.
The most likely outcome for the Sun Belt Conference this season is Coastal Carolina meeting Louisiana in the conference championship game. Hopefully the game will not get canceled again and one of the teams will get to go home as conference champions. Coastal Carolina has the better odds of winning in that matchup at this point, but Louisiana will be hungry for redemption after losing a close game to Coastal Carolina last season.