Change Is Constant In College Sports

December 12, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

Each year there are changes in every conference. Coaches fired, coached hired, players graduate and new ones recruited, offensive and defensive schemes change. But for some conferences they have whole teams move in and out.

Gus Malzahn is gone from Arkansas State and Willie Taggart is gone from Western Kentucky. So far we have added Bobby Petrino at Western Kentucky, Dennis Franchione will enter with Texas State and reports are circulating that University of Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has been hired at Arkansas State.

Two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year Ryan Aplin graduates from ASU, but Kolton Browning returns to Louisiana-Monroe. Browning was possibly the most exciting player this past season.

As conference realignment trickles down, the Sun Belt continues to be affected. As mentioned before, North Texas and Florida International will leave the conference this summer for what they hope is greener pastures in Conference USA. Conference Commissioner Karl Benson added Georgia State and Texas State to the conference as well as Texas-Arlington (non-football school).

But realignment occurred again this year when Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee accepted invitations to Conference USA. But no announcement of additional schools have happened yet, but speculation is that Georgia Southern is one of the schools that could be added. Appalachain State and New Mexico State have been rumored to be possible additions as well.

Offenses will continue to be high power in the conference, but like they say “defenses win championships.”

Many braced for a tough season as the Jags played their first full Sun Belt schedule resulted in a 2-11 overall record and 1-7 conference record. Some expected them to win more games than they did, and they probably should have. But they were more competitive in their first FBS season than any team in recent memory.

South Alabama’s first season of FBS play was a big learning experience. They went up against 12 FBS teams in their 13 game schedule with seven games on the road. They measured themselves against several good teams and know where they are and what they need to do to get there.

The Jags will make an impact in the conference sooner rather than later. Coach Jones along with his staff and players have established a presence in the conference and have earned the respect of many opponents.

Coach Jones still has holes to fill and the team has some maturing to do. It needs to take what it has learned this season and build upon it. They need to use what they learned on game day and in key situations. The depth chart will benefit from a 2012 signing class where all but one player was redshirted and it will benefit from several fifth-year players ready to fill spots in the starting lineup and on the depth chart.

Troy was another school that had a disappointing season and missing out on a bowl game for the second consecutive season. In 2011 the Trojans went 3-9 (2-6 SBC) but improved to 5-7 (3-5 SBC) in 2012. But look for them to play a role in the Sun Belt in the future as they have in the past.

It could be an interesting few years in the Sun Belt as both Troy works it’s way back up and South Alabama strives to blaze it’s own way toward the top as well.

Sometimes change is good and sometimes it makes you think, “what were they thinking?”


2 Responses to “Change Is Constant In College Sports”

  1. Huan on December 12th, 2012 9:33 pm

    Losing unt, fiu, fau, and mts and getting uta and ts leaves the conference with only 7 football members ( + Troy, USA, ULL, ULM, ASU, and WKU).
    GS makes 8.
    Appalachian State and NMS makes 10.
    Would be nice to see 12 teams for a conference championship.

  2. Brian on December 13th, 2012 7:11 am

    I have been pleading to the conference to expand to 12 schools. Conferences with 12 schools seem to be more stable, have better television contracts and a conference championship game would bring in extra viewers and money.

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