SBC Football

(KAIT) Sun Belt Conference Media days begin today.  KAIT and will have complete coverage as the Sun Belt Conference looks to have another banner year of success. Below is the preseason All-Sun Belt Team, as well as some interesting facts about the Sun Belt Conference.

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Preseason All-Sun Belt Team

As voted on by the league's nine head coaches and selected media members.


Corey Leonard  (Arkansas State, QB, Sr.)

Rusty Smith (Florida Atlantic, Sr, QB)

Reggie Arnold (Arkansas State, RB, Sr.)

DuJuan Harris (Troy, Jr., RB)

T.Y. Hilton (FIU, WR, So.)

Jerrel Jernigan (Troy, Jr., WR)

Jamari Grant (Florida Atlantic, Sr, TE)

Drew Hilton (Arkansas State, OL, Jr.)

Brad Serini (FIU, OL, Jr.)

Brad Bustle (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL)

Chris Fisher (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., OL)

Danny Franks (Troy, Sr., C)


Alex Carrington (Arkansas State, DL, Sr.)

Aaron Morgan (ULM, DL, Sr.)

Brandon Lang (Troy, DL, Sr.)

Cameron Sheffield (Troy, DL, Sr.)

Cardia Jackson (ULM, LB, Sr.)

Boris Lee (Troy, LB Sr.)

Bear Woods (Troy, LB Sr.)

Anthony Gaitor (FIU, DB, Jr.)

Jeremy Kellem (Middle Tennessee, DB, Sr.)

Greg James (ULM, DB, Sr.)

Jorrick Calvin (Troy, DB Sr.)

Special Teams

Scott Love (ULM, P, Sr.)

Josh Arauco (Arkansas State, K, Sr.)

T.Y. Hilton (FIU, WR, So.)

Co - Preseason Offensive Players of the Year

Rusty Smith (Florida Atlantic, Sr, QB)

Corey Leonard  (Arkansas State, QB, Sr.)

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Alex Carrington (Arkansas State, Sr., DE)

2009 Preseason Sun Belt Poll

As voted on by the league's nine head coaches.

First place votes in parentheses.




72 (5)

Arkansas State


Florida Atlantic

61 (1)

Middle Tennessee



43 (1)


39 (1)


34 (1)

North Texas




Sun Belt Conference Football Membership

The Sun Belt Conference is currently comprised of nine football playing members - Arkansas State (founding football member in 2001), Florida Atlantic (joined league as football member in 2005), FIU (joined league as football member in 2005), Louisiana-Lafayette (founding football member in 2001), ULM (founding football member in 2001), Middle Tennessee (founding football member in 2001), North Texas (founding football member in 2001), Troy (joined league as football member in 2004) and Western Kentucky University (will begin full competition in 2009)  The league will expand to 10 football playing members when South Alabama enters in 2013.

Sun Belt Conference Attendance on the Rise

The 2008 season not only saw a record tying number of Sun Belt teams reach bowl eligible status, but teams from the Sun Belt Conference helped the league to a new all-time single season attendance record for both overall and per game average attendance.  Last season's numbers were also the largest increase in average in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision.  The league also averaged nearly 2,000 more fans per game than the Mid-American Conference.

Sun Belt in the Bowl Championship Series

The Sun Belt Conference is a BCS Conference.  In fact, the Sun Belt Conference is one of just 11 BCS Conferences.

The Sun Belt Conference champion will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if that team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or if that team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and its ranking is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the of BCS bowls.

In the first 10 years of the BCS arrangement, more than $100 million was distributed to conferences that do not have an annual automatic berth to one of the BCS bowls.

In 2009, nine percent of the net revenues from the BCS arrangement (approximately $9.5 million) is guaranteed in aggregate to Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, and Western Athletic Conferences for their participation in the BCS arrangement.  When a team from one of those five conferences plays in BCS bowl game, those conferences receive an additional nine percent of net revenues.  When more than one team from those conferences play in a BCS bowl game, those conferences will receive an additional $4.5 million for each additional team.

Sun Belt Boasts Winning Bowl Record in Last Three Seasons

Over the last three seasons the Sun Belt Conference has represented itself well in the postseason.  In fact the Sun Belt Conference boasts a winning record of 3-2 in its five bowl appearances in the last three seasons.

2006 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Troy 41, Rice 17

2006 Motor City Bowl - Central Michigan 31, Middle Tennessee 14

2007 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Florida Atlantic 44, Memphis 17

2008 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Southern Miss 30, Troy 27 (OT)

2008 Motor City Bowl - Florida Atlantic 24, Central Michigan 21

Florida Atlantic Takes Back-to-Back Bowl Wins

Florida Atlantic became the first team to win bowl games in back-to-back seasons since the Sun Belt began sponsoring football in 2001.  The Owls defeated Central Michigan 24-21 in the 2008 Motor City Bowl and defeated Memphis in the 2007 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl for the front end of the achievement.

Sun Belt Sends Two to Bowls

For the third time in the Sun Belt Conference's brief eight year history of football the league sent multiple teams to postseason bowl games in 2008.  Outright league champion Troy represented the league in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.  It was the Trojans second trip to that bowl game, having played in the Superdome in 2006 as well.  Troy has played in three bowl games since joining the Sun Belt in 2004.  In their inaugural season in 2004 the Trojans played in the Silicon Valley Football Classic.  Joining Troy in the postseason was Florida Atlantic, which rolled to a victory over Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl.  The Owls made their second postseason appearance in as many years, having defeated Memphis in the 2007 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.  The two other seasons the Sun Belt sent two teams to bowl games were 2006 (Troy - R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Middle Tennessee - Motor City Bowl) and 2004 (North Texas - R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Troy - Silicon Valley Football Classic).

Notable Wins Bolster Sun Belt Conference

By playing at the highest level of collegiate football - the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Bowl Championship Series - Sun Belt Conference teams continue to face noted big name programs.  Sun Belt teams don't just compete though - teams from the SBC are consistently notching wins in these contests.  In the opening week of the season last year, Arkansas State defeated Texas A&M which snapped the Aggies' 20-game winning streak in home openers and handed them just their fourth loss over their last 50 non-conference home games.  The next week Middle Tennessee won its first-ever home game against a team from a BCS guaranteed conference with the win over Maryland.  In previous season teams from the Sun Belt have taken down powers such as Alabama, Missouri, Minnesota, and Oklahoma State.

Sun Belt Conference Sweeps Mid-American Conference in 2008 Season

A year after finishing ahead of the Mid-American Conference in the USA Today Sagarin Ratings, the Sun Belt Conference took advantage of its opportunities against teams from the MAC in 2008.  Louisiana-Lafayette defeated Kent State 44-27 on September 13 and FIU took a 35-16 win at Toledo on September 27.  To cap off a perfect season against the MAC, Florida Atlantic defeated Central Michigan 24-21 in the Motor City Bowl.

Sun Belt Ties Conference Mark for Bowl Eligible Teams

A record tying number of teams reached bowl eligibility last season when four teams (Troy, Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, and Louisiana-Lafayette) reached the six-win plateau to become eligible for a postseason bid.  In 2006 the Sun Belt also had four bowl eligible teams (Troy, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Arkansas State) and two of those teams were selected to bowl games.  2008 also marked the first time that a 6-6 Sun Belt team (Florida Atlantic) was selected for a postseason bowl game.

Sun Belt Alumni

Troy's Leodis McKelvin was selected with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, marking the second time in the last four years the Sun Belt has had a player chosen in the draft's first round (Demarcus Ware, 11th pick of first round in 2005 by Dallas).  Arkansas State's Tyrell Johnson was a second round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2008 after he broke the Sun Belt Conference record for career tackles during the 2007 season.  Johnson joins other notable Sun Belt players in the NFL such as Jake Delhomme (Louisiana-Lafayette - Carolina Panthers), Charles Tillman (Louisiana-Lafayette - Chicago Bears), Antwan Barnes (FIU - Baltimore Ravens), Brandon Stokley (Louisiana-Lafayette - Denver Broncos), Marty Booker (ULM - Chicago Bears), Ike Taylor (Louisiana-Lafayette - Pittsburgh Steelers), Osi Umenyiora (Troy - New York Giants), Lawrence Tynes (Troy - New York Giants), and Demarcus Ware (Troy - Dallas Cowboys).  Notable former professional football players from Sun Belt schools includes Joe "Mean Joe" Greene (North Texas), Stan Humphries (ULM), and Brian Mitchell (Louisiana-Lafayette).  Former Cleveland Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel is a graduate of Western Kentucky University.