Sun Belt win totals: UL Lafayette can shock the nation
The Sun Belt showed out in 2020.
Coastal Carolina was perfect during the regular season; UL Lafayette upset Iowa State - which earned a New Year's Six bowl - in the opener in transit to a 10-1 campaign; Appalachian State went 9-3, with losses to Louisiana and Coastal despite outgaining both.
Naturally, those three programs lead the 2021 Sun Belt win totals. However, there's one in particular bettors should zero in on this fall.
2021 Sun Belt win totals
ULL could wind up the best Group of 5 program in the country by season's end.
A team that outgained its opponents by an impressive 1.8 yards per play in 2020 will essentially run it back. Quarterback Levi Lewis is gearing up for his fifth year, and to say the cupboard is stocked would be an understatement: Six of his top-seven receiving options from last year are returning, along with all five starting linemen.
If you can believe it, the defense is in even better shape - the Ragin' Cajuns' 98% returning production entering the offseason was the highest mark in the entire nation.
Head coach Billy Napier's 21-4 over his last two seasons, outscoring opponents by close to 13 points per game. I can't wait to see what he does with this roster in 2021.
I really like the Kane Wommack hire by South Alabama, which needed an upstart coach to inject some life into the program following the Scott Campbell era.
Wommack doesn't have any head coaching experience, but he was pivotal in orchestrating Indiana's defense last season. The unit finished No. 14 in the country in DF+ - a defensive-focused efficiency metric - and allowed 21 points or fewer in five of eight games.
The Jaguars were projected for four wins last season and pushed, going 4-7. With games against Alcorn State, Bowling Green, Southern Miss, and Texas State in the first five weeks, they should ride some early momentum to an "over."
The Warhawks will struggle to win one game, let alone two with this schedule.
|9/18||vs. Jackson State|
|10/2||@ Coastal Carolina|
|10/9||vs. Georgia State|
|10/30||@ Appalachian State|
|11/6||@ Texas State|
|11/13||vs. Arkansas State|
Only three teams in the entire country were outscored by more points per game in 2020 than the Warhawks (minus-25.7). There's some turnover on both sides of the ball with less than 65% of returning production back on offense and defense, but it won't be a refreshing change of pace: UL Monroe's three recruiting cycles from 2018-20 ranked eighth or worse in the Sun Belt.
It could get ugly for a program short on FBS-level talent.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. Find him on Twitter @AjKolodziej.