In a story today for the Daily Record, I wrote about how Texas State has one of the weakest schedules among Sun Belt Conference teams.
The Bobcats’ 2014 opponents went a combined 57-88 in 2013. Based on last season’s results, Georgia Southern was the only SBC team with a weaker schedule than Texas State.
Last season, the SBC was among the strongest non-automatic qualifying conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision. It doesn’t appear that will be case this time around.
Here are a few other observations…
1. New teams looking for bounce-back seasons
Four new schools join the SBC in 2014: Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Idaho and New Mexico State.
Maybe the Vandals and Aggies will be better in the future. But, both teams didn’t have good seasons in 2013. Idaho went 1-11 and N.M. State was slightly better at 2-10
The Mountaineers also had a down season in 2013 (4-8 record). Georgia Southern went 7-4, including an upset victory over Florida in the Swamp. But the Gators weren’t the Gators in 2013 as Will Muschamp’s team finished the season at 4-8.
Appalachian State and Georgia Southern both made the Football Championship Subdivision their home last season and it’s always a huge jump to FBS. It could be a few years before either team does well.
2. SEC schools prominent on a few schedules
For as many bad things as you could say about 2014 schedules in the Sun Belt — only Georgia State faces a slate that had a winning record in 2013 — there are a few teams that have challenged themselves against the mighty Southeastern Conference.
Seven SBC schools scheduled SEC teams. Those are Arkansas State, Idaho, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Troy, UL Lafayette and UL Monroe. The Warhawks will play the most (three; Kentucky, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M). In all, seven different SEC schools were represented on SBC schedules. In addition to the three I mentioned earlier, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and South Carolina are also featured on SBC slates.
That’s a good thing to see from Sun Belt schools.
3. How about the Bobcats?
I like what Texas State is doing.
The Bobcats have a Big 10 school (Illinois) on their 2014 schedule and the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles on their 2015 slate.
But I want to see more.
Dennis Franchione has enough ties to schools in the SEC and Big 12 to put those teams on future schedules. You have to wonder if that SEC school 2 1/2 hours to the east would schedule Texas State. Texas A&M would be a great add for the Bobcats, but it might not be easy to make it happen.
Even so, the Bobcats probably wouldn’t have any problem getting a few other SEC schools to play them. If Texas State is able to make that happen, it will only enhance the program’s reputation and make it more attractive for bowl bids down the line.