Georgia Southern: Former NCAA Division I-AA national champion, picked to claim second straight conference title in Football Bowl Subdivision, returns 13 starters from team that went 8-0 in league play.
La.-Lafayette: Ragin’ Cajuns picked to finish second in close vote of league’s coaches; 11 starters back from team that went 9-4, won fourth straight New Orleans Bowl title.
Appalachian State: Mountaineers return 22 starters from team that ended first season in FBS conference with six consecutive victories, third-place league finish.
FIVE TO WATCH
Elijah McGuire, La.-Lafayette, RB, Sr. (5-foot-11, 208 pounds): Last year’s Sun Belt Player of the Year rushed for 1,264 yards and 14 TDs, Cajuns’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2008.
David Mims, Texas State, DB, Sr. (5-11, 198): Preseason Defensive Player of the Year had five interceptions in final seven games last season, also had three pass breakups.
Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State, QB, Sr. (5-11, 197): Dual-threat quarterback led conference in total offense with 4,056 yards, also accounted for league-high 35 TDs.
Teldrick Morgan, New Mexico State, WR, Jr. (6-0, 185): Was second in conference in receiving yards (903), tied for second in TD receptions (seven), fourth in receptions (75).
Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State, Soph. (6-2, 200): Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Year led conference in passing efficiency (142.1), threw for 2,381 yards, 17 TDs,nine interceptions.
DON'T MISS THIS GAME
Oct. 22: Georgia Southern at Appalachian State: Once Southern Conference rivals, Mountaineers could be an early stumbling block in Eagles’ quest to repeat as Sun Belt champions.
With Georgia Southern and Appalachian State now eligible to play in postseason bowl games this season, the Sun Belt could match the league’s 2013 record of seven bowl-eligible teams.