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By: Tony Thomas As chaotic as 2020 was, Sun Belt Conference football turned in a solid performance, going 59–54 for the season (.522 winning percentage), tops in the Group of 5. And, the SBC is loaded with talent again as they move toward the start of a more normal 2021 season.

A Look Back at Sun Belt Conference Football in 2020

Three victories over Power 5 teams.

Louisiana 31 — Iowa State 14

The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns got the season rolling by going into Ames, Iowa, and earning a victory over Iowa State. …

Imagine your sitting in the stands, staring out over 100-yards of chewed-up green turf, the smell of hotdogs and popcorn in the air, as you witness bone-crushing tackles. And if you were a fan of the Baylor Bears in the late 1970s, this is what you experienced when Mike Singletary played linebacker in the old Southwest Conference (SWC). He gave 100% on every play.

Work Hard Because Nothing Is Free.

He played with a wide-eyed intensity and a one-of-a-kind work ethic that prepared him to be in the right place at the right time on every play…so he could deliver a face mask straight into your…

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Southeastern Louisiana QB Cole Kelley wins the 2020 Walter Payton Award, the FCS Heisman, as the outstanding offensive player in the FCS. He is the first player from Southeastern Louisiana to win the award.

QB Cole Kelley at Southeastern LA.

The 6–7, 230-pound transfer from Arkansas threw for 2662 yards and accounted for 27 touchdowns: 18 passing, seven rushing touchdowns, and two receiving TDs. He was #2 in the FCS in passing. He led the Lions to a 4–3 record in the shortened spring season.

Kelley was also named the Southland Conference Player of the Year for the Spring, as well as an FCS All-American by…

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Down 24–3 at halftime, the Bearkats of Sam Houston outscored James Madison 28–0 over a five-minute stretch beginning late in the 3rd quarter and held on to defeat James Madison 38–35. With the win, Sam Houston advances to the FCS Championship Game to take on South Dakota State on Sunday, May 16 that 2 pm ET. The game will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Sam Houston came roaring back to win on the strength on 2 touchdown runs and a touchdown pass from QB Eric Schmid, a touchdown run from Ramon Jefferson, and an 80-yard punt return…

By: Tony Thomas The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. 259 draft picks. 259 dreams realized. The Sunbelt Conference was a dream weaver for four of its players on Saturday. Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Louisiana, and South Alabama will be represented with draft picks when training camp opens later this summer.

Here is the list of Sunbelt Conference players drafted into the NFL

CB Shemar Jean-Charles, Appalachian State: Walter Camp 1st team All-American. His 16 pass breakups and 17 passes defended led the FBS, while also recording 37 tackles. Named to the All-Sunbelt Conference 1st team. His Pro Day: 4.47 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical jump, 19 reps at 225 LBS. …

By: Tony Thomas There was plenty at stake in the FCS quarterfinals game between #2 Sam Houston (8–0) and N. Dakota State. For the Bison, an appearance in the FCS semifinals for the 9th consecutive time. For the Bearkats, it was a 14–0 record in home playoff games. There was history, tradition, and a lot of drama. In the end, Sam Houston beat N. Dakota State (7–3) 24–20 to advance to the semifinal round of the FCS playoffs.

Sam Houston ends North Dakota State’s Streak

The loss snapped the Bison’s steak of consecutive FCS semifinal appearances.

Image Credit: Ashley Springer/La. Tech via Zip File

By: Tony Thomas On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, 10 players from the Group of Five conferences, FCS level, and even Division III got the call from NFL head coaches, GM’s, and team executives saying pack your bags-we will see you at training camp.

Here is a look at the players selected on Day 2 of the NFL Draft:

By: Tony Thomas The Group of Five, apparently not worthy enough to play in the College Football Playoff, had two players selected in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Both players, LB Zaven Collins of Tulsa and Payton Turner of Houston, played in the American Athletic Conference. Collins was selected at #16 by the Arizona Cardinals, and Turner went to the New Orleans Saints at #28.

What the Cardinals Get in Zaven Collins

At 6–4, 260, Collins was a three‐year letter winner and three‐year starter. He declared for the NFL draft and did not play
in the Armed Forces Bowl. Named the 2020 National Defensive…

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports

By: Tony Thomas

Jake Bentley, the well-traveled and former SEC quarterback, will be under center (or in the shotgun formation) in the season opener for South Alabama vs Southern Mississippi on September 4th. New head coach Kane Wommack has anointed Bentley, a graduate transfer, the starter for the Jags.

Bentley, 6–3,220 comes home to the state where he graduated high school after stints with South Carolina and Utah.

Jake Bentley at South Carolina

His best year with the Gamecocks came in 2018 when he threw for 3,171 yards, 27 TDs, and 14 INTs. Bentley threw for 510 yards and 5 TDs in a 56–35 loss…

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In the early 1990s, the Texas A&M Aggies were a dominant football team, champions of the Southwest Conference (SWC) in 1993. They won the SWC title the previous two seasons, with a 22–1 overall record and 15–0 in conference play over that stretch.

A Wrecking Crew

The Aggies were led by head coach R.C. Slocum. And, even though they ranked 9th in scoring offense at 35 points per game, the defense was the most talked-about unit. The Wrecking Crew, as they were called, was a Top 5 defense in several categories (stats provided by

  • #1 in Pass Defense= opponents completion percentage of…

Tony Thomas

I’m a Grandparent, military veteran, and college football junkie. My articles have appeared on, the Runner Sports, and Death Valley Voice.

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