Sun Belt adding Championship Game in 2018

By Brian Wilmer -

The Sun Belt Conference will add a conference championship game for the 2018 season, ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and the AP report.  The league has a teleconference scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, on which the announcement will likely be made.

(UPDATE:  2:07pm, 6/8/16)

The league has now confirmed this news in a release.

“On behalf of the Sun Belt Conference’s Presidents and Chancellors I am excited to announce that the conference will conduct its first ever football championship game following the 2018 regular season,” said Sun Belt Conference and Texas State University President Dr. Denise Trauth.  “We have furthered the mission of providing the best possible experience for our student-athletes as this will truly be a first-rate experience. I am also proud to say that the Sun Belt Conference presidents and chancellors, along with the athletic directors, were 100 percent unified in this decision.  The unanimous vote carries with it a great sense of community and camaraderie for all of the Sun Belt Conference.”

League Commissioner Karl Benson added, “This is a historic moment that represents yet another step forward for the Sun Belt Conference,  The membership of the Sun Belt has been engaged in a significant number of advancements for the betterment of the league – to an extent this is the culmination of those efforts.”

“Sun Belt football student-athletes will make everlasting memories playing in the championship game during the upcoming years.  This championship will be a first-class experience – and we look forward to it being a launching-pad for a team to reach the College Football Playoff’s ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl games,” stated Benson.

The league will field ten football-playing members in that season, with Coastal Carolina replacing the departing Idaho and New Mexico State.  The AP notes that an NCAA regulation passed earlier this year will allow conferences with fewer than 12 teams to hold a championship contest.

Dates, sites and other logistics have yet to be announced.

  1. Z Man
    June 8, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Conference realignment dominoes could fall by 2018.

  2. Traegan
    June 10, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    West division is Appalachian state, Texas State, Arkansas State, Idaho, New Mexico State, and Coastal Carolina. The other division is the Belt Division is Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana- Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette , Troy State, and South Alabama. On thanksgiving week games are Texas State vs Arkansas state, Idaho vs New Mexico State, Coastal Carolina vs Appalachian state, Georgia Southern vs Georgia State, Troy State, vs South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe vs Louisiana-Lafayette.

    • Christopher
      June 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      What are you talking about Traegan………..in 2018 both Idaho & NMSU are gone.

      Possible East
      App
      GS
      GAST
      CCU
      Troy

      Possible West
      UL
      ULM
      USA
      stAte
      TXST

    • JC
      June 19, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Why is Louisville in the Sunbelt?

    • Christopher
      June 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      UL = Louisiana, which is the preferred name for ULL or Louisiana Lafayette

  3. Traegan
    June 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Why Is Idaho and New Mexico state gone?

    • Kevin Kelley
      June 11, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      The conference is not renewing their membership.

    • Steve
      June 13, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      Reading comprehension is fun! The final paragraph states,” The league will field ten football-playing members in that season, with Coastal Carolina replacing the departing Idaho and New Mexico State. The AP notes that an NCAA regulation passed earlier this year will allow conferences with fewer than 12 teams to hold a championship contest.”

    • Kevin Clifton
      June 14, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      I say instead of divisions, why not go the Big 12 route and have a round robin and then a conference championship? Furthermore, I comment the Sun Belt on trimming the fat by dropping Idaho and NMSU.

  4. Traegan
    June 11, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I think BYU and Massachusetts good thing to put them in the Sun Belt conference? Passible west and belt division. Here is the Possible division
    Possible West is Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Taxes State, Arkansas State, Mass, and BYU. Belt Division is Georgia southern, Georgia State, Troy State, South Alabama, Louisiana Lafayette, and Louisiana-Monroe. On thanksgiving week games are App St vs CCU, Taxes State vs Arkansas State, Mass vs BYU, Georgia Southern vs Georgia State, Troy State vs South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe vs Louisiana- Lafayette.

    • Day
      June 12, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      I know 100% BYU is never going to the SunBelt, that would be beneath them & they would be going backwards, BYU is considered by many as a Power 5 team & they play a hard schedule every year. As for Umass, I think they are looking for something bigger, may be the AAC.

    • Traegan
      June 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      About Army and Massachusetts join the sunbelt conference ? West Division is Appalachian state, Coastal Carolina, Taxes State, Arkansas State, Army, and Massachusetts. The belt division is Troy state, South Alabama, Georgia State, Southern Georgia, Louisiana -Monroe, and Louisiana-Layette. . On thanksgiving week games are App St vs CCU, Taxes State vs Arkansas State, Mass vs Army, Georgia Southern vs Georgia State, Troy State vs South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe vs Louisiana- Lafayette.

    • Shep
      June 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

      BYU is Big XII or bust… which pretty much means bust. SBC shouldn’t have any interest in UMass for the same reason they cut ties with Idaho and NMSU – program that is too far away from the bulk of its members that doesn’t add value and would never join in all sports (which is why they were sent off from the MAC). Pretty much the only option the SBC has moving forwards is replacing departed members for FCS call-ups, or seeing if non-football members UTA and UALR would be interested in adding programs.

  5. Traegan
    June 20, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    About Army and Massachusetts join the sunbelt conference ? West Division is Appalachian state, Coastal Carolina, Taxes State, Arkansas State, Army, and Massachusetts. The belt division is Troy state, South Alabama, Georgia State, Southern Georgia, Louisiana -Monroe, and Louisiana-Layette. . On thanksgiving week games are App St vs CCU, Taxes State vs Arkansas State, Mass vs Army, Georgia Southern vs Georgia State, Troy State vs South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe vs Louisiana- Lafayette.

  6. JC16
    June 21, 2016 at 2:30 am

    I say all FBS conferences should consist of 14 teams, 9 conference games, and a championship game. Current conferences that don’t have 14 teams should look like this (In my opinion):
    Big XII -> XIV Pac 12 -> 14
    Oklahoma Texas Arizona Stanford
    Oklahoma St. Texas Tech Arizona St. UCLA
    Kansas TCU California USC
    Kansas St. Baylor Colorado Utah
    Iowa St. BYU Colorado St. Utah St.
    West Virginia Boise St. Oregon Washington
    Cincinnati Memphis Oregon St. Washington St.

    American Athletic Mountain West
    Connecticut Temple Air Force New Mexico
    East Carolina SMU Fresno St. San Diego St.
    Houston UCF Hawaii San Jose St.
    Navy USF Nevada UNLV
    Tulane Tulsa Wyoming New Mexico St.
    Bowling Green Louisiana Tech Eastern Washington Montana
    Marshall Northern Illinois Rice North Dakota St.

    Conference-USA Mid-American
    Charlotte Old Dominion Akron Kentucky St.
    FIU Southern Miss. Ball St. Miami (OH)
    Florida Atlantic UAB Buffalo Ohio
    Middle Tennessee UTEP Central Michigan Toledo
    North Texas UTSA Eastern Michigan Western Michigan
    Western Kentucky Arkansas St. Northern Iowa Appalachian St.
    Georgia Southern UL Lafayette Illinois State South Dakota St.

    Sun Belt Independent
    Coastal Carolina Texas St. Notre Dame
    Georgia St. Troy Massachusetts
    South Alabama UL Monroe Army
    Bethune-Cookman Charleston Southern
    Sam Houston St. South Dakota
    Citadel North Dakota
    Jacksonville St. Youngstown St.

    Play-off format should extend to twelve teams with the top four seeded teams with a bye-week. Play-offs would feature the ten conference champions and two wild cards in a bracket broken down into four preliminary games, quarter finals, semi-finals, and championship game. Preliminary match-ups to be played at the home field of the higher seeded team. Quarter finals, semi-finals, and championship game played on neutral fields.

    In my opinion, college football would greatly benefit from a more uniformed set up and bring a level of fairness and a higher competitive atmosphere that has thus far eluded the game. It is true that the “group of five” conferences would be at a big disadvantage in overall conference strength in comparison to the “power five” conferences. However, the champions of the group of five conferences would have earned their right to be in the play-off picture with the potential of playing for the national title. Eventually the strength of conferences would be more balanced as time goes on but it will take quite some time to be sure. However, at least the game would evolve and not be subjugated to bias opinions in favor of elitism and “brand name” programs monopolizing the recruiting process.

    Side Note: The Sun Belt was the hardest conference to reform in my conference realignment model.

    • JC16
      June 21, 2016 at 2:38 am

      I had spaced out the conferences in my list but the site crammed it all together for some reason so just to be clear the two schools on the right are associated with the conference to the right and the two schools on the left with the conference on the left hand side.

    • Christopher
      June 21, 2016 at 9:03 am

      No & No

  7. Traegan
    September 5, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    About Army and Massachusetts join the sunbelt conference ? West Division is Appalachian state, Coastal Carolina, Taxes State, Arkansas State, Army, and Massachusetts. The belt division is Troy state, South Alabama, Georgia State, Southern Georgia, Louisiana -Monroe, and Louisiana-Layette. . On thanksgiving week games are App St vs CCU, Taxes State vs Arkansas State, Mass vs Army, Georgia Southern vs Georgia State, Troy State vs South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe vs Louisiana- Lafayette. Because if Colorado state will join the Big 12 New Mexico State will join the Mountain West conference. or Huston will join so maybe Notre dame will be in the American conference.

  8. traegan
    November 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Because if Army and Massachusetts join in the sunbelt. their is 2 teams left in independent. About Army and Massachusetts join the sunbelt conference ? West Division is Appalachian state, Coastal Carolina, Taxes State, Arkansas State, Army, and Massachusetts. The belt division is Troy state, South Alabama, Georgia State, Southern Georgia, Louisiana -Monroe, and Louisiana-Layette. . On thanksgiving week games are App St vs CCU, Taxes State vs Arkansas State, Mass vs Army, Georgia Southern vs Georgia State, Troy State vs South Alabama, and Louisiana-Monroe vs Louisiana- Lafayette. also their is 5 east divisions in FBS and only 4 west. so, fair the sunbelt conference name the division west to balance the FBS conferences.

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