Best of the Belt: Ranking the Sun Belt’s Power 5 Resumes

For G5 teams, there are only so many ways outside of head-to-head matchups that you can compare yourself to another school’s resume. The easiest way to show how much better your university is than another is to see how you stack up against the Power 5.

I decided to take a look at how the Sun Belt has fared against the P5 and who has been the most successful. As the focus here is the Sun Belt’s record versus the P5, my formula weighs Sun Belt wins more heavily.

Points are allocated in the following categories:

  • P5 Wins as a non-SBC school – ½ points
  • Total Number of Individual P5 Schools Beaten – 1 point per school
  • P5 Wins as a Sun Belt school – 3 points
  • Road Wins over a P5 school – 5 points
  • Cumulative Margin of Victory beginning at 10 and counting down
  • Ranked Wins over a P5 School – 10 points

 

Of the ten football-playing schools in the Sun Belt, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, and Texas State have never been able to take down one of the P5 Goliaths.

This isn’t surprising as Coastal has only fielded a team since 2003, Georgia State since 2010, and, while being around since 1909, Texas State just hasn’t been that lucky against the Power 5.

That leaves seven teams in The Belt who have beaten at least one P5 school. We’ll count them down from there.

(Full disclosure: I am a Troy grad, but I balanced the formula to ensure fairness across each category)

 

#7 – South Alabama – 13 Points

South Alabama’s lone victory came in 2016 on the road against Mississippi State. That netted them five points. Since their win came as a member of the Sun Belt, they get another three.

Their margin of victory was the lowest total score at one point, giving them four points, the lowest of all seven teams. South also gets one final point for having beaten one P5 team.

 

#6 – University of Louisiana-Lafayette – 14 Points

ULL got 3 points for their three victories (Miami, Kansas State, & Texas A&M), but only one of those (Kansas State) came as a member of the Sun Belt. This one got 3 points, while the other two only netted one. Their 23 point margin of victory total gave ULL 7 points.

While it doesn’t seem so, a major set back for the Cajuns in this ranking is the lack of a road win. This is due to them being the only SBC team to have hosted every P5 team they’ve played, costing them a chance at the 5 point category.

 

#5 – Georgia Southern – 19 points

Georgia Southern has been one of the most successful college football teams, just not in the Sun Belt. That’s really the major factor keeping them from being much higher on the list, having beaten Miami and Florida, but only getting one point for their wins, but 10 for the road wins.

Their margin of victory total of 19 points earned them 5th on the list with six points. Their two wins over P5 teams gives them a final two points.

 

#4 – Arkansas State – 20.5 points

The Red Wolves have beaten both Texas A&M and Ole Miss to earn them two points. One came as a Sun Belt member for three points (Texas A&M), and the other was not, netting only a half a point (Ole Miss). Both were on the road, earning 10 points.

Their 14 point margin of victory total was only good enough for 6th best, however, gaining them only five points.

 

#3 – University of Louisiana-Monroe – 69 points

ULM is tied for the most P5 teams beaten with Troy, having defeated Wake Forest, Louisville, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Alabama most famously, netting them six points off the bat.

They had 8 total wins, with an undefeated record against Wake Forest, the only Sun Belt team to be undefeated in multiple games against a P5 team.

ULM’s eight wins were split with four being in the Sun Belt (12 points) and 4 being outside of it (two points). Six of their wins were on the road, netting them a massive 30 points.

Their 2012 win over #8 Arkansas gained them an extra ten points. ULM’s 65 point margin of victory total was only good enough for second place, netting them 9 points.

 

#2 Appalachian State – 70.5 points

While App has only beaten three P5 teams (Wake Forest, South Carolina, and of course, Michigan), which gave them three points, none of them came while in the Sun Belt. Each win, including the Sun Belt-best seven over Wake, only counted for 4.5 points.

The Mountaineers’ 35-point margin of victory total landed them at third in the Sun Belt with eight points.

Nine of App’s wins were on the road, allowing them to take home 45 points. Their most famous win in school history over #5 Michigan gained them 10 more points.

 

#1 Troy – 71.5 points

The Trojans have defeated, along with ULM, six P5 teams (FSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, LSU, and Nebraska), giving them six points to start.

The Trojans’ margin of victory total was 78 points, far and away the most in the Sun Belt, giving them 10 points.

Troy has the most P5 wins as a Sun Belt member with 5, earning 15 points plus a half point for their FSU win. Four Trojan wins were on the road gaining 20 points. Troy has also beaten two ranked P5 teams (Missouri and LSU), allowing them to add 20 points to their total.

 

The Top 3 of Troy, App, and ULM are lightyears beyond the rest of The Belt when it comes to competing with and beating P5 teams. We’ll see how this list changes after the 2019 season.

I’m looking at you, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, and Texas State.

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