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Sun Belt Releases 2015 Schedule

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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The Sun Belt Conference released its full 2015 football schedule on Friday which features eight conference games for each of the league's 11 teams as well as 45 regular season non-conference matchups.

Courtesy of the Sun Belt

NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference released its full 2015 football schedule on Friday which features eight conference games for each of the league's 11 teams as well as 45 regular season non-conference matchups.

The Sun Belt Conference returns all 11 members that competed in conference play last season.  Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will be eligible to compete for spots in postseason bowl games after both finished above .500 in their first season as members of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).  Georgia Southern claimed the Sun Belt championship with a perfect 8-0 record in conference play.  Arkansas State (four straight GoDaddy Bowl appearances), Georgia State, Idaho, UL Lafayette (winners of four consecutive R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowls), UL Monroe, New Mexico State, South Alabama (played in its first ever bowl in the inaugural Raycom Camellia Bowl), Texas State, and Troy round out the Sun Belt football membership for the 2015 season.  Idaho and New Mexico State are football-only members.

Arkansas State will travel to South Alabama on Oct. 13 to kick off the 2015 nationally televised Sun Belt schedule.  The Tuesday night contest will be one of two Sun Belt games scheduled for ESPN2.  The Oct. 20 contest between UL Lafayette and Arkansas State will also be featured on ESPN2.  This will be the third consecutive season the Red Wolves and Ragin' Cajuns will play each other on ESPN2.  The Thursday, Oct. 22 rivalry game between Georgia Southern and Appalachian State will be carried on ESPNU for the second consecutive season.   Other ESPNU contest include Texas State at Georgia Southern (Oct. 29), Arkansas State at Appalachian State (Nov. 5), UL Lafayette at South Alabama (Nov. 12), and UL Monroe at Texas State (Nov. 19).

For the third consecutive season all Sun Belt Conference teams will have all their home games available on an ESPN Platform.  A television schedule for the first three weeks of the regular season plus game times for midweek contests will be announced at a later date in June.  For games in the fourth week of the season and beyond, networks will be determined 12 days out from the contest.  

Sun Belt teams will play 45 non-conference games during the 2015 season, 19 of which come against Power 5 conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and Southeastern).  The Sun Belt will face off with its peer conferences (American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, and Mountain West) 15 times.  SEC East champion Missouri will make the trip to Jonesboro, Ark. to take on Arkansas State on Sept. 12.  South Alabama will play host to NC State on Sept. 26.

The 2015 season will conclude with the Sun Belt being guaranteed a minimum of four spots in postseason bowl games – the highest number of bowl games the Sun Belt has ever had.  The Sun Belt maintains partnerships with the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the GoDaddy Bowl, the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl and new for 2015 – the AutoNation Cure Bowl.  Additionally, the College Football Playoff guarantees that a spot among the premier bowl games in college football will be given to the highest-ranked champion from the Group of Five" conferences: the Sun Belt Conference, American Athletic Conference, Mountain West Conference, Mid-American Conference and Conference USA.

2015 Sun Belt Schedule Notes
Breakdown of matchups by conference: AAC (2), ACC (4), Big 10 (2), Big 12 (1), C-USA (5), MAC (5), MW (4), PAC 12 (3), SEC (9).

The Sun Belt will have 24 non-conference games against teams that competed in bowls last season.  The Sun Belt opponents combined to go 14-10 in bowl games.

The 2015 Sun Belt schedule is a mirror of the league's 2014 schedule in that all teams play the same opponents they did a year ago, but the site of the game is flipped.

Idaho will play the first game of the season by a Sun Belt team as it hosts Ohio in the Kibbie Dome on Thursday, Sept. 3.

UL Monroe will play 13 games during the 2015 season, while all other Sun Belt teams play 12.  The Warhawks travel to Hawaii on Nov. 28, which allows them to play five non-conference games.  UL Monroe will play Tulsa on Oct. 10. – the Golden Hurricane are the only American Athletic school to oppose a Sun Belt team in both of the past two seasons.  Texas State defeated Tulsa 37-34 in triple overtime during the 2014 campaign.

Georgia State is the only team that will play all six Sun Belt teams that finished with a record of .500 or better during the 2014 season (Appalachian State, Arkansas State, UL Lafayette, Texas State, South Alabama, and Georgia Southern).

For the second consecutive season, a Sun Belt school will travel to Gainesville, Fla. to open the season as New Mexico State will play the Gators on Sept.  5.  It should be noted though that Idaho's contest against Florida was cancelled immediately following the opening kickoff last season due to severe weather in the area.

With a game scheduled against Georgia on Nov. 21, Georgia Southern will have played every FBS team in Georgia in the last two years after playing Georgia Tech and Georgia State last year.  The Eagles finish their 2015 slate on Dec. 5 by hosting Georgia State.

South Alabama will play more teams that finished .500 or better last season than any other school in the Sun Belt.  The Jaguars take on eight teams who finished at least 6-6 (Nebraska, San Diego State, NC State, Arkansas State, Texas State, UL Lafayette, Georgia Southern, and Appalachian State)

Arkansas State, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State, and Troy will each face five bowl teams from the 2014 season.

Appalachian State will look to continue its six game winning streak dating back to last season when it hosts Howard on Sept. 5 at Kidd-Brewer Stadium.

New Troy head coach Neal Brown will lead the Trojans against four bowl teams in five games including trips to NC State, Wisconsin, and Mississippi State.

New Mexico State and Georgia State open Sun Belt conference play with a matchup at Aggie Memorial Stadium on Sept. 12.  It will be the second consecutive year these two teams have opened the Sun Belt schedule.

UL Lafayette plays three games against opponents from Louisiana including conference rival UL Monroe on Halloween night.  UL Lafayette will also take on Northwestern State (Sept. 12) and Louisiana Tech (Oct. 3) in non-conference action.

Arkansas State plays three games on national television, the most of any Sun Belt school.  The Red Wolves face off with South Alabama and UL Lafayette on consecutive Tuesdays in October which will both be televised on ESPN2.  Arkansas State plays Appalachian State on ESPNU on Nov. 5.

2015 Sun Belt Football Schedule

September 2 or September 4

Charlotte at Georgia State

Thursday, September 3

Ohio at Idaho

Saturday, September 5

Howard at Appalachian State
Arkansas State at Southern California
Georgia Southern at West Virginia
Charlotte at Georgia State
UL Lafayette at Kentucky
UL Monroe at Georgia
New Mexico State at Florida
Gardner-Webb at South Alabama
Texas State at Florida State
Troy at NC State

Saturday, September 12

Appalachian State at Clemson
Missouri at Arkansas State
Western Michigan at Georgia Southern
* Georgia State at New Mexico State
Idaho at Southern California
Northwestern State at UL Lafayette
Nicholls State at UL Monroe
South Alabama at Nebraska
Prairie View A&M at Texas State
Charleston Southern at Troy

Saturday, September 19

Missouri State at Arkansas State
The Citadel at Georgia Southern
Georgia State at Oregon
Wofford at Idaho
UTEP at New Mexico State
South Alabama at San Diego State
Southern Mississippi at Texas State
Troy at Wisconsin

Saturday, September 26

Appalachian State at Old Dominion
Arkansas State at Toledo
* Georgia Southern at Idaho
Akron at UL Lafayette
UL Monroe at Alabama
NC State at South Alabama
Texas State at Houston

Saturday, October 3

Wyoming at Appalachian State
* Idaho at Arkansas State
* Georgia Southern at UL Monroe
Liberty at Georgia State
UL Lafayette at Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State at New Mexico
* South Alabama at Troy

Saturday, October 10

* Appalachian State at Georgia State
* Texas State at UL Lafayette
UL Monroe at Tulsa
New Mexico State at Ole Miss
Troy at Mississippi State

Tuesday, October 13

* Arkansas State at South Alabama (ESPN2)

Saturday, October 17

* Appalachian State at UL Monroe
* New Mexico State at Georgia Southern
Georgia State at Ball State
* Idaho at Troy

Tuesday, October 20

* UL Lafayette at Arkansas State (ESPN2)

Thursday, October 22

* Georgia Southern at Appalachian State (ESPNU)

Saturday, October 24

* UL Monroe at Idaho
* Troy at New Mexico State
* South Alabama at Texas State

Thursday, October 29

* Texas State at Georgia Southern (ESPNU)

Saturday, October 31

* Troy at Appalachian State
* Georgia State at Arkansas State
* Idaho at New Mexico State
* UL Monroe at UL Lafayette

Thursday, November 5

* Arkansas State at Appalachian State (ESPNU)

Saturday, November 7

* UL Lafayette at Georgia State
* Idaho at South Alabama
* UL Monroe at Troy
* New Mexico State at Texas State

Thursday, November 12

* UL Lafayette at South Alabama (ESPNU)

Saturday, November 14

* Appalachian State at Idaho
* Arkansas State at UL Monroe
* Georgia Southern at Troy
* Georgia State at Texas State

Thursday, November 19

* UL Monroe at Texas State (ESPNU)

Saturday, November 21

Georgia Southern at Georgia
* South Alabama at Georgia State
Idaho at Auburn
* New Mexico State at UL Lafayette

November 27 or November 28

* Troy at Georgia State

Saturday, November 28

* UL Lafayette at Appalachian State
* Arkansas State at New Mexico State
* South Alabama at Georgia Southern
* Texas State at Idaho
UL Monroe at Hawaii

Saturday, December 5

* Appalachian State at South Alabama
* Texas State at Arkansas State
* Georgia State at Georgia Southern
* Troy at UL Lafayette
* New Mexico State at UL Monroe

* denotes Sun Belt Conference game

Schedule is subject to change