Football: SBC Announces League Schedules For 2018, 2019 Seasons
NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference released its 2018 and 2019 conference football schedules on Wednesday.
The 2018 schedule is significant as it marks the first Sun Belt football schedule with a divisional structure in place. The Sun Belt will be split in two five-team divisions (East and West) and the winners of each division will meet in the inaugural Sun Belt football championship game in December 2018.
The two previously released football divisions are:
West: Arkansas State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State
The winners of each division will meet in the championship game. The game will be played at the home stadium of the divisional winner that has the best ranking in the College Football Playoff (CFP) poll.
"Our move to a divisional structure and being able to conduct a football championship game marks one of the most significant moments in Sun Belt history," said Commissioner Karl Benson. "Sun Belt administrators have worked hard to get an alignment structure that makes geographical sense and will enable us to play our championship game. Our coaches, student-athletes and fans will enjoy a first class experience as our champion is crowned."
With the Sun Belt moving forward as a 10-team league, the rotation of opponents for each team has been reset. The conference will maintain its eight game schedule and teams will continue to play four home games and four away games. Teams will play each team within their division every season – two at home and two away.
Also of note, the conference athletic directors voted in favor of having South Alabama and Troy play every season despite not being in the same division.
The release of the two-year schedule comes just weeks before the start of the 2017 football season. The conference is coming off of a banner year in 2016 in which six bowl teams combined for the second best bowl winning percentage in all of college football – trailing only the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Sun Belt finished third in a ranking among the "Group of Five" conferences last season – ahead of both the Mid-American Conference and Conference-USA.