The first official preseason poll of the 2013 season is out
It's not the AP Top 25, but the first official preseason poll of the 2013 season has been released. In conjunction with the conference's media day in New Orleans, the Sun Belt's coaches have unveiled their view of how the conference will shake out in 2013.
According to the league's eight head coaches, the Sun Belt title runs through Louisiana.
1. Louisiana-Lafayette 57 points (4 first-place votes)
1. Louisiana-Monroe 57 (2)
3. Arkansas State 45 (2)
4. Western Kentucky 44
5. Troy 35
6. Texas State 23
7. South Alabama 19
8. Georgia State 8
Arkansas State has claimed the last two Sun Belt titles under two different head coaches. Bryan Harsin is at the helm of the Red Wolves' program now, along with fellow newcomers Bobby Petrino (Western Kentucky) and Trent Miles (Georgia State). Speaking of newcomers, Texas State and Georgia State make their debut as Sun Belt members following the departures of Florida Atlantic, Florida Interational, Middle Tennessee and North Texas for Conference USA.
ULM senior quarterback Kolton Browning was named the Sun Belt's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Western Kentucky junior linebacker Andrew Jackson took home defensive honors. (The full all-conference teams can be viewed here.)
The conference also announced 29 games that have been selected for airing on the conference's television package. Sun Belt games can be seen across a variety of platforms - ESPN3, ESPNU, Cox Sports Television, Comcast Sports Southeast and Sun Belt Network.
Six Sun Belt teams can be found on TV on the season's opening weekend, including a rare live broadcast by ESPNNews of Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky from Nashville at 7 p.m. ET on Aug. 31.
Judging by the coaches' opinions on how the league will unfold, Sun Belt games to see include: Western Kentucky at Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 3 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU), Louisiana-Lafayette at Western Kentucky on Oct. 15 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2), Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas State on Oct. 22 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and Louisiana-Monroe at Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 30. For the record, the Ragin' Cajuns' dates with the Hilltoppers and Red Wolves both fall on Tuesdays. Adjust your viewing schedule accordingly.