Dr. Sebastian Krackbone answers your Sun Belt Football questions

Howlraiser poses the most difficult conference queries to the world’s least famous fictional Pigskin PhD.

I may appear that I have all the answers. Folks, that’s just an illusion. A sad, pitiful illusion. I’m just a guy with a computer. Who I admire are the real experts – the pontiffs of pigskin who dissect Xs and Os with the dexterity of a high school biology professor dissecting a pickled frog. Who do we turn to when knowledge is as rare as a Warhawks first down? We present to you Dr. Sebastian Krackbone, maestro of all things everything.

Do the Dukes of James Madison Have the FBS depth to last a full season?

[Translated from ancient Proto-Elamite] Absolutely no idea! Sometimes, I look at the roster to see if it’s loaded with heavy-weight offensive linemen – pushing three Benjies at least. James Madison happens to have several lugs on staff. That’s good! The blinking red light on the dashboard? The only guy with experience above sophomore is Nick Kidwell, a 314-pound junior who started every game for the Dukes at right tackle. Silver lining is that James Madison started several freshman at OL last season, and they were just fine. My analysis? [Untranslatable]

Are the Cajuns good enough to repeat in The West?

[Poorly executed Bane voice] Absolutely no idea! Listen, Louisiana not only lost a hot-shot coach in Billy Napier, but a shipload of talent logged out of Lafayette as well. That said, literally anyone, including ULM, can make a play in the SBC West. New head coach Michael Desormeaux has plenty of talent left, but he’s got to replace Levi Lewis at QB and somehow meet unfairly lofty expectations in the bargain. It is victory that has defeated the Cajuns.

Who are the Old Dominion Monarchs?

[Accompanied by Billy Joel on harmonica] Absolutely no idea! The Monarchs made their athletic reps in basketball and baseball but didn’t field a pigskin team until 2009. Oh yeah, they also didn’t field a team in 2020, when COVID-19 made everything stupid. Old Dominion did rebound with a 6-6 record in 2021 and endured a bowl loss to Tulsa. Still, the team’s all mystery, including why did OC Dave Patenaude suddenly bail days before the season opener, and who’s gonna QB this team now that Hayden Wolf is gone? I guess…It’s Just a Matter of Trust.

Why am I personally leery of the South Alabama Jaguars?

[Cracks open a cold Lowenbrau] The Jags were, like, a couple defensive stands from near-greatness last season, and now 2nd year head coach Kane Wommack has to pull the pieces together to finally close escrow. Last season, there was some volatility at QB, with Jake Bentley getting hurt and Desmond Trotter filling in admirably enough. Bentley is gone, now, and Trotter looks to be on clipboard duty behind Toledo transfer Carter Bradley. If Bradley has the supernatural arm that Wommack says he has, the Jaguars may have the defense and the offense to win the West. [burp]

Is this a back-to-reality year for Coastal Carolina?

[Sexy French accent] Yeah, I think so. Grayson McCall is not only shaking off a significant injury, he lost his favorite targets Jaivon Heiligh and Isaiah Likely to the NFL. Defensively, the Chants lose genetically gifted sack master Jeffrey Gunter (also to the NFL), and the rest of the team is still suffering long term effects of being exposed to a surplus of teal. Head coach Jamey Caldwell seems confident in his team, but I expect the Chanticleers to play deep-fried in 2022.

Should ULM just sit this season out?

[wearing a beard of bees] As a doctor, I’m tempted to call “time of death.” With athletic director Scott McDonald announcing his exit mere days before the season opener, one wonders what he saw that made him cut bait at such an inconvenient moment. Fortunately, the Warhawks football team is lead by Terry Bowden, whose Old Man Energy is of the highest voltage. But other than Bowden, ULM is a team without much of a rudder – it was the only program who didn’t have a single player placed on a preseason award watch list.

How much can Arkansas State improve last year’s 2-10 record?

[receiving a sensual straight razor shave from Samantha Mathis] The schedule is extremely agreeable, with the Red Wolves missing conference match-ups with Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina and Georgia State. Plus the defense can’t be any worse, and it appears that the quarterback position is settled with a slightly beefier James Blackman behind center. With the West as soft as it is, the Red Wolves could finish as high as third and as low as next to last.

Will Georgia State disappoint or overjoy?

[between farts] Last season was supposed to be the Panther’s coming out year, which started with a major hiccup until Darren Grainger took over QB duties. Head Coach Shawn Elliot has done wonders building an elite offensive line, but losing Sam Pinckney to divisional foe Coastal Carolina hurts, and the defense may still be too south of mediocre to seriously contend in the difficult SBC East. [fart]

Southern Miss-take, am I right?

[playing chords on a Zeusaphone] No, you’re wrong. The Golden Eagles may finish dead last in the sad Sun Belt West, but that doesn’t mean it was a mistake to add them to the Sun Belt. Southern Miss, behind new head coach Will Hall, is on the rise and is currently leading 2023 Sun Belt recruiting. If Hall is given enough time, he should have Southern Miss competing very quickly.

God, are we at the mercy of Appalachian State again?

[channeling Ross Perot] Pretty much! Chase Brice might have been the Sun Belt’s best quarterback in 2021, and he returns this season fueled by a lava-hot desire to bring a conference title to Boone. Yes, the Mountaineers loose some longtime talent, but the RB combo of Cam Peoples and Nate Noel is enough to frighten linebackers into early retirement, plus that defense isn’t taking a step backwards.

What can we say about Troy?

[temporarily replaced by hated rival Bradley Cooper] Well, they’re back in the Sun Belt West, we can definitely say that! And having been hardened in the Crucible of the East, it stands to reason that the Trojans will be players in the Wide, Wide West. Just bear in mind that Troy enters the season with freshman head coach Jon Sumrall after suffering a dismal 5-7 season.

HOT ANALYSIS: Troy announced on Thursday that the football program has added Jarrett Doege, the former West Virginia University Mountaineers starting quarterback who joins the Trojans by way of transfer from Western Kentucky. Bringing in a high-profile transfer nine days before the stat of the season implies that neither Gunnar Watson or Utah transfer Pete Costelli are impressing Sumrall. After all, why disrupt the harmony of a settled QB situation if everything smells like rose?

Will Marshall become The Sheriff of the Sun Belt?

[Second attempt at Bane voice] Any team with Rasheen Ali at running back has a chance to put on the star and delivery justice for the Sun Belt. But really, I just wanted an opportunity to use that “sheriff” word-play.

Can we finally get a decent season from Texas State?

[polishes monocle] As the great Socrates once said, “Absolutely!” The Bobcats have depth at QB and their roster of transfer talent may be ready-as-ever to deliver a Get Outta San Marcos Year for head coach Jake Spavital. Playing in the Marshmallow West will certainly help the Bobcats’ record, but they’re gonna have to improve on last year’s opponent-friendly defense if Texas State fans want to finally earn that bowl game this season.

What the hell is Clay Helton doing at Georgia Southern?

[Suckin’ on chilli dog outside the Tastee Freeze] Man, who knows? Coach Helton has gone from rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebrities at USC to slurping sludge from Beautiful Eagle Creek. Tasked with pulling the Eagles kicking and screaming into a modern style of football, Helton may be the guy to hammer the final nail of the triple option in Statesboro. Helton brought in Buffalo transfer QB Kyle Vantrease to literally throw the Eagles into an air-raid scheme. Will it work? Don’t ask me.