The Top Team in the Southland Conference the Last Three Years

Sam Houston Super Squad Banner

This is the third post in our 24-part #SuperSquad series, recognizing the best programs in every single Division I FBS & FCS Conference over the last three years, as well as the upperclassmen & staff who’ve anchored them.

The Braves went 7-5, 9-4, & 9-4, finishing 2nd, 1st, & 1st each year in the SWAC, according to Hierank’s rankings.

Congratulations to the Sam Houston State Bearkats for having the best football program in the Southland Conference, the last three years!

Special Honors to the 34 student athletes who were on the roster each of these three seasons, 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20:

Erick Fowler, Eric Schmid, Marquis Bates, Jaylen Thomas, Ty Brock, Daniel Adams, Coree Compton, Zyon McCollum, Tristin McCollum, Hunter Brown, Kyran Jackson, Danzell Sims, Royce See, Markel Perry, Cameron Hearn, Tucker Addington, Connor Crow, Mark Fernandez, Drew Mahlen, Colby Thomas, Carter Starcke, Ben Bankston, Luke Melton, Tyler Edwards, Kevin Sprinkles, Zack Kinninger, Sam Spencer, Nathan Stewart, Tevyn Stevenson, Quan Ardoin, Josh Moore, Cody Brewer, Brandon Jackson Jr., Moses Johnson

Before getting deeper into our winners’ accolades, let’s count down the conference runners-up, from worst-to-first:


11th

Houston Baptist Huskies, #250

1.5 Super Squad Rating

Houston Baptist Huskies logo

Record:

7-27 Overall
2-24 Southland
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

23.5

Best Finish:

#237 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

2017 and 2018 were horrible years for the Huskies, with zero conference wins, and only two wins overall. Last year finally looked up; as they won nearly half their games, including two in the conference.


10th

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, #239

2.1 Super Squad Rating

Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks logo

Record:

9-24 Overall
9-18 Southland Conference
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

31.2

Best Finish:

#198 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

There’s very little to say about this squad. Never the worst, but never good.


9th

Lamar Cardinals, #238

2.1 Super Squad Rating

Lamar Cardinals logo

Record:

13-22 Overall
9-18 Southland Conference
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

31.1

Best Finish:

#190 Overall
(2018-19 Season)

This particular Lamar cohort peaked with winning overall & conference records (7-5, 6-3) in 2018, then ended up putting in a last-place effort in 2019 (4-8, 2-7) to knock them down substantially on the list.


8th

Incarnate Word Cardinals, #227

2.3 Super Squad Rating

Incarnate Word Cardinals logo

Record:

12-22 Overall
11-14 Southland Conference
1 Southland Championship* (shared, 2018)

Average Power:

33.5

Best Finish:

#172 Overall
(2018-19 Season)

This Cardinals squad is the worst-overall program to have taken home a conference championship so far in our analysis. In 2018, they shared the title with a much better Nicholls team, who won two more games, and who Hierank ranked 51 positions better, at #121.


7th

Abilene Christian Wildcats, #217

2.4 Super Squad Rating

Abilene Christian Wildcats logo

Record:

13-21 Overall
11-16 Southland
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

35.5

Best Finish:

#203 Overall
(2018-19 Season)

While it’s not obviously apparent from their year-to-year records (2-9, 6-5, 5-7), this Wildcats cohort performed remarkably-consistently over the three years, ranking #216, #203, #216 with power ratings between 33.3 and 36.7 the whole time.


6th

Northwestern State Demons, #214

2.5 Super Squad Rating

Northwestern State Demons logo

Record:

12-22 Overall
11-16 Southland
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

35.5

Best Finish:

#177 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

Three seasons near-but-below .500 put the Demons smack-dab in the middle of the Southland Conference’s Super Squads rankings.


5th

Southeastern Louisiana Lions, #166

3.5 Super Squad Rating

SE Louisiana Lions logo

Record:

18-17 Overall
16-11 Southland
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

44.4

Best Finish:

#128 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

The Lions managed two winning seasons, an FCS playoff win, and a winning record overall and in the Southland to land nearly 50 spots ahead of Northwestern State, fifth on this list.


4th

McNeese Cowboys, #158

3.8 Super Squad Rating

McNeese Cowboys logo

Record:

22-12 Overall
17-10 Southland Conference
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

45.9

Best Finish:

#81 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

While not topping this list, the Cowboys put in the single best season performance so far, in any of our three lists to date. Unfortunately for McNeese this was in their 2017 season, and the two since have been rather mediocre.


3rd

Central Arkansas Bears, #135

4.5 Super Squad Rating

Central Arkansas Bears logo

Record:

25-11 Overall
21-6 Southland Conference
2 Southland Championships
(2019 Shared, 2017)

Average Power:

49.0

Best Finish:

#50 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

The Bears were the least of three tight-leading Southland teams. Despite outright and shared Conference titles, and the first Top 50 (2017) team we’ve covered, a mediocre 2018 Season knocks them to third on this list.


2nd

Nicholls Colonels, #132

4.6 Super Squad Rating

Nicholls Colonels logo

Record:

26-13 Overall
21-6 Southland Conference
2 Southland Championship
(Shared, 2018 & 2019)

Average Power:

51.5

Best Finish:

#121 Overall
(2018-19 Season)

Nicholls was the most consistent of the Southland’s top three, falling between #121-130 all three years. Going 7-2 in the conference each year and sharing two titles wasn’t enough to take the top spot however.


WINNER

Sam Houston State Bearkats, #128

4.7 Super Squad Rating

Sam Houston State Bearkats logo

Record:

25-12 Overall
19-8 Southand
0 Southland Championships

Average Power:

49.7

Best Finish:

#45 Overall
(2017-18 Season)

With no Conference Championships over the three year period, Sam Houston is the most disputable Super Squad we’ve awarded to-date. The chief reason for their title is their deep FCS playoff run in 2017, where they ended 12-2, and #45 in Division I, according to Hierank’s overall rankings.

The Bearkats followed 2017 with two less-stellar winning seasons, showing an unfortunate downward trajectory that will make this award hard to repeat in 2021.

Congratulations to Sam Houston’s coaches, staff, administrators, all players, and especially the 34 young men present on the roster all three years!

Sam Houston State Bearkats Super Squad Plaque
Congratulations Bearkat squad for being the best Southland team since 2017!


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