A look around the Sun Belt

Troy's confidence belies their status as Alabama's fourth football-playing university.

Updated: September 14, 2004, 2:34 PM ET
By Kevin Acee | Special to ESPN.com
After three years as an Independent, yearning for the opportunities symbolized in such a game, Troy prepares this week for its first-ever Sun Belt Conference contest.

A conference gives you an opportunity to go to a bowl game. A conference gives you a chance for a ring. A conference means you can be all-conference.

"Now we've got something to play for," said Junior Louissant, the rumbling offensive tackle who picked up a teammates' fumble and dashed 63 yards for a touchdown in the Trojans' 24-14 victory over No. 17 Missouri last Thursday. "Our attitude is more focused, we're more of a team now. We know we're playing for something. A couple years ago we weren't playing for anything."

But truth be told, the Trojans have a quiet ambition that reaches beyond the Sun Belt. There is a confidence that belies their status as Alabama's fourth football-playing university.

The players of Troy know where they've come from and seem to have a clear idea where they hope to go. And, evidently, they're not afraid to say it.