A few days prior to its big media day event, the Sun Belt released its coaches preseason poll.
Football Bowl Subdivision newcomers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern took seventh and eighth in the poll. The two schools begin their first season as Sun Belt members after ranking first and third in NCAA FCS Championships with nine titles between them.
The poll is rounded out by Idaho (9), Georgia State (10), and New Mexico State (11). Idaho and New Mexico State will be making their return to the Sun Belt Conference as football only members having last played in the Sun Belt during the 2004 season.
UL Lafayette was the unanimous No. 1 pick (Mountaineers visit there in season’s final road game). Arkansas State (App’s penultimate road game) was second, followed by South Alabama (in Boone Oct. 4).
App State’s trip to Southern Miss will have a 7 p.m. kickoff. on the American Sports Network – “It has deals in place with NCAA Division I conferences including Conference USA, Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference and Patriot League. The initiative will be carried on Sinclair stations across the country.” Here’s a map.
Big news out yesterday as the Sun Belt and ESPN announced that App State’s FBS debut at the Big House will be carried live on ESPN2.
“Appalachian State will play their first game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference at 11 a.m. C.T. at Michigan Stadium. This will be the Mountaineers’ first trip to Ann Arbor since 2007 when they won a 34-32 game over the No. 5 ranked Wolverines. The Mountaineers, ranked No. 1 in the FCS at the time, blocked a game-winning field goal in the waning seconds to secure the historic win at Michigan.”
This puts the Mountaineers on a national stage for 2 of the first 5 games of the season.
“It’s exciting to know that a national audience will be tuned in for Appalachian State’s first game as an NCAA Division I FBS program,” Appalachian State director of athletics Charlie Cobb said. “One of the many reasons that we chose to return to the Big House was the probability that the game would be televised nationally. Along with our Sun Belt Conference opener at Georgia Southern (Sept. 25 on ESPNU), we now have two regular-season games that will be shown on over-the-air ESPN networks this year — a first in Appalachian State history. The exposure to a national audience that these televised games affords our football program, athletics department and University is worth millions of dollars and also gives our students, alumni and fans that can’t be at the games the opportunity to cheer on the Mountaineers wherever they might be.”
The release from the mothership went deeper offering more details about an expanded agreement between the Sun Belt and ESPN:
“..the Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announced an expansion within their agreement on Wednesday that will result in the exclusive distribution of up to an additional 50 Sun Belt events on ESPN3. The 50 events will include several football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball regular-season games as well as the Sun Belt men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball championships.”
So, now that ‘the Reckoning’ will be televised are you going or staying home and watching?
44 days and counting… Give’em Hell!
News – “After playing in just two games apiece in 2013, App State DL Ronald Blair and DB Jordan Ford have been granted medical redshirts. Each gained an additional season of athletic eligibility. App State opens fall camp Aug. 1 in preparation for the season opener at Michigan.” Sun Belt media day is Tuesday.
App State’s debut in FBS is just a short 52 days away! All new foes and all new shows! And, man oh man, what new challenges!
A reporter for an Alabama news site recently decided to rank the toughest Sun Belt schedules in 2014. South Alabama came out on top with regard to toughest overall.
The toughest in-conference slate? Well …
Give ‘em hell!
Conference schedule, by difficulty:
1. Appalachian State
2. Georgia State
3. New Mexico State
5. Texas State
7. South Alabama
9. Arkansas State
11. Georgia Southern
The strength of schedule is computed with last year’s Sagarin rankings, and no regard for preseason guesstimations. But it does confirm suspicions – App State is gonna have it tough!
Then again ….. the scheduling locations suggest otherwise.
Consider. App State has eight league games next season, evenly split between home and away.
The four Sun Belt teams coming to Boone were a combined 13-35 overall last season. None had a winning record; two broke even, one won once, and one didn’t win at all. On the road they went 6-19. Going back further, only two have managed a winning record in the past three seasons …. once each.
South Alabama (6-6)
Georgia State (0-12)
UL Monroe (6-6)
The teams the Mountaineers will visit were a combined 30-19. All were .500 or better overall on the year, with just one loss at home apiece.
Arkansas State (8-5)
In summation – hard road to travel, easy home to defend (in theory).
Of course, App State’s once vaunted home field advantage was … to put it mildly … nuked last season. The inaugural FBS season fittingly provides potential baby steps to rebuilding it.
Along with the four league games outlined, App State will be playing host to Campbell (3-9) and Liberty (8-4). The Flames will be the only team venturing into The Rock coming off a winning season in 2013.
Obviously past performance is not indicative of future results, either with regard to the opponents or App State itself. Adjust expectations accordingly.
Sun Belt welcome. Nice video.
Satterfield preaches patience. “I think in three or four years, once you get established at the FBS level, then you want to start to looking at how successful you are in terms of wins.”
ESPN Radio in New Orleans with Coach Satterfield. High praise for defense.
Meet the new neighbors. In state puzzle form. Here are a few facts from each.
A new era begins. That’s a sweet print.
So is this. The 2014 football poster. And it’s blowin’ up!
Almost close to maximum. “Cobb said the football team has “about 80″ of the allotted 85 football scholarships filled.”
Meanwhile, welcome the new chancellor. Good luck and welcome!
Goodbye Raley. Hello Peacock!
Sun Belt expansion on hold. “Sun Belt-school presidents have essentially sent a message that a viable candidate for new and full membership simply doesn’t currently exist in their eyes.”
Lotta conference shifting today. “Of the 128 schools to play at the FBS level this season, more than 40 percent have made at least one move during the past decade.”
Someone misread the memo. Nice headline. (In case it’s changed, here it is hours after posting).
Black and Golden Warrior. Gentry named associate head coach at Golden State.
Meanwhile, in Durham. “Coming off a 33-win season and the program’s first winning conference record in 20 years, Pollard is looking to build baseball into a perennial contender in the loaded ACC.”
/deep breath … slow exhale … begins singing
New challenges. New rivals. New …. almost everything.
To what are you most looking forward?
NEW LOOK. Yosef now looks pretty virile!
Way back in 2011 when App State conducted a feasibility study to make like the Jeffersons, it was established the move was going to be expensive, but profitable.
It’s all there beginning with page 48. The best guess was expected revenue of $21.36 million against expenses of $20.43 million.
Translation … profit of just under $1 million.
suh-WEET! … *If* it happens.
Last week the App State athletic director gave an update on those numbers, now that the big move is nigh (T-minus 11 hours, 20 minutes!). He discussed expected expenses for FBS Year 1, which are right at $20.6 million, give or take.
Cobb said salaries* and benefits would increase $400,000 to $450,000 next fiscal year, scholarship costs would increase $600,000 and operating costs would rise $1 million. The most significant increase in operating costs, he noted, is in the line item for travel, which will increase about $800,000.
The department’s budget was about $16 million in fiscal year 2012-13.
Also noted, more than half the budget is coming from student fees; $10.8 million. But that’s no biggie since, according to Cobb, “many institutions in the Sun Belt and the SoCon, student fees represent 70 to 85 percent of total revenue.”
We liked this part -
The department spends the most on the ASU football program at $5,192,703, and the program also serves as a significant source of revenue, with nearly $2 million in projected ticket sales, $1.2 million in game guarantees from Michigan and Southern Mississippi and additional revenues from Yosef Club contributions, concessions, licensing and sponsorship fees and other sources.
“Obviously, for us football is a major revenue stream. It makes the whole engine run for us,” Cobb said.
Yet nearly $2 million plus $1.2 million plus (according to FBS report) $250,000 in concessions plus $900,000 in licensing/sponsorships equals, uh, less than $5,192,703. Quite the, uh, engine?
We kid of course, cause athletic numbers are quite dodgy. For example, according to a database of NCAA finances compiled by USA Today, App State recently had the 118th highest athletic budget in Division I.
The department had $19.78 million in revenue and $21.4 million in expenses for a deficit(!) of roughly $1.62 million.
/makes “vroom vroom” noises
We snark only because one of the main driving points of the big move was all the magic money which would instantly appear, all without burdening the student population.
Together we rise.
* time for some people to get paid! And we ain’t talkin’ coaches! (wink, wink)
Random, obscure website with random, obscure predictions. No. Way. …. Right?
App State football at bottom of Sun Belt … in salary. “Scott Satterfield of incoming SBC-member Appalachian State has the lowest base pay at $225,000.”
Spagnolo is coming back. NCAA granted a waiver, giving him a sixth season of eligibility.
ASU hangs App State. 13 days.
Sun Belt swag. Bowl helmets on display.
It’s come to this. C’mon man.
Lynch already done for season. Placed on injured reserve by Colts due to an undisclosed injury
Presley pleased. After practice Wednesday, Carolina coach Ron Rivera is asked if a player distinguished himself. “De’Andre Presley,” Rivera says.”
Quick praise. “Probably the most improved player I’ve seen is Brian Quick,” Schottenheimer said. “He’s doing a great job.”
Sam the man. “The Lions were so impressed with Martin’s rookie season he’s currently going unopposed for punting duties this season.”
Saint Cadet. “Cadet has been showing off his speed and elusiveness while both running the football and catching passes out of the backfield.”
Rauch rules. “He’s kicked the winning point or points twice in the past four weeks for the Pittsburgh Power in the Arena Football League.”
Washington watch. Nice catch.
Carisa in China. Hong Kong fun.
Soon – “Appalachian State University and the Town of Boone have teamed up to host several events in celebration of Appalachian State officially joining the Sun Belt Conference on Tuesday, July 1.” Includes Boone Area Chamber of Commerce “Wake Up Watauga Breakfast” at Appalachian Athletics Center, coaches interacting with community along streets of Boone, canvassing for the Junior Mountaineer Kids Club and a Sun Belt Day reception at the Jones House Community Center.
Online – “App State’s 2014 home opener versus Campbell will air live on ESPN3. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. It was also announced on Tuesday that App State’s Sept. 25 Sun Belt matchup at longtime rival Georgia Southern, which is set to be televised nationally on ESPNU, will kick off at 7:30 p.m.” Sun Belt will have 11 early games on ESPN3, 2 on ESPNU.
Here’s something for the bulletin board. Athlon has posted its projected Sun Belt standings for 2014 and, well, motivation?
It has App State finishing in 8th place at 2-6, 4-8 overall. We guess the two league wins will be Georgia State and Georgia Southern (natch). The other two have to be Campbell and Liberty.
Here’s the team preview.
While on the staff at Florida International, Satterfield did win a Sun Belt title, so he understands what Appalachian State is up against. And with a team that will lean on young talent, there’s reason to believe that the Mountaineers will eventually be a force in their new league. Still, there’s a strong chance their first taste of FBS life — which begins with a trip to Michigan, site of their unforgettable 2007 upset — will have some bumpy moments.
We’ll share our guesses later in the offseason. And we can guarantee ours will be as meaningless and random as Athlon’s. Michigan 24, App State 54!