On the plus side – for the first time in App State history(!), the entire lineup is Division I.
On the down side – just 12 home games.
It all starts November 15.
“I asked our players what kind of schedule they wanted to play and they want to be challenged,” said head coach Jim Fox. “Our schedule, both home and away, will provide that challenge for them. It will also give our program more exposure on the regional and national stage. Our non-conference slate will test us against some of the top programs in the country and will prepare us well for Sun Belt play. Our goal is to be playing our best basketball in February and March.”
The entire schedule includes 29 games, 17 on the road. The nine non-Sun Belt foes include Georgia Tech, Charlotte, Furman, Virginia Tech, Hampton and Hofstra.
He’s also getting time in on returns.
Optimism. “I think we can certainly compete in this conference with what we have. We are still a young team but not as young as last year, and we feel we have a lot of talented new players coming in, but how quickly they acclimate factors in.”
Interviews. Here are vids of Coach Sat, Ronald Blair and Kam Bryant. Here are some other league vids.
Coach Sat talks O-line. “The Mountaineers return four seniors and a junior to an offensive line that blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in Marcus Cox, and a quarterback in Kam Bryant who completed 71 percent of his passes.”
Shutout. Media preseason teams neglect App State.
No. 1 is unanimous. “Coach Scott Satterfield of Sun Belt-newcomer Appalachian State picked the Cajuns to win the conference sight unseen.”
Eagles bask in spotlight. “The level of coverage is tremendous and that’s what we always wanted here. The move up is going to increase our exposure.”
Speaking of exposure. “A recently announced expanded agreement with ESPN will result in every home football game for all Sun Belt Conference members this season being carried on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS or ESPN3.”
State of the conference. “We’ve shown that the competitive gap is not as great as the economic gap,” Benson said. “We want to make sure that gap isn’t widened.”
Reviewing the returning QBs. Kam Bryant one of five veterans.
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)