Appalachian State Picked 7th in Sun Belt Coaches Poll


The Sun Belt Conference released its preseason coaches poll on July 19. The coaches unanimously voted The Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette to finish first. They selected Appalachian State to finish seventh in their first season in the league.

The Sun Belt was affected by the trickle down of conference expansion elsewhere. The annexation of Syracuse and Pittsburgh by the ACC, West Virginia being absorbed by the Big 12, and the annexation of Rutgers by the Big Ten Conference led to the transformation of the old Big East into the American Athletic Conference. The AAC created the bulk of its league by absorbing teams from Conference USA. The dominos continued to fall as Conference USA raided the Sun Belt and the dying Western Athletic Conference for some teams.

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  • The Sun Belt then added transitional schools Georgia State, Georgia Southern, and Appalachian State. They also invited Idaho, New Mexico State, and Texas State from the corpse of the WAC. This set up the Sun Belt at 11 teams, one shy of the rule which would allow the conference to stage a title game. This gives the Sun Belt quite a range of schools, though its primary footprint is still in the south.

    Appalachian State was picked seventh, which is logical given their transition process to FBS. They are rated ahead of Georgia Southern, who is making the same move. However, no one really knows how the Mountaineers will adapt. They could surprise the league or fall further than they are in this poll.
    The poll results were as follows:

    More from Appalachian State Mountaineers

    1. UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns 121 (11)

    2. Arkansas State Red Wolves 102

    -tied for the conference title last year, the Red Wolves are on their fourth head coach in four years. That is not a sign of lack of success, all those coaches were hired by bigger programs. Their current head coach is former North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson.

    3. South Alabama Jaguars 98

    4. Troy Trojans 84

    5. UL Monroe War Hawks 78

    6. Texas State Bobcats 70

    7. Appalachian State Mountaineers 47

    8. Georgia Southern Eagles 44

    9. Idaho Vandals 29

    10. Georgia State Panthers 27

    11. New Mexico State Aggies 26