Kempton Smith, App State Alum & BGP Contributor
The series with Troy feels more intense than just a conference game. From their successes in NAIA and step-by-step transition to FBS, many App fans will remember the Troy State team as a respected program – maybe even envied. From App’s perspective, Troy was thought of as smaller (NAIA) program. In a flash, they were an equal (and getting into the playoffs more). Then, even more suddenly, they passed App.
Troy earned respect from their successes, and that respect grew in the early 1980s. They built on NAIA championship teams to become a champion Division II football program, earning trophies at the next level (1984 & 1987). In 1993 they moved again with a very successful jump to Division I-AA (now called FCS). In that first regular season, the Troy Trojans were undefeated. This led to their first I-AA playoffs. They reached the semi-finals, losing Marshall 24-21. They repeated this success nearly annually. Troy made the playoffs in all but one of their seven seasons in I-AA.
Appalachian watched the playoff bids, sometimes participating, but never had the opportunity to play Troy. That changed in 2000.
App scheduled Troy for a home game. It was Troy’s last season as an I-AA football program. The Trojans (nationally ranked 2nd) came to Boone and defeated the 4th ranked Mountaineers in September. Later that year, App returned the favor upsetting Troy in Alabama in the first round of the playoffs.
Troy’s growth continued in the Sun Belt Conference. Their transition to FBS as a Sun Belt member began with the 2001 season. Four seasons later, their dominant era began. From 2006 through 2010, Troy won or shared the Conference Championship – 5 straight seasons. Their last conference title was shared with App in 2017. They are currently tied for most Sunbelt conference titles at 6.
Troy’s recent performance does not match their legacy.
BGP Culture: Parking lot / Stands / Scoreboard
From a revenue standpoint, App State does much better than Troy in several areas:
|Appalachian State||Troy University|
|NCAA/Conf Distributions, Media Rights and Post Season FB||3,659,767||2,222,426|
Source: Knight Commission Database for 2019
Troy makes up the revenue disparity with more university and government support, lower spending on other athletic programs, and lower travel costs (App paid $4.08m for Football Travel compared to $2.09m for Troy).
Tailgating info for Troy is hard to find. The Tailgate Terrace appears to be the organized venue for tailgating. Most tents in this area appear to be “program established.” Participating fans are treated to local/regional live band talent. Less organized (non-sponsored) tailgating is permitted on campus; certainly not discouraged but is not highly promoted. The bottom line: it does not appear to be a big of a deal as we see around Boone and KBS. It certainly does not have the acclaim of Boone or the Louisiana locations familiar to the Sun Belt.
Troy’s Veteran Stadium reportedly holds 30,000 seats, and Troy does a good job filling those seats. Attendance in 2017-2019 closely aligns with KBS. On any given year, average attendance is within 2,500 with alternating leads. 2021 has changed that trend, with significant growth of fan attendance at KBS. App attendance will edge Troy by more than 5,000 per game.
This seems especially odd since Trojan fans have been treated to “all Saturday games.” Speculation as to why they would lose so much in attendance tends toward their lowered pre-season expectations. Sportswriters and coaches had App and Coastal fighting for the top spot in the East. Troy was projected to finish last.
Troy’s history was outlined at the beginning of this article. Their recent performance has not measured up.
Summary: Good culture feeds itself. Troy has some work to do to win the culture battle. Outward signs point to the strength of the Black and Gold. Attendance is consistently strong, Yosef Club members and contributions are three times higher than Troy.
It’s great to be a Mountaineer.