Why the Sun Belt did App State football zero favors
As we discussed in the latest episode of the Black & Gold Podcast (click here to delight your ears), the upcoming App State football conference schedule is no joke. The Sun Belt finally has a group of schools it likes with ten teams. The conference is no longer a patchwork mess that spans the entire United States, just most of the south.
The 2018 schedule might have been the most anticipated of all Sun Belt schedules since at least 2014 when App State and Georgia Southern joined the fray. Kousin Karl finally dumped Idaho and New Mexico State just in time for them to combine for two bowls wins in the past two seasons. Now Coastal Carolina (Kentucky) is back for round two and we finally have divisions with a championship game to look forward to in a yet to be determined location.
Each Sun Belt squad misses some team from the other division and plays two divisional games at home and on the road. In an odd quirk App State will once again travel to Steamy San Marcos to play Texas State and host the Lost Cajuns from Louisiana just as they did in the 2017 season. This is just the beginning of the bad hand the Sun Bet dealt App State.
The App State non-conference slate includes opening road trips to State College and Saquin Barkley’s alma matar Penn State. That is followed by a home game at UNC-Charlotte. Two homes in a row complete the non-conference slate. Had common sense been used, App State would have then hit the road on September 29th and come back home on October 6th for Homecoming. Wrong.
South Alabama will instead come to Boone on Sept 29th giving the Apps three four home games in a row. The first weekend in October, App State will not play anyone. Doesn’t feel right does it?
The Apps do get 10 days to prepare for Arkansas State on a Tuesday. Night road game before waiting another 11 days before the Sweet Peppers come to town on October 20th for the only October home game in 2018. Boone is beautiful pretty much every month of the year, but if you had to choose one month, good luck picking against October. The tenth month of the calendar is peak Boone. Peak leaf looking and peak wooly worm racing.
After Billy Napier’s boys come to Boone, App State is sent packing for three games in a row. The only school in the conference to be sent on the road that many times on the schedule consecutively. Listen, I know our conference comrades are tired of us winning pieces of the last two Sun Belt titles. But this is getting ridiculous. First you take away our October… now this? There is only one way this can be rectified.
Boom, there it is. The Apps get to finish their regular season at home, including what can only be referred to as the Sun Belt equivalency of the most Choose and Cut of match ups possible. Georgia State is Game 11 but the last game, against Troy, the week before the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game was absolutely handpicked. You’ll have a hard convincing us otherwise.
All in all, it’s one of the tougher schedules with two different sets of triplets, home and away, on the schedule. Maybe we’ll send the conference a post card of the Louisiana game so they know how beautiful Boone can be in the fall. Or maybe we’ll just wait until December 1st and remind them all what winter looks like. #BringAJacket