In a ten team conference setting, its unfortunate that all teams involved do not get to play a true round robin format. That means, your school gets to play everyone in the conference, except one team. Yesterday, the Sun Belt released the scheduling for the next two years of conference play. Now that the conference is split into two divisions, east and west, Appalachian will play four opponents every season, two home and two away, within the east division.
What we do know is that Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina will be paired together to either visit Boone every season, or in return get a visit from the Mountaineers. Likewise with Georgia State and Troy. Long story short, App will be making a yearling appearance in the peach state.
With this new scheduling, somehow it became unbalanced for teams who have to visit a school in consecutive years instead of on an alternating basis. One example is Appalachian having to visit Texas State in 2018 and 2019. Another is Arkansas State going to Georgia Southern in that same time frame. Texas State will host App in consecutive seasons, and the Ragin’ Cajuns will trek to the wilderness of Boone in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Sadly, the team most Mountaineer fans want to play will only appear on the schedule in 2018, but not the following year. When Appalachian entered the league they visited Arkansas State in 2014, and the Red Wolves came to Boone in 2015. Both teams won on the others home field, which would leave some to believe that a rivalry was starting to form between these perennial contenders. The Sun Belt didn’t see it the same way, and the two have not met since 2015. So once its all said and done, Appalachian and Arkansas State will have only played three times in the first six seasons they have existed together in the Sun Belt. That is fewer than any matchup of Sun Belt schools during the same time frame that will remain in the league in 2019, excluding Idaho and New Mexico State. The fact that Arkansas State and App have played twice in the first four seasons of the Belt and Idaho and App have played four times doesn’t not really make sense.
On to the schedules
We know the dates for the non-conference games the next two years, and the Sun Belt will release conference dates sometime in late winter/early spring.
Southern Miss Arkansas State
Gardner Webb Coastal Carolina
Georgia State Georgia Southern
Louisiana Texas State
South Alabama Penn State
The first thing that comes to mind is breaking in a new starting quarterback in 2018 at some potentially hostile venues. Places that we know will be rowdy is Penn State. Coastal and Charlotte will be hosting App for the first time ever. Arkansas State and Georgia Southern could also be interesting venues for a first year starting quarterback.
East Tenn St Georgia State
Coastal Carolina South Alabama
Georgia Southern Troy
UL-Monroe North Carolina
Texas State TBA
The home schedule in 2019 is disgusting and unappealing. Now, two football seasons are to be played between now and then, and a lot could change, but at this moment in time, it could not be any worse. Georgia Southern is the only game that looks appetizing, and if history holds true, that game will be played on a Thursday night. As we stare down Yosef’s musket, those five assumed Saturday games are going to be hard to sell tickets for.