Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will both be eligible to compete for the Sun Belt Championship for the 2014 season. After the 2015 season, both schools will then be eligible to participate in bowl games.
Both schools are members of the Southern Conference and are perennial powerhouses in the Football Championship Subdivision. Appalachian State has collected three national championships and won or shared the Southern Conference championship 12 times.
Georgia Southern has twice as many national championships as Appalachian State with six, but two less Southern Conference titles (ten). GSU also trails in the head-to-head series 11-14-1.
“Georgia Southern University has a rich history in athletics dating back to 1909 and has won six football national championships at the FCS level, so it brings a winning tradition to the Sun Belt Conference,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor of Troy University and President of the Sun Belt Conference Executive Committee. “More important, GSU is an outstanding public institution that is a good fit for our league—academically, athletically and geographically.”
“Appalachian State University adds value to the Sun Belt Conference academically and athletically, plus it fits well in our league’s southeastern geographic footprint,” said Hawkins. “ASU offers a well-rounded athletics program and has one of the premier FCS football programs in the nation. Appalachian State is a welcome addition to a growing conference.”
The addition of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern gives the Sun Belt Conference ten football-playing members for the 2014 season. Current members include Arkansas State, Georgia State, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy, UL Lafayette, ULM, and Western Kentucky.
The Sun Belt football membership is expected to expand to 12 as early as next week with the additions of Idaho and New Mexico State. The conference would then split into divisions, likely geographical (see below), with each division winner facing off in a championship game held on campus.
Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama, Troy, Western Kentucky
Arkansas State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Texas State, UL Lafayette, ULM
*FBSchedules.com prediction only.