NEW ORLEANS – After earning a share of the Sun Belt football title each of the past two seasons, Appalachian State was predicted to win the league’s East division in the inaugural year of the divisional format, as voted by league coaches in advance of next week’s Sun Belt Media Day in New Orleans.
App State received 46 points and six first-place votes to edge Troy (44 points and four first-place votes) in the East division predictions. Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina rounded out the East side. Arkansas State was picked to win the West division and the overall league championship. The Red Wolves were picked ahead of ULM, South Alabama, Louisiana and Texas State in the East.
For the first time in the league’s 18-year history, the Sun Belt will move to a divisional format to determine a champion. December 1, 2018, will be the first Championship Game in league history and will be played at the site of the divisional team with the best overall conference winning percentage.
Led by head coach Scott Satterfield, the Mountaineers have had one of the best transitions in history from the FCS to FBS level. App is the first program to ever make and win three straight bowl games in its first three years eligible, winning the 2015 and 2016 Camellia Bowls and claiming a 34-0 victory over MAC Champion Toledo in the 2017 Dollar General Bowl. The Mountaineers shared the 2016 Sun Belt Championship with Arkansas State and the 2017 league title with Troy.
App State will open its 2018 campaign on the road against a nationally ranked Penn State squad in Happy Valley on Sept. 1. Following a Sept. 8 date at Charlotte, the team will host its home opener Sept. 15 versus Southern Miss.
Sun Belt Media Day is being held in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, July 22-23. Live coverage of the event begins at 9:30 a.m. and will run until 6 p.m. ET. ESPN3 will be live at Media Day with all 10 head coaches being featured from 2-4 p.m. ET.
2018 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Order of Finish (first place votes)
1. Appalachian St. (6) – 46 pts
2. Troy (4) – 44 pts
3. Georgia State – 26 pts
4. Georgia Southern – 22 pts
5. Coastal Carolina – 12 pts
1. Arkansas State (9) – 49 pts
2. ULM – 37 pts
3. South Alabama (1) – 26 pts
4. Louisiana – 25 pts
5. Texas State – 13 pts
2018 Sun Belt Football Coaches Predicted Championship Game Winner