After three straight bowl wins, App State has eyes on bigger prize
WLOS - The transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision could not have gone much smoother for Appalachian State. Three years into their membership in college footballs highest classification the Mountaineers sport three bowl wins and a 30-9 overall record. Those three bowl wins all came in the state of Alabama in the forms of two Camellia Bowls and a Dollar General Bowl. Although the state of Alabama has been good to App State, the next step is to find themselves in the same sentence as the football team that bares the same name. "There is a divide in college football at the FBS level. The Power Five and the Group of Five, there's a divide there," said head coach Scott Satterfield at the Mountaineers 2018 Spring Tour stop at Pack's Tavern in Asheville on Wednesday.
App State became a national brand in 2007 when they went to Ann Arbor, MI and shocked the Michigan Wolverines with a 34-32 upset. Despite a difficulty in replicating the national headline generating success of that '07 win, Appalachian State has since been known as a giant-killer in the college football world. "I think there'll always be that mantra of giant killer, until if our program ever gets to that Power Five level," said Satterfield.
The Power Five consists of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, the PAC-12, Big Ten, and Big 12. Rarely do those teams accept road contests at Group of Five schools, but in the past two seasons both Miami and Wake Forest have traveled to Boone. South Carolina recently agreed to a three game series with the Mountaineers in March, which includes a trip to Kidd Brewer Stadium in 2025. "We've been able to show them that we have a great football program, great stadium with great support, and its easier for their folks to travel," explained Director of Athletics Doug Gillin. "With Miami and Wake Forest, we were sold out. A lot of it was their fans coming up, because Boone is not just a great place and a great university, but its a destination for a lot of people to come visit."
If the Mountaineers are to ever draw interest from a Power Five conference regarding membership or to simply make the College Football Playoff out of the Sun Belt, then they will have to start winning some of these big games. "When you look at our schedules over the next couple of years, the opportunity is absolutely there," said Gillin. "You've got to win some big games."
Appalachian State kicks off the 2018 season on the road at Penn State.