App State Football received another accolade in its season of firsts as the College Football Playoff committee placed the Mountaineers at No. 25 in this week’s rankings.
App State (8-1) once again achieves something no Sun Belt Conference school had before, becoming the first league school to crack the CFP rankings. The Mountaineers are at No. 24 in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll and are one spot shy of an Associated Press Top 25 ranking this week. Two weeks ago, their No. 20 ranking in the AP poll was the highest ever by a Sun Belt school.
At the end of the season, the CFP poll’s highest-ranked conference champion from Group of Five leagues will earn a berth to the New Year’s Six Cotton Bowl. App State joined fellow Group of Five schools No. 17 Cincinnati, No. 18 Memphis, No. 21 Boise State and No. 23 Navy in this week’s rankings.
The Mountaineers, led by first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, won 20-15 at South Carolina last week to become the first Sun Belt school to capture two victories over Power Five opponents in the same season. They also won 34-31 at North Carolina on Sept. 21.
App State travels to fellow Sun Belt East member Georgia State this Saturday for a showdown of bowl-eligible teams, slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPNU. Since moving up to the FBS level in 2014, App State is 23-11 on the road, putting the program in a tie for fourth place nationally with Ohio State for the most road wins in that span. Clemson has 25, followed by Oklahoma and Boise State with 24 apiece. App State is 18-4 in Sun Belt road games.
App State, winner of three straight league titles and four straight bowl games, has a football program known for firsts. Listed chronologically, it is the:
· First FCS team to defeat a nationally ranked FBS team (34-32 vs. No. 5 Michigan in 2007)
· First FCS team to receive votes in the AP Top 25 poll (2007)
· First team to win three straight NCAA Division I-AA (FCS) national titles (2005-07)
· First team to win a bowl game in each of its first two years of FBS bowl eligibility (2015-16)
· First team to win a bowl game in each of its first three years of FBS bowl eligibility (2015-17)
· First team to win a bowl game in each of its first four years of FBS bowl eligibility (2015-18)
· First team to host and win a Sun Belt Championship Game (2018)
· First Sun Belt team to be ranked in the Top 25 on multiple occasions (2018, 2019)
· First Sun Belt team to win as a Top 25 team (2019)
· First Sun Belt team to be ranked in the Top 25 in consecutive weeks (2019)
· First Sun Belt team to be ranked in the Top 20 in the AP poll (2019)
· First Sun Belt team to start a season 7-0 (2019)
· First Sun Belt team to defeat two Power Five teams in one season (2019)
· First Sun Belt team to receive a College Football Playoff in-season ranking (2019)