For a program familiar with making history, these are heady times even for the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
On Sunday, the undefeated (6-0) Mountaineers received a No. 21 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and the No. 22 spot in the Amway Coaches poll, eclipsing last week’s No. 24 ranking in both polls as the highest FBS ranking in Sun Belt Conference and school history.
App State, which was already the first Sun Belt school to be ranked on multiple occasions, becomes the first school in league history to receive a Top 25 ranking in consecutive weeks. The Sun Belt was established as an FBS conference in 2001. App State joined the league in 2014.
App State’s 52-7 win over west division leader ULM on Saturday marked the first win by a Top 25 ranked Sun Belt team and pushed the Mountaineers to bowl eligibility for the fifth straight season. Only Marshall has made more consecutive bowl appearances after jumping to the FBS ranks (six), and App State is the only program to win each of its first four bowl games in consecutive seasons.
Only 10 unbeaten FBS teams remain, including No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Clemson, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Penn State, No. 14 Baylor, No. 16 SMU and No. 17 Minnesota.
App State’s 12-game winning streak is the nation’s third-longest active streak behind Clemson (22) and Ohio State (13). Since 2015 — during a run that includes three straight league titles and four consecutive bowl wins — the Mountaineers have the nation’s fifth-best winning percentage thanks to a 47-11 record.
Some firsts for the App State football program include:
- 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)
- Hosted and won the first Sun Belt Championship Game (2018)
- First Sun Belt team to be ranked 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 Top 25 in consecutive weeks (2019)
Last year, App State earned its first Top 25 ranking as an FBS member (No. 25 in the AP poll) thanks to a 5-1 start that featured five straight wins following an overtime loss at Penn State. The Mountaineers finished one spot below the Top 25 in the final AP ranking of the 2018 season.
App State has now received votes in 12 straight weeks of the AP Top 25 poll dating back to last season.
The 21st-ranked Mountaineers, under the direction of first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, will travel to South Alabama this Saturday for a nationally televised game on ESPNU that kicks off at 11 a.m. CT / noon ET.
Single-game tickets are available for App State’s two remaining home games – Thursday, Oct. 31 vs. Georgia Southern (8 p.m., ESPNU) and Saturday, Nov. 23 vs. Texas State (2:30 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 828-262-2079 or in person at the App State athletics ticket office located in the Holmes Center.