A former Marshall football rival could be a regular on the schedule once again. Appalachian State is in discussions to make the jump to the FBS Division and become a member of Conference USA.
Appalachian State was one of Marshall most hated rivals in the Southern Conference.
Cobb stated that “The [feasibility] committee recommended that Appalachian seek membership in a conference that sponsors FBS football and the Board of Trustees approved that recommendation this past September. The committee’s mandate was that a new conference must create geographic rivalries and make financial sense for us.”
As far as competing in C-USA, the Mountaineers would not have much trouble keeping up with the revamped conference. Appalachian State won three straight FCS national titles in 2005, 2006, and 2007. There was also the unforgettable win over Michigan in the Big House in 2007.
Competition is not the biggest hurdle that the Mountaineers will have to overcome.
The university is situated in Boone, N.C. which has a population of just over 17,000 people. It’s certainly not the television market the conference is looking to add as lucrative media contracts drive conference realignment.
It’s a fact not lost on Cobb.
“A hurdle we face is one that is completely out of our control – our campus’s distance from a major population center and its potential effect on television revenue,” admitted Cobb. “In an effort to diffuse this concern, we have shared that while we are not in the heart of a large TV market; Boone falls in the coverage areas of four top-100 markets that serve over 3 million homes combined.”
Appalachian State had been rumored to be a candidate to move to the Sun Belt Conference but Cobb made no mention of any other conference is his letter to fans.
Last week, Conference USA announced the additions of five schools that will replace UCF, SMU Houston and Memphis which are defecting for the Big East. North Texas, Texas San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, Charlotte, and FIU are slated to join the league for the 2013 football season. The inclusion of Appalachian State would give the league a total of 14 teams