If you look at the list of NCAA Baseball Champions, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers seem out of place among UCLA and Vanderbilt and Arizona. It's not because the Chanticleers don't bear a P5 pedigree. Pepperdine and Cal St. Fullerton long beat Coastal to that punch But unlike the Titans and the Waves, the Chanticleers baseball program is (now) part of a Group of Five conference. And that has happened...never.
Don't think for a second that the Sun Belt isn't stoked.
When Coastal joins the Sun Belt tomorrow, we're gonna see so many Visit Myrtle Beach ads on ESPN3 broadcasts going forward. #FunBelt— Thomas K (@tkappstate) June 30, 2016
That's one hell of a way to enter the #FunBelt, Coastal.— Kara Richey (@Kara_Richey) June 30, 2016
Coastal Carolina, UL Lafayette, South Alabama, Georgia Southern. For sure going to be the best non-P5 conference in baseball next year!— Chandler Avery (@C_Avery2) June 26, 2016
We're stoked. Of course we're stoked! The Sun Belt just added a legitimate national champion. Who's next? Alabama? Villanova? Hell, let's haul in Frozen Four champion North Dakota while we're at it. I want Karl Benson pumping out those fantastic sunglasses tweets 24/7.
What does the Chanticleers' title mean for Sun Belt football? They won't even begin playing FBS football until 2017. It's a question I am compelled to ask because 1) I generate content to a football-only website, and 2) it's July and I'm a little desperate. But stick with me.
The Halo Effect
A rising tide raises all ships*, and you know when the Appalachian St. Mountaineers open the Sun Belt football season against the Tennessee Volunteers, the SEC Network announcing crew will be bringing up new Sun Belt member Coastal Carolina and their baseball championship. Yes, it'll get annoying, but so what? Suck it up. If Coastal keeps announcers talking Sun Belt instead of our monied OOC opponents, more power to us. Thanks, Coastal!
"If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It."
Coastal Carolina defeated the ACC (North Carolina State), the SEC (LSU), the Big 12 (TCU) and the PAC-12 (Arizona) to earn the national championship. This wasn't an easy slide to victory. This was a kung-fu crotch-kick to the Power Five. And if Coastal can do it in baseball, somebody from the Sun Belt can do it in football. In Rocky IV parlance, Coastal cut the Russian. The Chanticleers have given us belief, y'all. Now go beat those Sooners, ULM!
Sun Belt Heat
A recent opinion piece from Underdog Dynasty rated the Sun Belt among the bottom of the Group of Five, and not without reason. The conference needs a win. Little Rock made some noise on the hardwood. Louisiana had their moments on the diamond. And an assorted number of football programs have enjoyed temporary bursts of brilliance. But now we have a Division I Champion in our ranks. The Heat is real. Yes, the trophy belongs to the Big South. But the team belongs to us.
And all the Heat it brings with it.
* Does not include Crimson Tides