Appalachian State will look to capitalize on a favorable 2017 slate to grab the school’s first outright Sun Belt title. Appalachian shared the crown last year with the Red Wolves of Arkansas State, but with no Troy or Arkansas State on this year’s schedule things seem promising for Taylor Lamb and company.
Over the next month I will break down each game on App’s 2017 schedule three games at a time and offer a prediction.
Week 1: @ Georgia (2016 Record: 8-5)
Another SEC opponent sits atop Week One for the Apps in 2017. This year it’s Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs. Appalachian had 100,000 people inside Rocky Top on the edge of their seats last year as ASU fell in OT to the Vols.
Georgia by no means will be overlooking this game as I just don’t see Smart letting that happen after UT did it last year. The Georgia offense is something to keep an eye on with Jacob Eason and Nick Chubb leading the Dawgs.
Defense was a big question mark in a good number of games for UGA, especially early in the year (i.e. Nicholls State) and I feel this still may be the weak spot on this team.
However, the same goes for Appalachian, as they will face the most offensive fire power they will see all year. Speed will be a big factor in this matchup as Georgia has top level athletes at so many positions. I would love to see App come away with a victory here but I am a level headed fan and just don’t see it happening. I believe out of the gate App can keep it competitive but, a second half run will probably be too much to handle for ASU.
Prediction: UGA-42 App-21 ( 0-1)
Week 2: Vs Savannah State (2016 Record: 3-7 FCS)
After a Week One loss to a national power, Appalachian returns to Boone for a contest with FCS cellar dweller Savannah State. We all know that there is no such thing as a 100 percent sure win, but this is as close to a sure win as it gets. The Tigers have not had a winning season since 1998 when they were a member of the SIAC in Division II. Savannah State plays at least two FBS programs a year for money, but they have not been competitive in the slightest against FBS teams as the Tigers have given up 371 total points over the last three seasons against FBS teams.
I fully expect this game to be over by halftime and for Taylor Lamb and Jalin Moore to not even play in the 4th quarter. I could easily see Moore run for 200+ yards and at least three touchdowns. I also can see Lamb tossing two or three touchdowns in what should be a route.
Prediction: App-63 SSU- 3 (1-1)
Week 3: @ Texas State (2016 Record: 2-10)
Everett Withers’ first season in San Marcos was tough to say the least. An overtime squeaker vs Ohio in Week One and a win over FCS Incarnate Word is all that went right for the Bobcats. Although Texas State played ULM tough on the road last year, it wasn’t enough to grab a win in Sun Belt play.
With this being said, it’s a road game for Appalachian State and playing on the road is never easy. However, I fell that App has better, more athletic players than Texas State at this point. I believe the Bobcats offensive line will have to play excellent against App for Texas State to even be competitive. If Texas State’s front line plays like it did last year, then it will be a long day for the San Marcos faithful. Expect Appalachian to take care of business and start 1-0 in Sun Belt play.
Prediction: App- 38 TxSt- 13 (Record 2-1, 1-0 in SB)
* Next week we will break down Weeks 4-6 as the Apps will welcome another ACC team to “The Rock” and battle a couple far west Sun Belt opponents.