Appalachian State’s chances at a New Year’s Six bowl are toast.
The No. 20 Mountaineers were dominated at home Thursday night by Georgia Southern in a 24-21 loss. The defeat ends App State’s chance at an undefeated season and, likely, the Sun Belt’s hope of being the third conference to secure a prestigious spot in a big bowl game.
Georgia Southern (5-3, 3-1) rushed 56 times for 335 yards and QB Shai Werts threw just four passes — completing one — in a cold, windy and sometimes snowy night in Boone, North Carolina.
App State (7-1, 4-1 Sun Belt) entered Week 10 as one of just nine unbeaten teams in college football and with a shot to end up as the highest-ranked team outside the Power Five conferences at the end of the season with an unbeaten run.
With South Carolina still remaining on the schedule, a 13-0 App State team would have wins over both North Carolina and South Carolina. While the Sun Belt doesn’t have the strength that the Mountain West or American Athletic Conference has, those two non-conference wins could have been enough to put App State ahead of a one-loss Boise State or one-loss champ of the American. Assuming, of course, that SMU also doesn’t end the regular season undefeated.
Alas, that possibility is out the window now and the American is squarely in the driver’s seat for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six berth. SMU will continue to be the favorite as long as it’s undefeated and one-loss teams like Cincinnati and Memphis can put themselves in position for that spot with no more losses the rest of the way.
The possibility of App State joining Western Michigan as an improbable Cotton Bowl participant was a fun one. But, unfortunately for the Mountaineers, it no longer exists.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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