BOONE — The Sun Belt coaches have tabbed the Mountaineers to finish fourth this season in the Sun Belt conference.
App State has been picked to finish as high as first place from media outlets, including ESPN.
The Mountaineers will look to build on last year’s great run down the stretch that gave the team a 6-2 conference finish during its inaugural Sun Belt season, good enough for a third place finish.
ASU returns 20 of 22 starters and will be bowl-eligible this season should they win at least six games and receive a spot representing the conference.
It was a tight battle for the preseason top pick in the conference. Georgia Southern was picked as conference champs, receiving 110 voting points. Louisiana Lafayette was just two points behind.
Arkansas State (96), App State (82) and Texas State (78) round out the top five preseason picks. South Alabama (68), Louisiana Monroe (59), Troy (39), Georgia State (32), New Mexico State (30) and Idaho (24) rounded out the rest of the conference order.
Georgia Southern received six first place votes, UL-Lafayette had three, Arkansas State had one and South Alabama had one.
The Mountaineers’ first two conference games will be on the road, first at Georgia State (Oct. 10) and then at UL-Monroe (Oct. 17).
After that, App State hosts Georgia Southern on a Thursday night (Oct. 22), Troy on Halloween and Arkansas State again on a Thursday night (Nov.5).
The final three conference games will include a trip to Idaho (Nov. 14), the final home game of the season against UL-Lafayette (Nov. 28) and the last regular season game at South Alabama (Dec. 5).
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87