Football is back* for real real this week. Sure we all got to watch a random game here or there the past two weeks, but as of tomorrow, it’s official College Football Season here at OTE. Unfortunately, for reasons passing understanding unless you have a normal functioning brain, the Big Ten has opted not to ritually force groups of 200-300 people in close proximity to each other for hours at a time. Although this appears to be a very bad/sad thing at first glance, there’s no need to cry! This is an App State blog now, and your favorite App State fan is ready, willing, and excited to guide you through another season of Mountaineer football. It will be hot hot hot and sometimes funny and you may not care, but I promise to usually post some words about a football team you can know and grow to love in 2020.
*back in the way Texas and Nebraska football are back, not in the way that actually means anything or holds up to scrutiny
UNC-Charlotte 49ers at Appalachian State Mountaineers (-17)
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2
The reigning back-to-back-to-back-to-back Sun Belt Champions and winners of five straight bowl games open the already-disappointing 2020 season at home on Saturday, hosting in-state rival UNC-Charlotte. The 49ers (different century, much less adventurous etymology) are coming off a 7-6 season in 2019 and will have their hands full with a team that finished last year in the AP top 25 and returns just a ton of all-conference talent. In addition to replacing a couple key players, the big question for App this year is how first year head coach Shawn Clark will follow up his very successful debut as head coach in App’s bowl win in 2019.** Another low-key big question for App is how they’ll perform at home considering that no fans—and that includes family—will be allowed in the stadium for games to start the season.
**App’s previous HC, Eliah (no, there isn’t a missing j in there) Drinkwitz pulled a Gary Andersen and left App after the conference championship game, leaving Clark to pull a Barry Alvarez and act as HC during the bowl win. Also I sorta met Clark about a month ago, and he’s not as tall as I thought he’d be! Also also he wasn’t wearing a mask at Lowe’s Foods.
App State Offense
App’s offense features the reigning conference POY and preaseason POY in Zac Thomas at QB, who as I’ve said previously, would be a top 5 QB in the B1G (2019 line: 225/359, 2718 yds, 28 TDs, 6 Ints; 440 yds rushing, 7 TDs). It also features an O Line with four returning starters, three of whom are preseason all-conference players. They also have a preseason all-conferece player at WR, and another OL and WR on the preseason all-conference second team. App finished the 2019 season with the 31st best offense according to S&P+. They lost all-conference RB Darrynton Evans to graduation, and they just lost their top wide receiver, former K State transfer Corey Sutton, who opted out, but they’re gonna be good. They’re gonna score some points for sure.
App State Defense
App’s defense complimented its very good 2019 offense well last year, finishing at 37th in S&P+ ratings. They lost the reigning DPOY in Akeem Davis-Gaither, but they return some very, very good preseason all-conference players, particularly future NFL higher-than-you’d-think draftee Demetrius Taylor at DE and Shaun Jolly at DB. App plays the 3-4 defense, much like WIsconsin, and plays it well, also much like Wisconsin. In short, if you’re a Wisconsin fan you’ll like watching this team because you’ll see a lot of familiar looks. And if you’re not a Wisconsin fan, you’ll like watching this team because it’s not Wisconsin.
App State Insider Corner
As some*** of you may know, OTE has a well-placed local App State insider. Like an actual legitimate insider with actual inside information. Each week I’ll try to provide a little insider insight for the upcoming game, so we can all feel like we’re in on the secret.
“Jalen Virgil - Should be the man [at WR] with Sutton out.”
“[Keep an eye on] Christian Horn (WR), picked by ESPN to be the newcomer of the year in the Sun Belt”
The defense enjoyed quite the feast Thursday night, devouring 100 steaks and giant pot after giant pot of boiled corn on the cob.
***Maybe like 3 of you at most
Oh right right, this is supposed to be a preview of the upcoming football game between the 49ers and the Mountaineers. So...the 49ers...
Let’s cut to the chase. I actually forgot to do the preview for UNCC until a while after the rest of this preview was done, so I didn’t really have time for a deep dive, or even a shalllow one. I also, being a pretty average college football fan, don’t know anything about the 49ers. I read a little stat/blurb somewhere, which I of course did not confirm, that App State scored the 7th most offensive touchdowns in 2019 (and returns most of its offense, remember), while UNCC allowed “however many college fotball teams there are, then minus 15th” offensive touchdowns in 2019 (and presumably returns some of its defense, but honestly I don’t know).****
All you really need to know about UNCC is that they are a 17 point underdog to a team from the Fun Belt. Sure, that team finished 2019 in the top 20, but still. That’s a lot of points against the Belt.
****UNCC was 15th worst in FBS last year in number of touchdowns allowed, in case that wasn’t clear.
Beez’z Week 1 Prediction
Now that I’ve thoroughly jinxed things, it’s time to predict.
App State 41 - UNC Charlotte 16
Season Record: 0-0
What else, what else...oh right, the obligatory:
OK ONE MORE VIDEO AND YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO WATCH IT
An unrelated App State source encouraged me to watch this video. For reference, this park is essentially a sign on a street corner, and the entire park can’t be more than 1000 square feet.
This poll is closed
hot hot hot
hoooot hot hot
What was that? I’m just watching the Michigan video
Appalchian is hot hot hot!