BOONE — The countdown is on until the start of the 2016 football season when Appalachian State will open the year against the University of Tennessee on Sept. 3.
The Sun Belt Conference released the schedules for each of its teams on Thursday.
According to the conference, the Mountaineers will have at least two nationally televised games, both road games. App State will travel to Louisiana-Lafayette on Oct. 12 for a game that will be televised on ESPN 2 and the Mountaineers will be at Georgia Southern on Oct. 27 for a game televised on ESPN U.
After the season opener in Knoxville, the Mountaineers return home on Sept. 10 to take on Old Dominion. The following week, the stands will undoubtedly be packed when the Miami Hurricanes make the trip to Boone.
App State wraps up its non-conference slate of games at Akron on Sept. 24.
Sun Belt Conference play begins on Oct. 1 with the Mountaineers hosting Georgia State. Next up is the Wednesday night tilt with UL-Lafayette on Oct. 12 before the Mountaineers return home on Oct. 22 to face Idaho.
November begins with a home game against Texas State on Nov. 5. App State goes to Troy on Nov. 12, hosts Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 19 and complete the regular season on the road at New Mexico State on Nov. 26.
The Sun Belt had a busy week with more than just finalizing the conference football schedule. The conference announced on Wednesday that Idaho and New Mexico State would not be in the conference anymore following the 2017 football season.
“This was a strategic decision that was reached following a thorough and complete review of our options,” said Sun Belt Conference and Texas State University President, Denise Trauth in a statement released by the conference.
Both teams, who were in the Sun Belt previously before leaving, have struggled on the gridiron since rejoining the Sun Belt in 2014. Idaho holds a 6-29 record of the last three years while New Mexico State is 7-29. Both teams are a combined 10-37 in Sun Belt Conference games.
The Sun Belt looks to maintain a 10-team conference after the departures of New Mexico State and Idaho and the arrival of Coastal Carolina, who will be making the move up from the Football Championship Subdivision after its own transition period similar to what App State and Georgia Southern did two seasons ago.
With the start of the 2018 conference season, the Sun Belt will consist of App State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Arkansas State, Georgia State, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87