For the second time in as many years, Appalachian State has a nationally ranked football program.
The Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 Sun Belt), under first-year head coach Eli Drinkwitz, appeared in both the AP Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll on Sunday.
App State earned the No. 24 ranking from both AP voters and from coaches. It was the school's first appearance in the Amway Coaches Poll.
Both rankings are the highest for a Sun Belt Conference school since the conference was formed in 1976. It's also the highest national ranking in school history for a program that joined the FBS in 2014.
The only other Group-of-Five schools to rank ahead of App State are Boise State (No. 13 in AP, No. 13 in Coaches), SMU (No. 19, No. 19) and Cincinnati (No. 21, No. 21)
App State has earned a top 25 ranking in back-to-back seasons. In 2018, they check into the AP Poll at No. 25 — the first top-25 appearance in school history — after starting 5-1 and nearly upsetting Penn State in the season opener. They earned the ranking, coincidentally, after beating Louisiana during the regular season, 27-17.
The Mountaineers would only have that ranking for a week, though. They lost to Georgia Southern, 34-14, the following game. App State finished 2018 with an 11-2 record, a Sun Belt title game win and a victory in the New Orleans Bowl.
App State has received a steady amount of voter support since the season started. And after playing in a midweek game last week, the Mountaineers benefited from some turmoil at the bottom of the poll during the weekend.
Virginia, ranked No. 20 last week, lost to Miami on Friday night, 17-9. Then-No. 23 Memphis lost at Temple, 30-28. Top-ranked Alabama beat Texas A&M, ranked 24th at the time, 47-28. And finally, Louisville beat No. 19 Wake Forest, 62-59, on the road Saturday.
Scott Satterfield, an App State alum and former Mountaineers coach from 2013 to 2018, has Louisville 4-2 to start his debut season with the Cardinals. The victory against Wake Forest was a big one for his program, and he chuckled after the game when asked about inadvertently helping Appalachian in the polls.
"More importantly, it's helping our team," Satterfield said. "I think that's more important for us, but anything to help the Mountaineers as well.
"Obviously, I love that school, love all those guys. And you know, they're having a great year. All those guys that are playing, we recruited in there, so I'm proud of them."
App State now shifts focus to its homecoming game against UL Monroe (3-3, 2-0 Sun Belt), pitting the two teams with perfect Sun Belt records against each other.
The Mountaineers also saw their strength of schedule improve this weekend. South Carolina beat former No. 3 Georgia, 20-17, in overtime on Saturday.
App State travels to South Carolina on Nov. 9. Appalachian already has one Power-Five victory this season, beating North Carolina, 34-31, on Sept. 21.