Sept. 1 News: Sun Belt Expands with Coastal Carolina


So much for my bright idea of the winner of November’s Coastal Carolina-Liberty game earning a spot in the Sun Belt.

While that remains a biggie for FCS purposes, likely serving as the de facto Big South Conference championship game, Coastal Carolina is bound for the Sun Belt regardless.

Coastal Carolina solves two issues for Sun Belt football — at least, for one season upon its inclusion in 2017. The first is that the Chanticleers give the Sun Belt 12 football members, thus enough for divisions and a championship game.

The regional split would likely put Coastal Carolina in the East with travel partner Appalachian State (another problem solved); Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama and Troy.

The West would then be Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Arkansas State, Texas State, New Mexico State and Idaho. But therein lies a small problem, and one reason conference expansion might not yet be through for the Sun Belt.

Idaho is a football-only member, having joined with the more geographically logic Big Sky across all other sports last year.

Full-fledged membership in the Big Sky makes sense for Idaho for myriad reasons. The Vandals would almost assuredly be more competitive in the FCS, and their home venue, the Kibbie Dome, barely meets the requirements for FBS membership.

Idaho’s Sun Belt affiliation expires in 2017. The conference already passed on UMass for football-exclusive membership, suggesting its focus is on growth across all sports.

If Coastal Carolina’s first season in the Sun Belt is Idaho’s last, the dream of FBS membership remains alive for Eastern Kentucky.

Starting Quarterbacks Named at Florida State, LSU, Army

Monday was effectively Starting Quarterback Day around college football. A slew of Week 1 starters were announced, among them Everett Golson at Florida State.

Golson succeeds Heisman Trophy and national championship-winner Florida State. No pressure filling those shoes.

Golson’s career at Notre Dame ended with the Fighting Irish beating LSU in the Music City Bowl, a game Anthony Jennings started at quarterback for the Tigers.

Jennings may have closed 2014 as LSU’s starter, but he’ll open it on the sidelines. Brandon Harris will get the first crack at the Tigers’ Week 1 body-bag opponent, McNeese State.

“He has done everything we’ve asked him to and continued to improve,” head coach Les Miles told Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune.

Harris avoiding off-field incident in the offseason probably didn’t hurt his case, either. For Ole Miss’ likely Week 1 starter Chad Kelly, that’s less of a worry.

Kelly fulfilled his 50 hours of community service as part of a plea agreement for a December arrest on non-criminal disorderly conduct charges.

Hugh Freeze was noncommittal with reporters. Don’t put it in stone, but feel free to put Kelly’s name in whatever other surface you want.

Army’s Week 1 starting quarterback is a familiar name: Ahmad Bradshaw, as announced on the Black Knights’ official athletic site.

The former Marshall Thundering Herd/New York Giants/Indianapolis Colts running back isn’t circumventing his NFL suspension by suiting up for West Point, however. This is a different Ahmad Bradshaw.

However, I think the other Ahmad Bradshaw could put up serious yards in Jeff Monken’s option offense.

Lights! Camera! Action! Rashard Higgins Brings Hollywood to Colorado State

Today’s U.

Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins is a human action film, providing slo-mo explosions all over the field whenever he gets the ball.

Appropriately nicknamed Hollywood, Higgins is the best wide receiver in college football. But despite his flashy play and flashier nickname, his stardom comes from humble beginnings.

I went in depth on Rashard Higgins’ ascent for Today’s U.