|Thursday, September 10, 2015, 8:19 AM- -|
When the schedule came out this year, I heard a few friends, fans and listeners of my radio show lump Wofford and Appalachian State together as if they were the same.
I can understand why some would feel this way. Yes, they were both in the Southern Conference a couple of years ago and yes, they battled for a few years for the Southern Conference title. Yes, they both wear black and gold. Yes, Clemson is better and is favored to handle both out of conference opponents to start this season. But that is just about where the similarities stop. These are two completely different football teams this season.
It is fair to point out that historically Wofford has played Clemson closer than Appalachian State. The Terriers have beaten the Tigers, even tough that was in 1933, but they gave Clemson fits is 2011.
However, the 2015 versions of Wofford and Appalachian State are two different animals. Wofford has struggled the last two-plus seasons. There is a talent drop off for the program. Meanwhile, App. State is thriving. The Mountaineers moved to the FBS level and are the favorites to win the Sun Belt Conference this season.
App. State returns 20 starters from a team that won its last six games from a season ago. The Mountaineers don't have question marks at key positions like quarterback where Taylor Lamb has been a big weapon.Tougher Test
Last week, the Mountaineers outgained Howard 663-172. The 49-0 win was the seventh in a row for Appalachian State. In the opener, Lamb went 16-21 for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five carries for 42 yards.
Appalachian State returns ten starters on each side of the ball including all-conference candidates Ronald Blair at defensive end, Doug Middleton at defensive back, Marcus Cox at running back and John Law at linebacker. Cox had over 100 yards on only 11 carries in the opener.
There is a big difference between Wofford and Appalachian State. Clemson's spread last week against the Terriers wound up at 34.5. This week the Tigers are only a 17 point favorite.
In my opinion, Appalachian State is better than Wofford, Syracuse, Wake Forest and Boston College. The Mountaineers will be the only team in that group that goes to a bowl game this season.
Clemson will beat Appalachian State this week, but heading into the game, this is a completely different test this week.
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