Coastal Carolina has only had football for twelve years, but the program is an adult now. The school will announce this afternoon that they are moving from the Big South to the Sun Belt Conference and moving its football program from the FCS to the FBS.
It’s been a steady incline for the Chanticleers (Chaucer’s rooster) which NDSU fans have seen first hand. The Chants have won seven Big South conference titles with five trips to the FCS playoffs. The program got on the national radar with the hiring of Joe Moglia, who most everyone knows was the former CEO of Ameritrade. The Chants blew up in 2013 when they went to Missoula, Montana and beat the Grizzlies in the second round of the FCS playoffs 42-35. The following week they came to Fargo and saw their season ended by the Bison. Last year was a tremendous season, had they not lost their season finale to Liberty, Coastal likely would have been the number one seed for the FCS playoffs. As it was, CCU was placed in the same bracket as NDSU and got another trip to Fargo. Last year’s game was tremendous, Coastal was an improved and athletic team, led by quarterback Alex Ross, who nearly knocked off the Bison, 39-32.
Only the Bison have more wins than Coastal over the last two years (NDSU – 29, Coastal Carolina – 24) and they must believe they have the fan base to make the jump to the FBS. The first concern is the stadium, since it only holds about 9500, the school has already said it will immediately expand to 20,000 seats. The bigger concern in my opinion is competition. Coastal has yet to defeat an FBS opponent (0-6) and have only come close in one game:
- 2008 Penn State Lost 66-10
- 2009 Kent State Lost 18-0
- 2009 Clemson Lost 49-3
- 2010 West Virginia Lost 31-0
- 2011 Georgia Lost 59-0
- 2012 Toledo Lost 38-28
- 2013 South Carolina Lost 70-10
Is this the right time to move? So much is uncertain about what’s going to happen next with the Power 5 conferences and with cost of attendance already separating some schools it seems to me like a dicey time. Coastal wasn’t mentioned as a potential school on the move, it was CCU’s chief rival, Liberty, who is paying cost of attendance, that badly wanted the Sun Belt invite. Eastern Kentucky and James Madison were the other options, but it’s the campus located not far from Myrtle Beach that gets to move up.
There’s no way to ignore, this hurts the FCS. Coastal is an emerging football power at this level, Georgia Southern proved they were ready to win in the Sun Belt when they moved up, I don’t know if the Chants will be as fortunate when they make the full move in 2017.
UPDATE: Coastal’s president says its a 100,000 dollar buyout fee from the Big South and a two million dollar entry fee for the Sun Belt. Coastal will remain eligible for the 2015 FCS Playoffs, but will not be eligible for the postseason in 2016. (Georgia Southern and App State weren’t allowed in 2013) CCU will host Western Illinois this season, the Chants are supposed to come to Macomb in 2017, but I don’t expect that to happen. The Chanticleers will be eligible for the 2017 Sun Belt title, but no bowl game until 2018.