The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN released today six ESPNU telecasts featuring Sun Belt teams for this upcoming football season.
ESPNU will televise the seasons first game featuring a Football Bowl Subdivision team on Wednesday, August 27 as second- year Sun Belt member Georgia State hosts Football Championship Subdivision opponent Abilene Christian. Kickoff from the Georgia Dome is set for 6 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU.
The following night, UL Monroe hosts Wake Forest in an ESPNU affair in which the Warhawks will look to defeat the Demon Deacons for a second consecutive season. ULM defeated Wake Forest 21-19 last season in Winston-Salem. Kick time for the rematch is 6 p.m. (CT) from Malone Stadium.
The first conference game to be televised on ESPNU in 2014 will feature two of the leagues newest members as Georgia Southern will host Appalachian State on Thursday, September 25. The Eagles will showcase the newly renovated Paulson Stadium to a nationally televised audience as the two longtime rivals clash.
Third year Sun Belt football member South Alabama will host its first-ever nationally televised game when it hosts Troy at Ladd Peebles Stadium on Friday, October 24. Both the Jaguars and Trojans were bowl eligible at the conclusion of the 2013 football season.
Troy will play in front of the ESPNU audience for a second consecutive week when the Trojans visit Georgia Southern on Thursday, October 30. The two teams will faceoff for the first time as Sun Belt Conference members after meeting on 13 previous occasions.
Rounding out the six ESPNU games that are being announced is Texas States home contest against Arkansas State on November 20. Texas State will be competing in its second year in the Sun Belt after having been bowl eligible in its first year of competition in the league.
The Sun Belt and ESPN previously released two games that were selected to air midweek on ESPN2. 2013 Sun Belt co-champions UL Lafayette will travel to face Texas State on Tuesday, October 14 for a 7 p.m. (CT) kick time. The Ragin' Cajuns will then host the team they spilt the 2013 championship with as Arkansas State travels to Lafayette, La. on Tuesday, October 21 for a 7 p.m. (CT) start. The Red Wolves are winners of at least a share of the last three Sun Belt Championships.
Additional games available to a home viewing audience will be released at a later date. ESPN has until June 1 to select games that take place the first three weeks of the season. Beginning with the fourth week of the season, games are available to ESPN up until 12 days out from the contest.
The conference lineup for the 2014 season will see Appalachian State and Georgia Southern make their debuts as Football Bowl Subdivision and Sun Belt members, while Idaho and New Mexico State return as conference members after competing in the league from 2001 through 2004. Arkansas State (winners of two consecutive GoDaddy Bowls), Georgia State, UL Lafayette (winners of three consecutive R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowls), UL Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, and Troy complete the Sun Belt's football membership.
2014 Sun Belt-ESPNU Football Schedule
Wednesday, August 27
Abilene Christian at Georgia State 6 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Thursday, August 28
Wake Forest at Louisiana-Monroe 6 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Thursday, September 25
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern TBA (ESPNU)
Friday, October 24
Troy at South Alabama TBA (ESPNU)
Thursday, October 30
Troy at Georgia Southern TBA (ESPNU)
Thursday, November 20
Arkansas State at Texas State 8:30 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
2014 Sun Belt-ESPNU Football Notes
UL Monroe hosts Wake Forest in a rematch of last season's matchup in Winston-Salem, N.C., where the Warhawks held on for a 21-19 victory. The Warhawks gained 424 yards of offense and held the Demon Deacons to just 15 yards rushing in the win, which was secured late on a failed two-point conversion pass from Wake Forest.
The Appalachian State-Georgia Southern rivalry will be renewed on Sept. 25 at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga. This 29-game series, which has been played each season for the last 22 consecutive seasons, is a fiercely competitive game. Appalachian State owns a 16-12-1 edge in the all-time series, including a 12-10 mark in the last 22 years, and has won the last three meetings.
Texas State will be hosting its second nationally-televised game of the season following a Tuesday night tilt vs. UL Lafayette on Oct. 14.
Georgia State will play the first game of the 2014 season featuring a Football Bowl Subdivision team when they host Abilene Christian on Aug. 27.