BOONE — It’s the time of year when preseason college football polls and predictions make their way to the printed page.
Appalachian State was ranked No. 4 by USA Today in the Group of Five power rankings that was released by the publication Aug. 15.
The Mountaineers, which are ranked No. 32 in the overall USA Today FBS rankings, finished 11-2 last season and beat Middle Tennessee 45-13 in the New Orleans Bowl. The Mountaineers, under new head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, opens its 2019 season Aug. 31 at home against East Tennessee State.
Central Florida is the top ranked Group of Five team and is also No. 14 in the overall poll. The Knights, which play in the American Athletic Conference, finished 12-1 last season, but lost to LSU 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Army is No. 2 in the Group of Five poll, followed by Boise State at No. 3. San Diego State is No. 5.
Appalachian State is the only Sun Belt Conference team ranked in the poll, which has 10 teams. The Mountaineers are coming off an undisputed Sun Belt championship after beating Louisiana 30-19 in the first annual Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.
Drinkwitz takes over a team that returns nine starters on offense, including quarterback Zac Thomas. The Mountaineers also return seven defensive starters and several special teams players
Cincinnati checks in the power rankings at No. 6, followed by Ohio at No. 7. Memphis is No. 8, while Fresno is No. 9 and North Texas is No. 10.