The latest College Football AP Top 25 poll included some major shakeups following Week 15. The move that had the college football world buzzing involved the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Chanticleers landed the ninth-ranked position in the Week 16 AP Top 25 poll. Some people didn’t think that it was appropriate for the program to receive such a high ranking.
I’ve watched Coastal Carolina play on multiple occasions this season. The latest AP poll made me want to take in an in-depth look at the facts surrounding the Chanticleers to determine if they’re worthy of a Top 10 ranking.
Coastal Carolina’s Program History
If this is the first year that you’re ever hearing of the Coastal Carolina football program, don’t feel bad. You’re definitely not the only person reading this article that has never heard of the mid-major program in Conway, South Carolina.
Coastal Carolina could be one of the most winningest programs that many people have never heard of in their time watching college football. Coastal Carolina was an FCS powerhouse for years. The program’s first season ever was in 2003. The Chanticleers joined the Big South Conference and experienced immediate success. As a Big South member, Coastal Carolina won seven conference titles.
Coastal Carolina had a desire to move up to the FBS and they found an opportunity in the Sun Belt Conference. The Chanticleers officially joined the Sun Belt in 2017 and had full bowl eligibility the following season. The Chanticleers have never made an FBS bowl appearance, but this will change in 2020.
Coastal Carolina is 11-0 and will play for the Sun Belt Conference Championship against the 21st ranked Louisiana Ragiń Cajuns on Saturday. Coastal Head Coach Jamey Chadwell was 5-7 in his first season and has now led the Chanticleers to an undefeated regular season in 2020. The rise of Coastal Carolina football has certainly been exponential in the past 17 years.
2020: The Year the Chanticleers Make History
Coastal Carolina started the season unranked. I don’t think anyone in the country thought we’d be talking about the Chanticleers in Week 16. Coastal Carolina started their season off with a Power Five victory over Kansas. Kansas didn’t win a game this season, however, this was still a monumental victory in Week 1 for the Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina has dominated the Sun Belt this year. They’ve had two conference games where they haven’t won by at least two scores. The Chanticleers snuck by the Ragiń Cajuns with a game-winning field goal as time expired in Louisiana. Last week, they won in a highly contested shootout against Troy on the road.
We have to take these victories for what they’re worth. These are Sun Belt opponents and there is an overall difference between mid-major and Power Five football. However, they did dominate the conference. The program is leading the Sun Belt in an overwhelming number of categories including offensive and defensive scoring, offensive efficiency as well as total sacks.
The marquee victory for Coastal Carolina in 2020 came a few weeks ago against BYU. BYU was the 13th ranked team in the land and flew across the country for a 5:30 PM kickoff in South Carolina. BYU thought they were going to steamroll Coastal Carolina, but this did not end up being the case.
This same week, BYU had the opportunity to play Washington, a Power Five school, but turned it down with the hopes of securing an undefeated season. They chose to test their luck against the Chanticleers and were absolutely stunned. BYU was a 10.5-point favorite, and they were defeated 22-17.
I watched this game. This wasn’t an upset. The Chanticleers were simply just a better football team.
Are the Chanticleers Legit?
Stories like Coastal Carolina make college football so special. We all love the underdog and Coastal Carolina wears this label on their forehead. Although, this isn’t because of the talent in the Chanticleer locker room. They are an underdog in the eyes of America, but not on the field.
The Chanticleers are 11-0. Even with a minimized schedule, there are not many undefeated programs left in the country. Coastal has thrived in the Sun Belt Conference and they’ve won two games over ranked opponents. The Chanticleers have done everything in their power to show the Associated Press that they’re one of the best teams in the country.
Would Coastal Carolina lose to Alabama or Clemson? Yes, they wouldn’t be able to compete with the big dogs of college football. However, I think they could beat many teams in the Top 10 on any given Saturday.
WWE Hall of Famer, Ric Flair, made the phrase famous in his time in the ring. He claimed, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” Right now, Coastal Carolina is “the man” and until someone knocks off the Chanticleers, they deserve a seat at the Top 10 table with their impressive 2020 resume.
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