Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson has a message for the Sun Belt Conference, and the rest of college football.
The second-year coach of the Red wolves called out the league a little during his weekly media conference on Monday, saying his team is not “getting the respect it deserves” from its own conference
A-State (9-3, 6-0 Sun Belt) has become the poster child for SBC football with its fourth title in five seasons. On campus Saturday the Red Wolves will go for their fifth title in four seasons on campus in the season finale against Texas State.
“We have not seen a whole lot of respect from anybody talking about this past week,’’ said Anderson. “There was a lot of conversation about New Mexico State being 3-0 in their last three games and how great their tailback was. There wasn’t any conversation about our team or the fact that they had won six in a row. I feel like they have been a little overlooked. There is still conversation about App State, who we handled toe-to-toe at their place.
“The conversation we’ve had is to leave no doubt who the best team in the conference is. We don't want there to be any conversation about what the best team in the league is, and who deserves that respect. And I'm not sure that they've received a whole lot outside to be honest with you outside of Jonesboro.”
Arkansas State did have two players – quarterback Fredi Knighten and defensive back/punt returner Blaise Taylor earn player of the week recognition from the Sun Belt this past week. Until then, only three Red Wolves had been cited by the conference office. Appalachian State with eight leads that category, followed by South Alabama (6), then Georgia State, New Mexico State and A-State with 5 each.
“This is about finishing the job and leaving no doubt that they have earned the right and gaining some respect, both inside our own conference, and our own conference office,’’ he said. “From our conference in general, the other opponents, in recruiting and maybe even nationally.
“We are starting to pick up some votes. I would love to see this team finish in the Top 25. That would be a great way for these seniors to leave.
“(Do you feel like the team feels overlooked?) “Absolutely,’’ said Anderson. “I know the head coach does and I think that kinda trickles down. I just think they have been overlooked a little bit because of how they started the season. I don’t think people give them credit for just how tough that start was. At the time it was the toughest start in the country. They could have quit and they battled. For seven weeks in a row they have done what they needed to do and they are not done yet. They were not ready to celebrate. The job is not done.”
Anderson said he would love to replay some of those early season matchups, especially the Missouri game, with a healthy Fredi Knighten.
“They are not giving us any Mulligans,’’ he said.