The Sun Belt Conference, which is expected to add FCS schools Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, will also add Idaho and New Mexico State, CBSSports.com has reported.
Idaho and New Mexico State, which will play the 2013 season as FBS Independents, will likely be announced as football-only members later this week and will join the conference in 2014. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are expected to be announced on Wednesday.
Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are both FCS schools and would have to complete a two-year transition to the FBS. They could join the Sun Belt in 2014 but would not be eligible for the conference championship or bowl games until the 2015 season.
The addition of these four schools would give the Sun Belt 12 football-playing members beginning with the 2014 season. That would give the SBC the ability to split into two divisions and stage a conference championship game. However, it’s unclear whether the title game would debut in 2014 or 2015.
A likely division setup will be geographical with an East and West Division:
Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, South Alabama, Troy, Western Kentucky
Arkansas State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Texas State, UL Lafayette, ULM
The winner of each division will meet in the Sun Belt Football Championship Game, which will likely be hosted by the team with the best conference record or highest BCS ranking.
Update (11 a.m. ET)
Per the AJC, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will both be eligible for the Sun Belt championship after the 2014 season. Both schools will not be eligible for bowl games until after the 2015 season.