Sept. 30, 2010

BOONE, N.C. (AP) - Appalachian State has knocked off one of college football's top teams. Now the Mountaineers are thinking about joining the big boys.

The school, known for its stunning upset of Michigan in 2007 and its three straight national titles last decade, announced Thursday it will evaluate shifting from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Bowl Subdivision.

The feasibility study could take up to a year.

"With the changing Division I landscape and the unprecedented success that our football program has enjoyed on and off the field in recent years, the time is right to analyze all of our options as a Division I athletics department and football program," athletic director Charlie Cobb said.

Appalachian State joins fellow Southern Conference member Georgia Southern and Montana in beginning discussions about moving to the FBS.

The Mountaineers won three straight national championships from 2005-07 and have led the FCS in attendance the past three years. Appalachian State, which recently renovated its stadium, is averaging 28,963 fans in two home games this season as it seeks a sixth straight Southern Conference title.

Appalachian State conducted a study about moving up to college football's top tier in 1998, but decided against it.

"This study is a broad, campus-wide analysis to identify what our options are as a university, athletics department and football program going forward," Cobb said.