|Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Game|
|Current champion||Coastal Carolina and Louisiana|
|Most championships||Appalachian State (2)|
|Official website||Official site|
|Kidd Brewer Stadium, Cajun Field|
The Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Game is an annual college football game that determines the Sun Belt Conference's season champion. The game is played between the Sun Belt's regular season divisional champions from the East and West divisions. First contested in 2018, the game is typically played on the first Saturday of December. The current champions are the Coastal Carolina and Louisiana of the respectively East and West Divisions.
In 1987, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) approved a proposal made by two Division II conferences that allowed any conference with 12 football members to split into divisions and stage a championship game between the divisional winners, with that game not counting against NCAA limits on regular-season contests. However, the rule would not see its first use until 1992, when the Southeastern Conference, which had added Arkansas and South Carolina the previous year, launched its title game. In early 2016, NCAA legislation was passed that largely deregulated FBS conference championship games, allowing a conference with fewer than 12 teams to stage a championship game that featured either (1) the top two teams at the end of a full round-robin conference schedule, or (2) the winners of each of two divisions, with each team playing a full round-robin schedule within its division. Several months later, the Sun Belt Conference announced that they would be introducing a football championship game starting in the 2018 season.
In 2017, the conference announced the two divisions that teams would compete in, with division winners qualifying for the championship game. As the conference would have 10 teams competing in football in the 2018 season, East and West divisions were created with five teams each, with the championship game to be played at the home stadium of the team with the best College Football Playoff ranking. If no teams are ranked in the CFP selection committee, the conference will determine home field using a formula based on six computer ratings that were used in the old Bowl Championship Series standings. Unlike the conference's sports of baseball and volleyball, which are also divided into divisions, the Jaguars of South Alabama compete in the West division rather than the East.
In 2018, Appalachian State qualified as the East division team, as they had defeated Troy head-to-head, with both teams finishing the regular season with 7–1 conference records. Louisiana qualified as the West division team, as they had defeated Arkansas State head-to-head, with both teams finishing the regular season with 5–3 conference records. In the inaugural championship game, Appalachian State defeated Louisiana, 30–19. The 2019 game was a rematch of the same teams, and again saw Appalachian State defeat Louisiana, this time by a score of 45–38.
The 2020 championship game, set to feature Coastal Carolina and Louisiana, was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic effects within the Coastal Carolina program. As a result, the teams were declared co-champions for the 2020 season.
Below are the results from all Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Games played. The winning team appears in bold font, on a background of their primary team color. Rankings are from the College Football Playoff committee ranking released prior to the game.
|Date||West Division||East Division||Site||Attendance|
|December 1, 2018||Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns||19||Appalachian State Mountaineers||30||Kidd Brewer Stadium • Boone, North Carolina||14,693|
|December 7, 2019||Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns||38||21 Appalachian State Mountaineers||45||18,618|
|Canceled†||12 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns||–||19 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||–||Brooks Stadium • Conway, South Carolina||–|
|December 4, 2021||24 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns||–||Appalachian State Mountaineers||–||Cajun Field • Lafayette, Louisiana||–|
† 2020 game canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
|Selections||School||Wins||Losses||Win %||Year(s) won||Year(s) lost||No contest|
|3||Appalachian State||2||0||1.000||2018, 2019|