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10 key dates in the 2019 FCS season

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - It's cool that an FCS program played in the first college football game in 1869.

Do you think Princeton was trying to talk Rutgers into having playoffs back then?

No wait, it's the Ivy League. Playoffs? PLAYOFFS? Yeah, you know how that goes there.

At least the Ivies will be a key part of the spectacular 150th anniversary of college football. In the FCS, 126 teams across 13 conferences are set to join in the fun.

While every Saturday tends to be special in the FCS, here are 10 key dates to know for the 2019 season:

Saturday, Aug. 24 - The season begins in Week Zero with two games: Villanova at Colgate and Samford versus Youngstown State in the sixth annual FCS Kickoff.

Thursday, Aug. 29 - Everybody can start jumping into the deep end of the pool on the traditional opening night of college football - a busy Thursday night leading into Labor Day weekend. FCS vs. FBS matchups are all the rage, and in Week 1 there are 40 of them.

Saturday, Sept. 21 - The season's biggest nonconference matchup has UC Davis quarterback Jake Maier leading the Aggies into the Fargodome to face two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State.

Saturday, Oct. 26 - Week 9 may have the best schedule of the regular season, led by preseason No. 3 South Dakota State hosting North Dakota State. There's also Eastern Washington at Montana and Weber State at UC Davis in the Big Sky, James Madison hosting Tom Flacco and Towson in CAA Football, San Diego traveling to Dayton in the Pioneer Football League (USD's last league loss was at Dayton four years ago), Sam Houston State at Central Arkansas in the Southland and Southern at Alcorn State in a rematch of last year's SWAC championship game plus Alabama A&M, Alabama State and over 65,000 fans cramming into Birmingham's Legion Field.

Saturday, Nov. 9 - Defending Ivy League champion Princeton and runner-up Dartmouth will square off at Yankee Stadium in New York just three days after the 150th anniversary of Princeton playing in the first college football game against Rutgers.

Saturday, Nov. 23 - Conference championships and playoff bids will be determined across the FCS, but rivalry games take center stage as well, including Lafayette at Lehigh (a college football-high 155th meeting), Harvard at Yale (136th meeting), William & Mary at Richmond (130th meeting), Montana at Montana State (119th meeting) and Bethune-Cookman versus Florida A&M in Orlando (74th meeting).

Sunday, Nov. 24 - Dreams are either made or crushed when the NCAA unveils its 24-team playoff field.

Saturday, Nov. 30 - Eight first-round games kick off the playoff at campus sites, but the most rocking place will be the Mercedes Superdome in New Orleans, where SWAC rivals Grambling State and Southern meet in the 46th Bayou Classic. Last year's game drew an FCS season-high 67,871.

Saturday, Dec. 21 - The fifth edition of the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium pits the MEAC and SWAC champions against each other with the winner likely claiming the black college football national title as well. Each of the first four Celebration bowls have been decided by seven points or less.

Saturday, Jan. 11 - Two lucky teams will still be playing in the latest FCS championship game in history. Maybe one will be wearing green and yellow? Toyota Stadium and Frisco, Texas, will be hosting the title game for the 10th time.

Updated July 17, 2019

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