College Football

FCS hopes to tackle large FBS schedule


Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor

(Stats Perform) - The upset wins tend to be few and far between, but for FCS programs, an FBS game is perhaps the most anticipated of the season.

It's usually a chance to play in front of a larger crowd and to measure up against players in a larger program.

The majority of FCS scholarship programs will face an FBS opponent this season, with Montana and Sam Houston State the most notable exceptions in the 114 matchups.

Last year's three FCS wins were the fewest since 2008 (two), and there's only been 10 over the last two seasons after the FCS averaged over double digits with 62 wins in the previous six seasons (2012-17).

COVID-19 could impact 2020 schedules, but should college football teams play all of their games, here are the FCS-FBS matchups:

BIG SKY (18)

The Schedule - Cal Poly: Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 5) and California (Sept. 12); Eastern Washington: Florida (Sept. 5); Idaho: Temple (Sept. 12) and Washington State (Sept. 19); Idaho State: New Mexico (Aug. 29) and Fresno State (Sept. 5); Montana State: Utah (Sept. 12); Northern Arizona: Arizona State (Sept. 3); Northern Colorado: Colorado State (Sept. 19); Portland State: Arizona (Sept. 5) and Oregon State (Sept. 19); Sacramento State: San Diego State (Sept. 5) and Washington (Sept. 12); Southern Utah: Utah State (Sept. 12); UC Davis: Nevada (Aug. 29) and San Jose State (Sept. 12); Weber State: Wyoming (Sept. 5)

Notable - Six of the 13 Big Sky programs are facing two FBS opponents. … Cal Poly first-year coach Beau Baldwin will make his debut against Louisiana-Monroe and follow it up with a visit to Cal, where he was the offensive coordinator the last three seasons. … Not surprisingly, Eastern Washington's game against Florida - a roughly 2,700-mile trip one-way - is the program's first against an SEC program.



The Schedule - Campbell: Georgia Southern (Sept. 12); Charleston Southern: Arkansas (Oct. 3); Gardner-Webb: Georgia Tech (Sept. 12); Hampton: Old Dominion (Sept. 12); Kennesaw State: Kent State (Sept. 12); Monmouth: Rutgers (Sept. 5); North Alabama: Virginia Tech (Sept. 26) and BYU (Nov. 21)

Notable - Big South teams posted six FBS wins during the 2010s, but only one involves a program that's still in the conference (Gardner-Webb beat Ohio in overtime in 2010). … Defending champ Monmouth is making the short, 34-mile trip to Rutgers for a first-ever meeting. … Third-year transitioning member North Alabama is playing FBS opponents for the first time as an FCS program, but it beat Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana) in 1997 - the last time a Division II program defeated an FBS program.



The Schedule - Albany: UMass (Sept. 19); Delaware: North Carolina State (Sept. 26); Elon: Duke (Sept. 12); James Madison: North Carolina (Sept. 19); Maine: Ball State (Sept. 3) and UConn (Oct. 10); New Hampshire: Kansas (Sept. 5); Rhode Island: Northern Illinois (Sept. 5); Richmond: Pittsburgh (Sept. 19); Stony Brook: Florida Atlantic (Sept. 12); Towson: Maryland (Sept. 5); Villanova: Wake Forest (Sept. 19); William & Mary: Stanford (Sept. 5)

Notable - CAA has 38 all-time wins over the FBS, including seven different programs claiming victories since 2013. … Stony Brook isn't keeping the FBS visits close, playing in Florida for the second time in four seasons this year (South Florida in 2017) after being in Utah (Utah State) last year and Colorado (Air Force) in 2018. … New Hampshire's opener at Kansas marks the return of veteran coach Sean McDonnell, who missed last season for medical reasons.



The Schedule - Princeton: Army West Point (Oct. 10)

Notable - This is Princeton's first FBS game since falling 37-0 to Northwestern in 1986 and its first matchup against Army since a 20-14 Cadets' win in 1982. Army fell to Yale 49-43 in overtime in 2014 - the last time an Ivy League program played an FBS opponent.


MEAC (9)

The Schedule - Bethune-Cookman: South Florida (Sept. 12); Florida A&M: UCF (Nov. 7); Howard: Arkansas State (Sept. 12); Morgan State: Appalachian State (Sept. 5) and Northwestern (Nov. 14); Norfolk State: Charlotte (Sept. 12) and East Carolina (Sept. 19); North Carolina A&T: Liberty (Sept. 12); North Carolina Central: Ohio (Sept. 5)

Notable - Seven of the MEAC's nine FBS games are first-time matchups - Morgan State and Norfolk State with two each and Florida A&M, Howard and North Carolina Central one each. … North Carolina A&T beat FBS opponents in 2016 (Kent State), 2017 (Charlotte) and 2018 (East Carolina) - three of the MEAC's five wins in the last seven seasons.



The Schedule - Illinois State: Illinois (Sept. 4); Indiana State: Middle Tennessee (Sept. 12); Missouri State: Oklahoma (Sept. 5); North Dakota: Kansas State (Sept. 12); North Dakota State: Oregon (Sept. 5); Northern Iowa: Iowa (Sept. 5); South Dakota: Iowa State (Sept. 5); South Dakota State: Nebraska (Sept. 19); Southern Illinois: Wisconsin (Sept. 12); Western Illinois: Oklahoma State (Sept. 19); Youngstown State: Akron (Sept. 5)

Notable - The MVFC has at least one win over an FBS team in 11 straight seasons, including Southern Illinois' 45-20 rout of UMass last season. … The conference's two new coaches have opening games against FBS opponents - Missouri State's Bobby Petrino (Oklahoma) and Youngtown State's Doug Phillips (Akron). … North Dakota State, the three-time defending FCS champion, has won its last six FBS games since 2010.



The Schedule - Bryant: Central Michigan (Sept. 26); Central Connecticut State: Toledo (Sept. 26); Duquesne: Air Force (Sept. 5) and Coastal Carolina (Sept. 19); Robert Morris: Bowling Green (Sept. 12); Saint Francis: Buffalo (Sept. 12); Wagner: Miami-Florida (Sept. 12)

Notable - Saint Francis will play an FBS opponent for the first time as part of the largest FBS schedule in NEC history. Its members are 0-19 all-time, with Wagner playing in 11 of the matchups.



The Schedule - Austin Peay: Cincinnati (Sept. 3); Eastern Illinois: Kentucky (Oct. 10); Eastern Kentucky: West Virginia (Sept. 12); Jacksonville State: FIU (Sept. 3); Murray State: Georgia State (Sept. 5) and Louisville (Sept. 19); Southeast Missouri: Ole Miss (Sept. 12); Tennessee Tech: Minnesota (Sept. 12); UT Martin: Alabama (Nov. 14) and Memphis (Nov. 21)

Notable - UT Martin has an uncommon ending to the regular season with back-to-back games against FBS opponents. The Skyhawks' game at Alabama is a first-time matchup and they're 4-9-1 all-time against Memphis, including a 20-17 win in 2012. … Murray State first-year coach Dean Hood makes his debut against Georgia State. He led Eastern Kentucky to a win over Miami of Ohio in 2014.



The Schedule - Bucknell: Army West Point (Sept. 4); Colgate: Western Michigan (Sept. 4) and Syracuse (Sept. 19); Fordham: Hawaii (Sept. 12); Holy Cross: Boston College (Oct. 31); Lafayette: Navy (Sept. 12)

Notable - Lafayette is in the middle of a three-game FBS run against service academies: Army (2018), Navy (this year) and Air Force (next year). … Colgate is playing multiple FBS opponents for the first time since 1997, while Fordham has the enviable trip to Hawaii for the first time.



The Schedule - Chattanooga: Western Kentucky (Sept. 5); The Citadel: Clemson (Nov. 14); ETSU: Georgia (Sept. 12); Furman: Tennessee (Sept. 19); Mercer: Vanderbilt (Sept. 5); Samford: Florida State (Sept. 12); VMI: Virginia (Sept. 12); Western Carolina: Liberty (Nov. 14); Wofford: South Carolina (Nov. 21)

Notable - The SoCon usually has the most ambitious FBS schedule among FCS conferences, often playing ACC and SEC opponents. … The Citadel owns the two most recent SoCon wins, including last year's 27-24 overtime upset at Georgia Tech for the season's only FCS win over a Power-5 conference team. … Mercer first-year coach Drew Cronic draws Vanderbilt for his first game.



The Schedule - Abilene Christian: Texas A&M (Sept. 5); Central Arkansas: Missouri (Sept. 5); Houston Baptist: North Texas (Sept. 5); Lamar: Rice (Sept. 26); McNeese: Louisiana (Sept. 5); Nicholls: LSU (Oct. 3); Northwestern State: Tulsa (Oct. 19); Southeastern Louisiana: Tulane (Sept. 3); Stephen F. Austin: SMU (Sept. 12); UIW: Baylor (Sept. 19)

Notable - Despite their campuses being separated by just 70 miles, Nicholls will take on defending FBS champion LSU for the first time. … Central Arkansas, which shared the 2019 Southland title with Nicholls, is facing Missouri for the first time. The Bears posted one of the three FCS wins over the FBS last season (Western Kentucky). … McNeese first-year coach Frank Wilson will debut against Louisiana.


SWAC (12)

The Schedule - Alabama A&M: UAB (Sept. 12) and Mississippi State (Nov. 21); Alabama State: Texas Tech (Sept. 12); Alcorn State: Auburn (Sept. 5); Arkansas-Pine Bluff: Troy (Sept. 5) and Miami-Ohio (Sept. 12); Grambling State: South Alabama (Sept. 12) and UTSA (Sept. 19); Jackson State: Southern Miss (Sept. 19); Prairie View A&M: TCU (Sept. 12) and Louisiana Tech (Sept. 19); Texas Southern: New Mexico State (Nov. 14)

Notable - SWAC teams have been winless against the FBS opponents since Grambling State handled Oregon State 23-6 in 1985 in Shreveport, Louisiana. … Defending champ Alcorn State landed its first-ever matchup against Auburn after Alabama A&M canceled a scheduled game with the Tigers to face Mississippi State later in the season. … New Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach Doc Gamble will face FBS opponents (Troy and Miami of Ohio) in his first two games.

Updated May 5, 2020

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