FCS vs. FBS, 2021 — a quick rundown

Other preseason posts:

There are 117 FCS vs. FBS games this fall. Of the 128 programs in FCS (a total that includes schools transitioning to D1), 97 will face at least one FBS opponent during the autumn campaign.

The majority of the 31 FCS teams not playing an FBS outfit are from the Pioneer League and the Ivy League. None of the Pioneer League schools are tangling with an FBS team, while only one member of the Ivies will do so (Yale, which plays Connecticut).

Of the remaining 31, most have rarely (if ever) faced an FBS opponent. There are three notable exceptions, however — James Madison, North Dakota State, and Sam Houston State. Any of those three programs would be worthy adversaries for just about any FBS team, which might explain why none of them has such a squad on their respective schedules.

It is worth noting that defending SWAC champ Alabama A&M does not have an FBS opponent on its slate, either.

There are 18 FCS schools playing two FBS teams this season, and one which will play three.

That one would be LIU, which will do battle with FIU, West Virginia, and Miami (OH). I am guessing that most casual college football fans (and more than a few sportswriters) are unaware that LIU has a football program. For good or ill, a lot of people will learn about the Sharks this year. 

Not counting LIU, here is the list of the FCS schools with two FBS opponents:

  • Bethune-Cookman
  • Charleston Southern
  • Duquesne
  • Fordham
  • Gardner-Webb
  • Grambling State
  • Idaho
  • Idaho State
  • Jacksonville State
  • Maine
  • Murray State
  • Nicholls
  • Norfolk State
  • Portland State
  • South Carolina State
  • Southern Utah
  • Texas Southern
  • Wagner

Idaho is the lone FCS school playing two P5 opponents; the Vandals face Indiana and Oregon State. 

The only FCS vs. FBS contest being played at a neutral site is Jacksonville State-UAB, which will be held at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. That game is being played on Wednesday (!), September 1.

Every other FCS vs. FBS matchup will be hosted by the FBS team.

In the 48 contiguous states category, the distance award this year for FCS vs. FBS goes to Stony Brook, which travels to Eugene, Oregon to play the Ducks. That is a trip of 2,964 miles. The longest overall voyage is by Portland State, which will journey to Hawai’i.

I’ve already mentioned the Idaho-Indiana and LIU-FIU contests; other long-distance FCS vs. FBS matchups include Monmouth-Middle Tennessee State, Duquesne-TCU, Western Carolina-Oklahoma, Eastern Illinois-South Carolina, Lafayette-Air Force, South Carolina State-New Mexico State, Central Connecticut State-Miami (FL), and Maine-Northern Illinois. A special mention must be given to Fordham, which has games at Nebraska and at FAU.

Connecticut and Massachusetts are the only FBS programs this year that scheduled two FCS teams. As noted earlier, the Huskies will play Yale; UConn also has a game versus Holy Cross. UMass faces Rhode Island and Maine.

There are 15 FBS schools that will not face an FCS squad. Those programs are Boise State, Georgia State, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Navy, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, Southern California, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, and Wisconsin.

In all, 62 G5 schools face an FCS opponent, while 53 P5 schools will do so.

The season is about to start. About time…

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