This college football season, FBS teams will play FCS teams 111 times. The FBS team will always be at home, paying the FCS team to make the road trip and then roll over.
But not every FCS team will play dead. Some FBS squads, with their 85-scholarship allowance and home-field advantage, will lose to their 63-scholarship visitors.
A few SBNation.com staffers had a draft to pick the most likely such upsets this year. Yes, the person with the first pick chose Kansas.
1. Nicholls State over Kansas, Week 1
Picked by Richard Johnson
If there’s a team that looks primed to lose to an FCS opponent, it’s gotta be the Jayhawks. They’ve already done it once in David Beaty’s tenure, and they host Nicholls in Week 1, which nearly beat Georgia in 2016. Nicholls is coming off its best season ever, with much of its team returning.
S&P+ projected margin: Kansas by 16
Spread: Kansas -9.5
2. North Carolina A&T over ECU, Week 1
Picked by Alex Kirshner
Yeah, give me the team coming off an undefeated season over the one that already purchased a one-way ticket to Three and Ninesville.
S&P+ projected margin: ECU by 7
Spread: ECU -9.5
3. UC Davis over San Jose State, Week 1
Picked by Matt Brown
UC Davis was just OK last season and didn’t put up too much of a fight against San Diego State, a team far better than SJSU. But the Aggies played very strong FCS teams close, and SJSU is still totally rebuilding under second-year coach Brent Brennan.
S&P+ projected margin: SJSU by 3
Spread: UC Davis -1.5
4. Eastern Washington over Washington State, Week 3
Picked by Brian Floyd
[Editor’s note: Brian Floyd is a Washington State alum.]
S&P+ projected margin: WSU by 27.5
5. Kennesaw State over Georgia State, Week 1
Picked by Spencer Hall
S&P+ projected margin: Georgia State by 6
Spread: Kennesaw State -1
6. Eastern Kentucky over Bowling Green, Week 3
Picked by Bill Connelly
S&P+ projected margin: BGSU by 25.9
7. Fordham over Charlotte, Week 1
Picked by Morgan Moriarty
S&P+ projected margin: Charlotte by 26.8
Spread: Charlotte -15.5
8. South Dakota State over Iowa State, Week 1
Picked by Ryan Nanni
I like the Jackrabbit as a mascot, and picking a South Dakota school allows me to clumsily reheat the profile I did on the Black Hills Brawl, one of college football’s longest rivalries in terms of games played. BLOG LAW REQUIRES THIS SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION AT ALL TIMES.
S&P+ projected margin: Iowa State by 21.8
Spread: Iowa State -14
9. Southern Utah over Oregon State, Week 2
Picked by Bud Elliott
It was S&P+’s lowest predicted margin of victory for any remaining FBS v. FCS game. I can’t name a player on either team.
S&P+ projected margin: Oregon State by 7.4
Spread: not out yet
10. Incarnate Word over New Mexico, Week 1
Picked by Steven Godfrey
S&P+ projected margin: New Mexico by 35.7
Spread: New Mexico -35.5
11. James Madison over NC State, Week 1
Picked by Caroline Darney
NC State is no pushover, but JMU is the clear No. 2 team in FCS and the Wolfpack lost their entire starting defensive line to the NFL Draft. Ryan Finley is a great QB, but State will have to be on their game against a defense that held opponents to a FCS-best 11.1 points per game. JMU scored a big upset over Virginia Tech in 2010 and a nominal one against ECU last year.
S&P+ projected margin: NC State by 24.3
Spread: NC State -14.5
12. Northern Arizona over UTEP, Week 1
Picked by Jason Kirk
Despite having to pick last, I landed the game in which a 2017 FCS playoff team is a touchdown favorite over 2017’s only winless FBS team. Thank you to my co-workers for this gift.
S&P+ projected margin: UTEP by 1.8
Spread: Northern Arizona -8
What would your first pick be?
Your reward for a correct pick will be the same as ours: immense pride.
For your quick reference, here’s a table with every FCS vs. FBS game of the season.
2018 FBS vs. FCS games
|FCS team||FBS team|
|FCS team||FBS team|
|Prairie View A&M||Rice|
|Central Connecticut||Ball State|
|Kennesaw State||Georgia State|
|Missouri State||Oklahoma State|
|Northwestern State||Texas A&M|
|UC Davis||San Jose State|
|James Madison||NC State|
|Alcorn State||Georgia Tech|
|North Carolina A&T||ECU|
|SC State||Georgia Southern|
|Jackson State||Southern Miss|
|Southeast Missouri||Arkansas State|
|South Dakota||Kansas State|
|Stephen F. Austin||Mississippi State|
|South Dakota State||Iowa State|
|Incarnate Word||New Mexico|
|Stony Brook||Air Force|
|Holy Cross||Boston College|
|William & Mary||Virginia Tech|
|Southern Illinois||Ole Miss|
|East Tennessee State||Tennessee|
|Youngstown State||West Virginia|
|UT Martin||Middle Tennessee|
|Texas Southern||Texas State|
|Incarnate Word||North Texas|
|Southern Utah||Oregon State|
|Sacramento State||San Diego State|
|Tennessee Tech||Utah State|
|Prairie View A&M||UNLV|
|Delaware State||Western Michigan|
|Eastern Washington||Washington State|
|North Carolina Central||Duke|
|Illinois State||Colorado State|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Florida International|
|Alabama State||South Alabama|
|Alcorn State||New Mexico State|
|Western Carolina||North Carolina|