10 FCS vs. FBS Group of 5 Football Matchups That May Be Upsets in 2018

Upset alert: The majority of the subdivision victories occur here

FCS

The elite programs in FBS college football seldom lose to FCS teams, but the Group of 5 is usually fair game.

 

Last year, eight of the nine wins that subdivision squads posted over FBS opponents came from the Group of 5. Each of the five conferences were handed at least one loss.

 

This year, out of 111 matchups between the two levels of Division I, the best chances for more upsets still involve Group of 5 programs.

 

Here are 10 potential FCS upsets to look for in 2018:

 

UC Davis at San Jose State (Aug. 30)

The best offensive player on the field might be UC Davis senior wide receiver Keelan Doss, one of the leading 2019 NFL Draft prospects from the FCS. San Jose State had a mere two wins in head coach Brent Brennan's first season.

 

Kennesaw State at Georgia State (Aug. 30)

Kennesaw State has a ton of talent back from a team that posted 12 wins and reached the FCS quarterfinals in only its third season of football. While this is the Owls' first-ever game against an FBS opponent, their triple-option offense will be trouble for a Georgia State team that lost last year's opener to an FCS squad (Tennessee State).

 

Villanova at Temple (Sept. 1)

Villanova barely lost to Temple, 16-13, last year before it began to suffer bigger losses with injuries. A number of those players are back for second-year head coach Mark Ferrante, whose squad hopes to even the Philadelphia rivalry (Temple leads 16-15-2).

 

Southeastern Louisiana at Louisiana-Monroe (Sept. 1)

New Southeastern head coach Frank Scelfo shouldn't change the running game, which last year ranked third in the FCS (283 ypg) and only behind two triple-option offenses. ULM third-year head coach Matt Viator is quite familiar with the Lions, having been in the Southland Conference at McNeese from 1999-2015.

 

Northern Arizona at UTEP (Sept. 1)

UTEP was the only winless team in the FBS last year and was 130th and last in Athlon Sports' "Way-Too-Early" team rankings. Oh yes, Northern Arizona redshirt junior quarterback Case Cookus has thrown for 72 touchdowns in 27 career games.

 

Howard at Kent State (Sept. 8)

As a freshman last year, Howard quarterback Caylin Newton (Cam's younger brother) helped Howard beat UNLV for the biggest point-spread upset (45 1/2 points) in history. Kent State, coming off a 2-10 season, is breaking in a new signal-caller.

 

Wofford at Wyoming (Sept. 15)

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl faced Wofford in the 2012 FCS playoffs on the way to leading North Dakota State to the second of his three national titles. But preparing for a triple-option team is never easy, especially one that returns its top three rushers (Andre Stoddard, Lennox McAfee and Blake Morgan).

 

Maine at Central Michigan (Sept. 22)

Maine will have two weeks to prepare for the Chippewas as it has a bye week in between two FBS games (at Western Kentucky on Sept. 8). Third-year head coach Joe Harasymiak brings back his top eight tacklers.

 

Illinois State at Colorado State (Sept. 22)

The Redbirds beat Northwestern in their most-recent FBS game two years ago. They'll have to handle the elevation in Fort Collins, but their offense should be able to move the ball on a Rams defense that allowed 6.3 yards per play last year.

 

Alcorn State at New Mexico State (Nov. 3)

OK, first things first, a SWAC team hasn't defeated an FBS program since 1985. But Alcorn State has been one of the top two SWAC programs the last four years, and, well, this is New Mexico State that we're talking about.

 

-- Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.

 

(Photo courtesy Villanova University Athletics)

Event Date: 
Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 11:24

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