Hey, schedule-maker, please make these games happen
There are plenty of FCS matchups to look forward to in the 2019 season, but there's nothing wrong with playing matchmaker for the ones that aren't scheduled.
Who knows, maybe we’ll see some of the following matchups in the postseason.
Here a quick wish list. Let’s get ready to rumble.
James Madison vs. North Dakota State
This was a game everybody wanted to see again in the FCS playoffs last season, but it fell one game short of happening. A rebounding JMU — the 2016 FCS champ and '17 runner-up — is chasing a reloading NDSU, winner of seven of the last eight national titles.
Eastern Washington vs. Big Sky playoff teams
Sorry, Big Sky schedule-maker, we're throwing a flag. EWU, the 2018 national runner-up, isn't playing last year's three other playoff teams — fellow conference champs Weber State and UC Davis as well as Montana State — in the largest FCS conference's unbalanced schedule this year.
North Carolina A&T vs. Princeton
North Dakota State was an unbeaten FCS champion last season, but Princeton went 10-0 and North Carolina A&T claimed the HBCU national title.
Maine vs. South Dakota State
These two national semifinalists aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They may as well meet at SDSU after Maine played nine road games last season.
UC Davis vs. Jacksonville State
Quarterbacks Zerrick Cooper of Jacksonville State and Jake Maier of UC Davis were responsible for more points last season than any returning players in the FCS — 234 and 230, respectively.
Montana vs. Sam Houston State
It never seems right when these two national programs sit on the playoff sideline, like last season. Let them square off for a bid.
Harvard vs. New Hampshire
Who’s ducking who? Separated by just over an hour's drive, these two New England powers haven't met since 1939.
Chattanooga vs. Kennesaw State
A new rivalry has sprung between Kennesaw State and Jacksonville State. Here’s another possibility with fewer than 100 miles standing between these two schools.
Colgate vs. Duquesne
Few opponents could solve Colgate's top-ranked FCS defense a year ago. Duquesne All-America running back A.J. Hines would relish that challenge.
CAA Football vs. Southern Conference
The Big Sky and Missouri Valley conferences have a terrific challenge series. Surely, the CAA and SoCon, which combined for seven straight national titles in the 2000s, can find a way to schedule regular matchups.
— 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 of James Madison Athletic)