FBS Teams That Need To Beware The FCS In 2009

David HedlindAnalyst IIJune 22, 2009

While Appalachian State beating Michigan in 2007 was by no means the first time an FCS team beat an FBS team, it sure opened a lot of eyes. In fact over the years it is a fairly common occurrence to see an FCS team beat an FBS team.

I can name at least one FBS team losing to an FCS every year for the last 10 years, and I could pull them from every conference, so this isn’t just something that affects the non-automatic qualifiers.

In 2008, New Hampshire beat Army 10-28.

The aforementioned Appalachian State over Michigan in 2007.

Montana State topped Colorado 19-10 in 2006. Portland Sate got UNLV 17-6 this year as well.

Stanford lost to UC Davis in 2005.

Mississippi State dropped one to Maine 7-9 in 2004.

It was a big year for the FCS as Stephen F. Austin defeated Louisiana Monroe, 23-21. Delaware was able to beat Navy, 21-17, and Cal Poly also beat UTEP, 34-13.

Villanova walloped Rutgers to the tune of 37-19 in 2002

Northern Iowa beat Ball State in 2001. The final score was 42-39

Appalachian State had struck in 2000 also knocking out Wake Forest 20-16. Hawaii lost to Portland State 45-20 in 2000 as well.

An in-state game saw Western Illinois prevail over Northern Illinois 27-21, in 1999.

Ok so I had to look up some of those, but never the less they happened.

So who should be on the look out in 2009? Here are the teams who may be paying a lot of money and could end up on the losing end of what was likely scheduled as a warm-up game. Consider this your official warning. 


Wisconsin vs. Wofford

Wisconsin is a team of mystery. Last season they were one of the favorites to go big starting the season ranked in the top 15 but finishing outside the rankings and were 7-6 overall and on the losing end of a bowl game. They also nearly let one slip away to another FCS team at the end of the season. The Badgers edged Cal Poly in overtime by one point.

Wofford finished last season at 9-3 and are likely to be one of the favorites in the Southern Conference along with Appalachian State. They are replacing a 1000 yard rusher in Dane Romero. Oh yeah, he had 23 touchdowns too.


Indiana vs. Eastern Kentucky

Indiana is the reigning last place team in the Big 10. Eastern Kentucky is the defending Ohio Valley Champion. Indiana only beat Western Kentucky, Murray State and Northwestern last season. Two of the four losses for Eastern Kentucky came from FBS teams and one other was to eventual FCS champion Richmond in the playoffs.


Maryland vs. James Madison

James Madison went 12-2 last season with one loss coming in the semifinals. During the regular season, they actually beat the eventual FCS champion Richmond Spiders. They are replacing a very good quarterback, Rodney Landers. Maryland will need to keep an eye on return man McGee.

Maryland is replacing well over half the defensive starters and will be coming off what should be a tough trip to California and looking ahead to a revenge game against Middle Tennessee who beat Maryland last season. Sandwiched between those two, James Madison could be a trap game.


Virginia vs. William & Mary

Virginia is rebuilding both sides of the ball including just about every offensive skill position. The line returns nearly intact though. The Defense does not return any more than two starters at any level. Virginia will again be looked at as a team battling not to finish last in the ACC.

William & Mary will likely be a top 10 team in the FCS. Tailback Jonathan Grimes was the freshman leader in the FCS for all purpose yards per game. Defensive end Adrian Tracy could be the best at the position in the FCS.


Duke vs. Richmond

Last time these two teams played is the game I mentioned above where the Spiders shutout the Blue Devils. That was 2006. The coach and attitude at Duke has since changed and I think Cutcliffe has Duke moving in a good direction.

Richmond however comes in as the defending FCS National Champions and one of the favorites to win it in 2009. I don’t expect a shutout but a close one could be in store. To be honest, I don’t even know which team winning would actually be considered the upset.

Syracuse vs. Maine

The Orange have fallen into hard times and 2009 doesn’t appear like it will be any different. A new head coach could be what they need to turn it around but how often does that happen in year one? There are some player makers in place that could at least move Syracuse out of their recent home of last place in the conference.

Maine is playing out of the very powerful Colonial conference which could be hindering them. Their last game with and FBS teams was the win over Mississippi State mentioned above. The offense will be led by QB Brusko and RB Turcotte who can run and catch. Expect many other pieces of this well balanced offense to touch the ball.


Colorado State vs. Weber State

Colorado State is considered a mid to bottom team in the Mountain West. Their biggest play maker from 2008 becomes the biggest hole to fill in 2009. Running back Gartrell Johnson, No. ten nationally in rushing yards, is gone. Rushing defense will be the weak spot on the other side of the ball. Ranked 102 in the nation last year and replacing six starters out of the front seven doesn’t fill me with confidence.

Weber State finished last season at 10-4 and made a trip to the FCS playoffs. The offense got them there and will likely get them there again. Quarterback Higgins threw for 4460 yards and 36 touchdowns. WR Tim Toone caught 1,525 yards of that with seven touchdowns. Don’t forget receivers Nakamura and Phillips who pulled in a combined 1,425 yards and 16 touchdowns. While the passing game was strong, the running game was right up there too. Trevyn Smith ran for 1,585 yards and 21 touchdowns. Smith also caught 62 passes for 778 yards coming out of the back field.


Wyoming vs. Weber State

Yeah I am calling for Weber to have a possible 2-0 record against the Mountain West. As I just mentioned the offense for Weber is pretty ridiculous. Unfortunately, I cant say the same for the defense. Only five starters are returning so they will be looking to some young guys to step up. But again the offense is just sick.

Wyoming on the other hand is replacing the backfield and is doing so at the same time as having a new coach who will bring in a new offense. With a new look offense things cant get any worse as Wyoming was 108 in total offense last season. The defense will be looking to remain the teams strength and may only have some questions in the middle at linebacker. The line and secondary return well in tact only having to find one new starter at each level.


Memphis vs. Tennessee- Martin

This game will be an offensive dual. Memphis has a 1000 yard rusher coming back, a QB that threw for 2,275 yards and 12 TD and a couple of receivers that are en route to the top of the receiving records at Memphis. Unfortunately the line needs rebuilding.

UTM is led by QB Cade Thompson throwing to receivers Hicks and Thomas. Keeping the passing game honest is a stable of backs led by Brandyn Young. UTM had the Ohio Valley Conference’s best offense and is in good shape to again.

San Jose State vs. Cal Poly

San Jose State has been running in the middle of the WAC pretty consistently the last few years. Both lines will be strengths with numerous starters back for both. The offense was nothing special last year and replacing many of the skill players won’t help. The pass defense was strong last year ranking top 10 in the nation. With wholes that need to be filled, they may not achieve the same stats.

Cal Poly will be looking to win under new head coach Tim Walsh after Rich Ellerson left for Army. Cal Poly is favored to win the upstart Great West Conference, as they did last season. They will be doing so without offensive weapon Ramses Barden. Barden caught 67 passes for 1257 yards and 18 touchdowns.


Hawaii vs. Central Arkansas

Hawaii is stil trying to get back to what it had in 2007. The offensive passing game is still one of the top in the nation, but still fails in comparison. Defensively, only two starters return. One advantage will be that the game is in Hawaii. Hawaii isn’t invincible at home, but they certainly play better.

Central Arkansas was the Southland champion last season but unfortunately they are transitioning from DII to DIAA. That doesn’t change the fact that they had a 10-2 record. They will miss quarterback Nathan Brown who was one of the best FCS quarterbacks last year.. That could make a world of difference.


New Mexico State vs. Prairie View A&M

New Mexico State may very well find themselves at the bottom of the WAC this season. New Coach DeWayne Walker will have his work cut out for him as he tries to retool the offense while bolstering the defense. He is a defensive coach and this is where the work needs to be done. Fortunately the defense returns strong at the linebackers and backs.

Prairie View A&M will again rely on 1,000 yard rusher Donald Babers. They may only be a middle of the pack Southwestern Athletic Conference team but they were 9-1 in doing so.


Ball State vs. New Hampshire

Ball State was one of the darlings of the 2008 season. They went undefeated through the regular season before losing in the MAC championship game and losing their bowl game. More importantly they lost head coach Brady Hoke to San Diego State and quarterback Nate Davis to the NFL. Fortunately for he Cardinals MiQuale Lewis is back to lead the running attack.

The New Hampshire offense should be strong so long as the line comes together. All the skill positions are there with quarterback R.J. Toman leading the way. He will be helped out by tight end Scott Sicko and solid running back Chad Kackert. Playing in the tough Colonial Conference should have them well prepared for playing up.


Ohio vs. Cal Poly

The Bobcats could be a team that falls anywhere from first to last in the MAC East. They have solid returning starters on both sides but also holes to fill. If they can’t fill all those holes, Cal Poly could steal this one away.

Cal Poly has another possible win against the FBS in MAC opponent Ohio. As mentioned before, Cal Poly has a new headman. The defense will try to keep them in most games led by linebacker Carlton Gillespie.


Temple vs. Villanova

Under Al Golden the Owls have been making progress. It has been slow goings but progress none the less. That progress on offense may be nil this season as many key players need to be replaced. The defense on the other hand may be leaned on to help keep them in the right direction. With eight starters back they could turn five close losses into wins

Villanova , another Colonial Athletic Conference power, could be a top five FCS team behind 1,000 yard rusher Aaron Ball. Wide receiver Matt Szczur can catch, run, throw, and return. He did all so last year for over 1,000 all purpose yards. The linebackers appear to be the strength of the defense.


Western Kentucky vs. Central Arkansas

Two programs that are in the same place but worlds apart at the same time. Western Kentucky just completed their transition from FCS to FBS. Central Arkansas is still a year away from completing their DII to DIA transition.

WKU went from one of the top teams to middling before making the jump to FBS. During their transition years they have not been doing well. Playing nearly a full FBS schedule last season, they only won two games. Central Arkansas, on the other hand won 10 games and if it weren’t for being in the probation period would have been the outright conference champs and been eligible for the playoffs.

A few more that I am putting on warning.

Iowa State vs. North Dakota State, Mississippi State vs. Jackson State, Kansas State vs. Massachusetts, Florida State vs. Jacksonville State, Wake Forest vs. Elon, USF vs. Wofford, West Virginia vs. Liberty, SMU vs. Stephen F. Austin, Tulane vs. McNeese State, Akron vs. Morgan State, Kent State vs. Coastal Carolina, Louisiana-Monroe vs. Texas Southern, Louisiana- Lafayette vs. Southern



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