FCS Labor Day Weekend Preview: 89-Game Slate Runs Thursday-Sunday

August 29, 2023 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

At least one FCS team is featured in 89 games this week, but 58 of those are against schools from outside the FCS. Specifically, 42 games pit a FCS program against a FBS school, while 13 teams face a D2 opponent, 1 takes on a D3 program, and 2 others play a college from the NAIA division. Only the Ivy League teams are idle as they don't open play until September 16.

None of the 31 games that have FCS teams facing each other are matchups.of Top 25 teams in the FCS Coaches' Poll.

The top game based on the FCS Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com is a Coastal Athletic Conference contest that sends No. 3 William & Mary to CAA newcomer No. 27 Campbell. The Fighting Camels move over from the Big South and immediately have to tackle one of the top teams in their new conference as a 6.86-point underdog.

Bryant also left the Big South for the CAA and visits FBS member UNLV.

Meanwhile, defending national champion South Dakota State hosts a D2 Western Oregon program that was 6-5 a year ago. The Jackrabbits are a 32.44-point favorite over the Wolves from Oregon's oldest public university. The game marks the head coaching debut of former SDSU linebacker and longtime assistant Jimmy Rogers. He succeeds John Stiegelmeier who retired after 26 years.

The computer has South Dakota State ranked 2nd, behind Montana State by a mere 1/4th of a power point. The Bobcats are hosting No. 76 Utah Tech from the new United Athletic Conference (UAC) which is a collection of teams from the ASUN and WAC. Montana State is a 28.2-point computer choice.

No. 4 Furman is an 18.1-point pick at home over  No. 55 Tennessee Tech, while 5th-ranked Montana hosts 62nd-ranked Butler with an 18.88-point advantage, and 6th-ranked Sacramento State begins the Andy Thompson head coaching era at Nicholls State with a 10.34-point edge.

New Hampshire, ranked 12th, goes to No. 53 Stonehill as a 7.83-point favorite. The computer projects the Wildcats as CAA co-champs with William & Mary, and has the Skyhawks winning the NEC in just their second season in the FCS.

Other Games of Interest

No. 63 Eastern Washington and No. 8 North Dakota State square off in a neutral location in the first college football game to ever be held  US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the NFL Vikings. The Bison are favored by 14.02.

Florida A&M and Jackson State meet in a SWAC matchup in the Orange Blossom Classic at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.on Sunday. The Tigers looked impressive in their 37-7 rout of South Carolina State in the MEAC-SWAC Challenge kickoff and are a 9.82-point computer favorite over the Rattlers. Jackson State romped 59-3 in last year's game.

Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern also start the year with a SWAC game in Houston with the home team Tigers favored by 3.07 over the Panthers

Two other SWAC teams will meet on Saturday, but it won't count as a conference game when No. 70 Alabama State hosts No. 67 Southern. The Hornets are favored by 2.54 to end the Jaguars' 4-game winning streak in the series. It would be their first home win over Southern since 2005.

Grambling State and Hampton will meet at Red Bull Arena in Harrison (Newark), New Jersey on Saturday in the Brick City HBCU Kickoff Classic to be broadcast on the NFL Network.

Mississippi Valley State is a 1.51-point favorite versus D2 member Central State (Ohio) at Soldier Field on Saturday in the 25th Annual Chicago Football Classic. MVSU's new head coach, Kendrick Wade, is a former receiver, assistant and an alum who holds Bachelor and Master's degree from the school.

No. 26 Austin Peay is a slim 0.43-point underdog at No. 44 Southern Illinois.

No. 73 Cal Poly is a 5.52-point favorite at home over the 87th-ranked Toreros of San Diego. Both programs have had a coaching change, but not because their predecessor was fired. The Mustangs' Beau Baldwin left to become offensive coordinator for Arizona State after going just 4-21 at Cal Poly. He's replaced by Paul Wulff who served as Baldwin's assistant for all 3 seasons and was previously a head coach at Eastern Washington and Washington State. On the other side of the matchup, Dale Lindsey retired in March as the winningest coach in San Diego football history with a record of 80-30 over 10 seasons, including a 68-9 mark in PFL games. His teams won 7 PFL Championships and had 5 FCS Playoff appearances. He is succeeded by Brandon Moore who was named the AFCA DII National Coach of the Year in his only season as head coach at Colorado School of Mines. As a player, Moore was a linebacker on the 2001 FBS champion Oklahoma Sooners, followed by a 7-year NFL career that included 6 with the San Francisco 49ers. He appeared in 90 games and accumulated 249 career tackles.

No. 17 Chattanooga opens as 13.51-point road favorite at North Alabama, led by new head coach Brent Dearmon, which fell 17-7 to Mercer in the FCS Kickoff in Montgomery this past Saturday. Mercer was ranked 10th at the time, but dropped to 15th and must now hit the road for a game at Ole Miss.

Delaware opens the season, and CAA play, on Thursday at Stony Brook as a 7.08-point computer play.

Also See: FCS Picks/Schedule/Odds


This season has 117 of the 133 FBS schools facing one FCS opponent, and Army playing two such games for a total of 118 FBS-FCS matchups.

Of the 16 FBS schools that do NOT play a FCS program, 7 are in the B1G (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Wisconsin). 6 more are evenly split between the Big 12 (Houston, Oklahoma, Texas) and Pac-12 (Colorado, USC, Washington). The other three are Liberty (CUSA) , UTSA (American), and Virginia Tech (ACC).

This week, 42 games will feature a FBS-FCS matchup after none were played in week zero.

The FBS was 112-8 (.933) vs. the FCS last year, and is 1,686-148 (.919) since we began tracking this in 2003. 116 of the 131 FBS schools played at least one such game while Appalachian State, Army, Marshall and New Mexico State each played two.

Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24
September 24: Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10

Streaks - Current FCS Longest

SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - Won 14 straight over-all
Last: FCS Playoff 1-seed won 45-21 over North Dakota State in FCS Championship game on Sunday, January 8 at 2 p.m.
Next: Hosts Western Oregon on Thursday, August 31.

MONTANA STATE - Won 20 straight home games.
Last: FCS Playoff 4-seed lost 39-18 at 1-seed South Dakota State on Saturday, December 17.
Next: Hosts Utah Tech on Saturday, September 2.

JACKSON STATE - Won 19 straight conference games.
Last: Won 37-7 vs. South Carolina State at Atlanta.
Next: Faces Florida A&M in Miami Gardens on Sunday, September 3.

WESTERN ILLINOIS - Lost 13 straight over-all.
Last: Lost 20-13 in OT at Illinois State on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Visits FBS member New Mexico State on Saturday, September 2.

WAGNER - Lost 20 straight road games.
Last: Lost 33-0 at Duquesne on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Visits Fordham on Saturday, September 2.

PRESBYTERIAN - Lost 16 straight conference games.
Last: Lost 42-21at Stetson on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Visits Murray State on Saturday, September 2.

GEORGETOWN - Lost 11 straight home games.
Last: Lost 47-10 at home to Holy Cross on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Hosts Marist on Saturday, September 2.

HOUSTON CHRISTIAN - Lost 10 straight home games.
Last: Lost 49-7 at Tarleton on Saturday, November 19.
Next: Hosts NAIA member Arkansas Baptist on Saturday, September 2.