College Football FCS

College Football FCS

In the National Collegiate Athletics Association, there are three divisions of competition: Division I, Division II, and Division III. In Division I, there are two subdivisions specifically for teams that play football: they are the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision-or FBS and FCS, respectively.

There are currently 125 NCAA FCS programs, compared to 130 in the FBS. Teams in the FBS tend to have larger national brands, better recruits, larger budgets, bigger facilities, and higher attendances. They do not, however, historically have a stable postseason tournament system, as the FCS does. Starting around Thanksgiving, FCS schools begin to participate in the NCAA Division I Football Championship.

Tournament Format

The tournament itself began with four teams in 1978, and has since grown to include 24 teams. 10 of these teams come from conference champions of automatic-qualifying conferences, while the other 14 are from at-large bids. The bids and seeding are determined by a committee (similar to the FBS's College Football Playoff Selection Committee).

The NCAA Division I Football Championship is single-elimination. There are eight seeded teams that receive first-round byes, while the remaining 16 play preliminary games. The winners move on to play the seeded teams in a traditional bracket structure.

Notable Programs

Since the tournament began in 1978, no program has appeared in the Championship more than Georgia Southern, who hold a 6-2 all-time record in the title game. North Dakota State has a 7-0 record in title games, winning all seven in eight years from 2011-2018. Other programs with more than two titles are Youngstown State and Appalachian State.

Some programs find so much success at the FBS level that they are able to make the jump into the FBS. Georgia State, Appalachian State, Marshall, and Boise State offer a few examples.


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