What does “FBS” Mean in College Football? Is “FCS” worse or better?

jacksonville state fcs what is fcs
FCS Jacksonville State upsets FBS Florida State

The college football landscape is confusing, certainly much more complicated than its professional counterpart, the NFL. So, when you hear terms like “FBS” and “FCS” thrown around while watching college football, it’s easy to get confused. Here’s a brief explanation of what exactly “FBS” and “FCS” mean in College Football.

FBS stands for “Football Bowl Subdivision”. The reason it’s called a subdivision is because both FBS and FCS are technically Division 1 football – but, “FBS” is the more competitive level. The primary difference between FBS and FCS Football is how the championship is played.

FBS Football has bowl games (hence, “Bowl Subdivision”). In the current version of this format, 2 of the New Years Six Bowls (rotating) are semifinal games between the top 4 college football teams, and then the two winners of those championship games go on to play the championship game, run by ESPN.

Appalachian State, at the time, a subdivision 1-AA team, upsets Michigan, a subdivision 1-A team
Appalachian State, at the time, a subdivision 1-AA team, upsets Michigan, a 1-A team

FCS stands for “Football Championship Subdivision”. In FCS Football, the top 24 FCS Subdivision teams play in a bracket style tournament for the NCAA Championship trophy.

Fun fact – this is the highest level college football championship awarded by the NCAA itself. The ESPN College Football Championship Game is what is almost always used to designate the NCAA champion, but there are technically other championship selectors that could make multiple different teams count as National Champions. For an example of this, see UCF in 2017, in which they were awarded National Champions by the Colley Matrix, even though Alabama won the National Championship game – most everyone refers to Alabama as the champions that year, but UCF technically has a rightful claim.

Another significant difference between the two subdivision is that FBS teams can award 85 football scholarships while FCS teams can only award 63. This contributes to FBS college football teams having an elevated standard of play, but the main driver between the increased competitive level of these schools is that the best conferences in the country form the Football Bowl Subdivision.

north dakota state what is fcs football
North Dakota State, perennial FCS Champions

The subdivision split traces its roots to 1978, when Division 1 football was split into two subdivisions, 1-A and 1-AA. The main driver of this split was that the smaller D1 schools couldn’t keep up with the largely developed football programs of the largest D1 schools. This is similar to “mid majors” vs Power Conference basketball teams in College Basketball. In 2006, these two subdivisions were given the FBS and FCS names they hold today.

Though FBS is technically the higher level of play, FCS football is spectacular to watch. The large tournament system for the championship is extremely exciting and may even reflect the future state of the FBS playoff. Here at CFB Select, we love college football of all kinds – bookmark our site and follow us at @CFBSelect on Twitter if you do too!

Best Candidates for PAC 12 Realignment

The Big Ten has announced that USC and UCLA will join from the PAC 12. More PAC 12 schools are already reported as applying for admission to the Big Ten. Here’s who a desperate PAC 12 may invite to replace them.

Note: The PAC 12 would need to vote to relax it’s research school requirement before admitting most of these members.

San Diego State

San Diego state SDSU pac 12 realignment

The San Diego state Aztecs have been reunited to the PAC 12 multiple times before, and they fall right in its footprint. Furthermore, they’re one of the better Mountain West Schools at both football and basketball.

UNLV

UNLV pac 12 realignment

The new Las Vegas Raiders stadium is quickly becoming the best away game in the NFL. Who’s to say you couldn’t have such an away game for college football? UNLV would bring much needed money into the PAC 12 as well.

Boise State

Boise state pac 12 realignment

Boise State was often rumored to the PAC 12 as well after their stand out performances in the field at the highest level (we all remember the Fiesta Bowl). They’d also fit in the PAC 12 realignment footprint.

Nevada (Reno)

Nevada pac 12 realignment

Nevada is one of the more realistic candidates as they would have less academic barriers to entry to hurdle. They also have a consistently relevant football program, producing the likes of Kaepernick and Carson Strong. Plus, a natural rival for the addition of UNLV.

Do you agree with our picks? Think we got it all wrong? Share the link on Twitter and tag us (@CFBSelect) to start the conversation.

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Fans Speak Out: Most Over-Hated Coaches in CFB

Despite good to great on field performance and calm demeanors, some college football coaches are just always hated by fans. Yesterday on Twitter we asked our fans who they think the most over hated coach in CFB is right now. Let us know in the replies if you agree or disagree.

Dabo Swinney

Despite skyrocketing from WR coach to the most decorated active CFB coach besides Saban, Dabo has many haters. In fact, this rise to the top is almost certainly a huge factor in most of the hate Dabo Swinney gets. That being said, some perceive his southern tone as occasionally ‘holier than thou’. Here’s some comments from our fans:

PJ Fleck

PJ Fleck started as one of the more inspiring stories in college football. His “row the boat” mantra and punching far above his weight as Western Michigan to an undefeated regular season, everyone seemed to be behind this man when he got the job at Minnesota. However, PJ Fleck hasn’t had nearly the support at Minnesota as he did at WMU. Here’s what our fans have to say:

Here’s some other great nominees for most over hated college football coach by our fans. Which currently active CFB coach do you think is hated on too much? Let us know in the replies and they’ll appear in our CFB forums.

Would you say you need to be one of the best CFB Coaches to be over hated? Will Dabo Swinney, Jim Harbaugh, Gus Malzahn, Scott Frost or PJ Fleck shake their hate if they have their most successful CFB season in 2022, or will it only make the hate worse? As always, let us know in the comments and they’ll appear in our CFB forums on the forums tab.

Why CFB Players Need a (Real) Union

Unions are, by nature, controversial. Anyone that’s worked at a company with the option to unionize has seen ads on both sides – high dues seem like an unfair and unnecessary cost, but organizing brings higher wages, better protections and workers rights.

All major professional sports leagues have their own union. The MLBPA just finished negotiations with league ownership, and last offseason marked a historic collective bargaining agreement for the NFL. But, what about amateur athletics?

It doesn’t seem to make sense at first, as “amateur” and “workers rights” don’t often align. But we need to face the facts – CFB athletes are no longer amateur athletes. With the advent of NIL deals, the capability for athletes to make real money is available – and the opportunity for them to get really screwed by team and corporate interests.

A “CFBPA” exists, but based on their website, it looks like it’s a private upstart with little industry backing.

Here are the reasons CFB needs a real union:

Protect players from predatory NIL agreements

Yes, NIL deals were founded to allow players to benefit, but anytime contract law comes into play, shady characters will come about. Students need real protections from these that can be strengthened with a players union.

Collective Bargaining for Future Salary and Benefits

If you haven’t seen the writing on the wall, wipe off your glasses. One way or another, players will receive salary of some kind in the next decade or two. Setting up a union in advance of this allows players to negotiate for a better deal with real power. Even if player payment is through more back door avenues like NIL, the players will be on the short end of the stick if they don’t have organizing power.

Player Safety

Schools say they’re committed to player safety, as does the NFL. But, most of the NFL’s safety improvements have come from pressure from ten players organization. If CFB players had a similar agreement, they’d have much more strength to negotiate for league wide protections like the NFL has implemented to reduce concussions.

Other Improvements

There are many other improvements that don’t fit under these general categories. For example, the NFLPA has a program that allows any player to get covered transit to reduce DUI incidents. Similar programs could protect young players – both retaining them in play by preventing punishable incidents and also improving their lives.

Roadblocks

Obviously some roadblocks exist. Anything involving the NCAA is a negotiating nightmare, and the conference structure as well as individual schools and teams would mean multiple different negotiations having to occur vs. a single ownership body. Working with schools is also difficult because many are government institutions. That being said, these roadblocks are not complete barriers and often serve as excuses to prevent players from organizing.

Let us know what you think in the replies.

Where James Madison falls in Conference Realignment

The James Madison Dukes will hopefully make the jump to FBS soon.
The James Madison Dukes will hopefully make the jump to FBS soon.

College Football has been dominated by a dynasty for the last decade. Then, in January 2017, they were finally dethroned by a new contender. No, we’re not talking about Clemson Alabama. We’re talking about North Dakota state, who has won the FCS championship 8 times since 2010, finally being dethroned by the James Madison Dukes.

But, the Dukes are making headlines once again with conference realignment. First, the SEC snatched Texas and Oklahoma in a stunning news break that took just a week to come to fruition. Then, the Big 12 bounced back by raiding the American Conference for Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and then plucking independent BYU. The ripples keep going – the American has now announced they’ll be taking 6 teams from Conference USA, and it appears more movements are to come with Marshall and potentially Southern Miss looking to join the Sun Belt.

FCS James Madison squares up against FBS NC State
FCS James Madison squares up against FBS NC State.

James Madison has frequently had their name thrown into these conference realignment conversations. But, it takes a lot to make the jump from FCS to FBS. Only a few schools have done it recently (namely Coastal Carolina and Liberty), but both have obviously managed enormous success since then. However, they have something JMU doesn’t have as much of – a willingness to throw money into their athletic department.

Liberty has their Christian boosters and Coastal has baseball money. While JMU has been quite successful since that 2016 championship, they don’t exactly have the athletic budget to pour into the upgrade. But, would they sustain success if they made it? And where would they even go?

James Madison vs NC State
UNC vs James Madison. This could be a regular FBS matchup.

One things for sure – CUSA is not the answer. If CUSA even manages to survive this raid on their conference, they will have almost no contenders. WKU would probably be the best school remaining. So, why would JMU, who is doing just fine and succeeding in the contentious DC recruitment area, make this suicide jump?

The only valid place for them to go is the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt has quickly positioned themselves as the premiere G5 conference, or at least on equal footing with the American. Louisiana has been great as of late. Coastal is putting up massively winning records in back to back years and getting a lot of attention. Troy has had recent success, and will likely bring it back soon. If Southern Miss gets added, who knows how soon they could return to glory?

But, James Madison has a lot of advantages over these sunbelt teams. They’re arguably in the third best recruiting area in the country. They have a history of success, and a very meaningful trophy to show for it. They have a decently active alumni base who would get on board fast. And they’re stadium – it’s one of the most beautiful stadiums in CFB (though we did not include it on our FBS list).

So, what happens next for the James Madison Dukes? Do they stay in FCS? Do they make the jump? We expect we’ll be seeing them in the “Fun Belt” soon, but CFB is messy – don’t hold your breath.

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The 5 Best Iowa Hawkeyes Football Uniforms of All Time

We look at the 5 Best Iowa Hawkeyes Football Uniforms of all time, including throwbacks, alternates, classics and more.

Some people (actually, many people) find the Iowa Hawkeye Football Uniforms boring. Most say they are a rip off of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, here at CFB Select, we pride ourselves in enjoying the best of EVERYTHING college football – and that includes these black and gold classic. Below we look at some of the best Hawkeye Football uniforms of all time.

#5 2017 Blackout Uniforms

2017 Iowa Football Blackout Uniforms
2017 Iowa Football Blackout Uniforms

Ohio State fans, look away. These blackout uniforms were used for the 2017 Night Game at Kinnick, in which the unranked Hawkeyes beat down #5 Ohio State 55-24. Never invade Russia in the Winter, and never play Iowa in Kinnick at night. The grauy details on the helmet really make the Iowa gold pop, and give the Hawkeyes an almost futuristic look.

#4 2019 Gold Alternates

Iowa Hawkeyes Gold Alternate Jerseys
2019 Iowa Football Gold Jerseys

Some disliked these bright gold uniforms, but you can’t deny they made a statement. These iconic uniforms paid homage to Iowa’s “banana peel” uniforms of yesteryear. Perhaps these vibrant uniforms are most remembered for the live eagle featured in the announcement photo shoot.

Iowa Football Hawk Photo Shoot
Iowa Football’s Hawk Photo Shoot

#3 1939 “Ironmen”

Colorized footage of the 1
Colorized footage of the 1939 Iowa Football team, featuring Nile Kinnick

Alright, you can’t complain about the quality of the photo when this game happened over 80 years ago. Perhaps the Iowa “Ironmen” team was best known for quarterback Nike Kinnick, who literally won every major award in the country. But, we also remember this team for a uniform that made them literally look like men of steel, striking fear in even the burliest men of the ’30s.

#2 1977 Script Iowa Helmets

1977 Cy-Hawk football: Iowa beats ISU in 1st game of rekindled rivalry
The 1977 Iowa Football Uniforms, featuring the Script Iowa Helmet

The helmet definitely carries these uniforms. Iowa didn’t do amazingly well this season, which was perhaps the reason for ditching the short lived script logo. This is certainly a shame, as this logo would be one of the best script logos in college football. Bring it back as an alternate!

The 1977 Iowa Football Script Helmets
The 1977 Iowa Football Script Helmets

#1 2010 “Evy Era” 1958 Throwbacks

1958 Iowa Football Throwback Uniforms
1958 Iowa Football Throwback Uniforms

Simple is often better with football uniforms – the 2010 Evy Era Iowa Throwbacks are a perfect example of this. These uniforms feature bold numbers on both the helmet and chest, and crisp gold pants with a single black stripe that make the gold helmet pop even more, and the perfect absence of that pesky Hawkeye logo. Not only are these uniforms absolute classics that I wouldn’t mind becoming Iowa’s home uniform, they hearken back to the most successful era of Iowa Football. Iowa won the Big Ten, the Rose Bowl and ended the season ranked No. 1 in 1958. Though these uniforms appear simple at first, they would instantly become one of the most iconic uniforms in college football if made permanent.

Which uniforms do you want us to rank next? Let us know in the replies.

Best Rivalries in the New Big 12

UCF vs BYU Big 12 Rivalry
A previous UCF and BYU face off

It’s officially official. BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston have accepted their invites to the Big 12. They’re slated to join the conference in 2023, which means they’ll have 2 years of overlap with Texas and Oklahoma unless those schools make a deal to leave early (which is expected). So, in this new college football landscape, what great rivalries will emerge?

Houston vs Texas Tech

Houston vs Texas Tech Big 12 Rivalry
Texas Tech vs Houston

Nothing like college football in Texas, right? Texas Tech and Houston have faced off a number of times before (33 times to be exact – with Houston leading 18-14-1), so this rivalry has precedent even beyond the in state factor. One might even argue this is already a rivalry, but we’re very excited to see the hatred truly blossom now that they’ll be conference rivals. As a bonus, the winner can get a Texas recruiting edge.

Cincinnati vs West Virginia

WVU vs Cincinnati Big 12 Rivalry
A Big East era WVU vs Cincinnati match up

This was a Big East conference game from 2005-2012, as our older readers will remember. WVU has wanted a more local conference member ever since they joined the Big 12, so they’re surely one of the most excited to hear about the addition of Cincinnati. WVU has a commanding lead of the all time series, 16-3-1.Here’s hoping the hatred is still alive between these two teams and we’ll get some exciting Coal Country matchups.

BYU vs UCF

BYU 49, UCF 23: Boca Raton Bowl 10 Things To Know

Forget Catholics vs Convicts – UCF vs BYU is the new party boys vs church goers. These teams have only played 3 times (BYU leads 2-1), but the previous matchup in the 2020 Boca Raton bowl showed how electric it can be when these two schools face off. They’re not even close geographically, but we think what will make this rivalry great is just how different these schools are.

What other rivalries do you think will blossom in the new Big 12? Let us know in the replies or on Twitter @CFBSelect.

College Football Week One: Top CFB Stories

Here’s this week’s top college football news. We’ll post the top CFB headlines and happenings in this format at the start of the work week.

The Big 12’s Expansion Choices Are Submitting Their Official Applications

Cincinnati Houston BYU UCF Big 12
Cincinnati vs UCF 2020. Both are Big 12 Expansion Selections.

Both Cincinnati and UCF have confirmed submitted their applications to join the Big XII. It is expected that the other two rumored expansion selections, BYU and Houston, will also submit theirs by the end of the week. Additional rumors suggest that the new members could be approved as soon as the weekend. BYU would be able to join as early as next year due to being an independent, but the other three schools would have to complete negotiations with the American conference as they are under contract through 2025.

Michigan State Football Players to Receive $500 Stipend from United Wholesale Mortgage

Michigan State Football NLI $500 Stipend United Wholesale Mortgage
Michigan State Football players celebrate a win vs Nothwestern

We’ve seen some wild Name, Image and Likeness (NLI) contracts now that players are allowed to receive money for their brands. But, in a wild new deal, every Michigan State football player will now receive a $500 monthly stipend (including during the offseason) from United Wholesale Mortgage, owned by an MSU alum. Who wouldn’t want to play for that kind of deal? We expect to see more of the biggest NLI deals come from P5 teams in the coming months.

Iowa State to Wear Black Uniforms vs Iowa

Iowa State White/Black/White Uniforms vs Iowa
Iowa State in the White/Black/White Uniforms they’ll wear vs Iowa

Normally a uniform announcement wouldn’t make our top headlines, but this reveal has stirred up the bad blood between Cyclones and Hawks. The Iowa Hawkeyes are one of a few schools to use black as a primary color, and they have a history of getting ticked off when other schools wear black jerseys against them for this reason. So, having their biggest rival in the Iowa State Cyclones wearing all black has made some Hawkeyes blood boil. We’ll see it settled on the field this weekend in the first Top 25 match up (and both Top 10 nonetheless) of the CyHawk rivalry.

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Preseason CFB Uniform Round Up

The “Uniform Round Up” is a new series on our site. In these posts, we’ll show you some of the best college football uniforms teams have released. These will often be alternate uniforms, but we may do historical uniform recaps as well. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that CFB uniforms are one of the coolest aspects of the sport, and a huge part in each school’s identity. Without further ado, here’s our favorites for the last week.

Kansas “Hail To Old KU” Homecoming Uniforms

Kansas Football Alternate Homecoming Uniforms
Kansas Football Alternate Homecoming Uniforms

These confirms hearken back to the days when Gale Sayers was still torching opponents’ defenses, a player fittingly known as the “Kansas Comet”. The light blue tops and dark blue helmets create a striking contrast while still looking traditional (especially thanks to the number style). Throwback “bowtie Kansas” and retro Jayhawk logos also adorn the fantastic uniform. This is one of the coolest CFB uniforms we’ve seen announced for the upcoming season.

Louisville “All Red” Uniforms

Louisville All Red Alternate Uniforms
Louisville All Red Alternate Uniforms

The “Color Rush” style of uniform is often tried, and while the simplicity always creates a pleasingly bold image on the field, few schools have hit the mark quite like this. These all red Louisville uniforms are one of the crispest single color uniforms we’ve seen, up there with the all black Iowa State uniforms that won our best CFB uniform competition in 2019 (back when we were Grid Lines Blog). The black shadow on the numbers and matte red helmets complete the look – will we see a red rush across the field that brings back memories of Lamar Jackson?

NC State “Light It Up Red” Uniforms

NC State Brick Clocktower Alternate Uniforms
NC State Brick Belltower Alternate Uniforms

Tuffy is one of the coolest mascots in sports. The only thing better – retro Tuffy. Not only do the”Light It Up Red” Uniforms give us exactly that on a really neat brick wall helmet (three little pigs vibes, anyone?), they also bring the contrast of bright red numbers standing out on a black pinstripe background. These uniforms pay homage to Memorial Belltower on NC State’s campus, which is lit up red for the university’s biggest achievements and occasions (as well as for holidays honoring veterans). A very cool uniform for a very cool tradition – after all, aren’t traditions what college football is all about?

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