History UsefulNotes / CollegiateAmericanFootballConferences

16th Feb '17 7:09:55 PM KYCubbie
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** Beginning in 2018, Liberty will tentatively join the FBS independent ranks. The Flames, rumored for years to be looking at an upgrade from FCS (and also lobbying heavily for an invite from the Sun Belt), pulled the trigger on the move in 2017. The NCAA gave Liberty a waiver from its transition rules, which normally require that a school have an invitation from an FBS conference before starting the transition. They will become full FBS members in 2019.


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** And just in time, too... as in February 2017, Liberty announced it would start its FBS transition. They'll play in the Big South in 2017, but won't be eligible for the FCS playoffs.
31st Jan '17 6:34:44 PM KYCubbie
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** North Dakota will leave the all-sports Big Sky Conference in 2018 to join the Summit League, which doesn't play football. The Fighting Hawks will remain in Big Sky football until 2020, when they'll join several of their traditional regional rivals in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (below).


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** As noted above, North Dakota will join the MVFC in 2020.
11th Jan '17 7:59:07 PM KYCubbie
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* ''Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)'' [Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State]: One of two football-only leagues in FCS, with a history that is, to say the least, a ContinuitySnarl. While the MVFC claims 1985 as its founding date, its history can be traced through two branches dating back as far as 1907, and involves four other conferences, one of them a women's sports league. ''[[NotMakingThisUp Seriously.]]'' Nonetheless, it's at or near the top of the FCS pecking order, and its top teams are often competitive with the bottom half or so of FBS. North Dakota State won five straight FCS titles from 2011 to 2015, and has beaten an FBS team in each season since 2010—except in 2015, when the FBS caught a break by none of its members scheduling NDSU. The most recent, in 2016, was also the most recent FCS win over a ranked FBS team, with the Bison going into Iowa and taking the Hawkeyes down.

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* ''Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)'' [Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State]: One of two football-only leagues in FCS, with a history that is, to say the least, a ContinuitySnarl. While the MVFC claims 1985 as its founding date, its history can be traced through two branches dating back as far as 1907, and involves four other conferences, one of them a women's sports league. ''[[NotMakingThisUp Seriously.]]'' ''Seriously.'' Nonetheless, it's at or near the top of the FCS pecking order, and its top teams are often competitive with the bottom half or so of FBS. North Dakota State won five straight FCS titles from 2011 to 2015, and has beaten an FBS team in each season since 2010—except in 2015, when the FBS caught a break by none of its members scheduling NDSU. The most recent, in 2016, was also the most recent FCS win over a ranked FBS team, with the Bison going into Iowa and taking the Hawkeyes down.
9th Jan '17 11:06:24 PM KYCubbie
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Alignments listed are as of the current 2016 season.

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Alignments listed are as of the current 2016 upcoming 2017 season.



* ''Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)'' [Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest]: One of the "Power Five", meaning they get an automatic bid to one of the major bowls, specifically the Orange Bowl (more on those below). Clemson has been the league's traditional football power, winning 14 of the league's titles. In the 1990s Florida State dominated this league winning the league championship (or a share of it) from 1992-2000 and again in 2002, 2003, and 2005. Virginia Tech, since joining the league in 2004, was the dominant team for several years, but a resurgent Florida State won three straight titles from 2012–14, and then Clemson took back its throne in 2015 and 2016. Miami is one of the more traditional football powerhouses, producing quite a few NFL superstars, though it's periodically held down by cheating scandals. Duke, despite having won 7 league championships, was the ButtMonkey of ACC football for most of the last 25 years, though they had a modest resurgence in TheNewTens, even [[TookALevelInBadass making the conference title game in 2013]] only to get {{curbstomp|Battle}}ed by eventual national champion Florida State. Traditionally known as a southern conference, the inclusion of Boston College and University of Miami (which are over a thousand miles apart) slightly changed its character. Notre Dame is a member in all sports except football, joining in 2013 alongside Pitt and Syracuse; the Fighting Irish agreed to play five games each season against ACC teams[[note]]Notre Dame already has annual rivalries with Pitt and Boston College as well as a dormant but historically significant rivalry with Miami[[/note]]. In 2014, Louisville replaced charter member Maryland, which left for the...

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* ''Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)'' [Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest]: One of the "Power Five", meaning they get an automatic bid to one of the major bowls, specifically the Orange Bowl (more on those below). Clemson has been the league's traditional football power, winning 14 16 of the league's titles.titles as well as the national title in 2016. In the 1990s Florida State dominated this league winning the league championship (or a share of it) from 1992-2000 and again in 2002, 2003, and 2005. Virginia Tech, since joining the league in 2004, was the dominant team for several years, but a resurgent Florida State won three straight titles from 2012–14, and then Clemson took back its throne in 2015 and 2016. Miami is one of the more traditional football powerhouses, producing quite a few NFL superstars, though it's periodically held down by cheating scandals. Duke, despite having won 7 league championships, was the ButtMonkey of ACC football for most of the last 25 years, though they had a modest resurgence in TheNewTens, even [[TookALevelInBadass making the conference title game in 2013]] only to get {{curbstomp|Battle}}ed by eventual national champion Florida State. Traditionally known as a southern conference, the inclusion of Boston College and University of Miami (which are over a thousand miles apart) slightly changed its character. Notre Dame is a member in all sports except football, joining in 2013 alongside Pitt and Syracuse; the Fighting Irish agreed to play five games each season against ACC teams[[note]]Notre Dame already has annual rivalries with Pitt and Boston College as well as a dormant but historically significant rivalry with Miami[[/note]]. In 2014, Louisville replaced charter member Maryland, which left for the...



* ''Conference USA ([=C-USA=])'' [Charlotte[[note]]UNC Charlotte, but that school [[InsistentTerminology calls its sports program "Charlotte"]][[/note]], FIU[[note]]Florida International[[/note]], Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, [[Film/WeAreMarshall Marshall]], Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UTEP[[note]]Texas-El Paso[[/note]], UTSA[[note]]Texas-San Antonio)[[/note]], Western Kentucky]: One of the newer conferences[[note]]Formed in 1995 by a merger of the Metro and Great Midwest Conferences, two non-football leagues; competition began immediately except in football, which started in 1996.[[/note]] — they had been gaining some prestige as of late, throwing off the "SEC-Lite" nickname that came from the initially similar geographical footprint with the more prominent Southeastern Conference. However, they were raided by the then-Big East once that conference started losing members to other leagues in the early 2010s. Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF all left C-USA in 2013 for what would become The American. East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa made the same move in 2014, while Western Kentucky joined C-USA from the Sun Belt at that time. Old Dominion, a former FCS (see below) school, joined C-USA in 2013 and joined the conference's football side in 2014; it became a full FBS member in 2015. Also becoming a full FBS member at that time was Charlotte, which began football in 2013 in the FCS[[note]]The NCAA requires all newly created Division I football programs to play in the FCS for at least two years, even if the school is already in a FBS conference[[/note]].
** UAB[[note]]Alabama-Birmingham[[/note]] dropped football at the end of the 2014 season. Because [=C-USA=] requires all member schools to sponsor football, it was initially believed that UAB would be kicked out of the league at the end of the 2014–15 school year. The decision to drop football turned out to be driven at least as much by politics within the University of Alabama system[[note]]At the time, the system's board of trustees was dominated by alumni of the main campus in Tuscaloosa. Supporters of both UAB and the system's other campus in Huntsville felt that the board was holding those campuses back. On top of that, arguably the most powerful member of the board at the time was local businessman and Alabama (Tuscaloosa) alum Paul Bryant, Jr. If the name sounds vaguely familiar to you... yes, he's the son of Alabama football coaching legend Paul "Bear" Bryant.[[/note]] as by finances, leading to a strong movement to bring the sport back.[[note]]Not just to bring football back... the student body, faculty, ''and'' alumni association all gave votes of no confidence to UAB's president, and there were moves in the state legislature to make UAB independent of the UA system, or to reorganize the system board to give alumni of each campus equal representation. The Website/{{Twitter}} hashtag [=#FreeUAB=] gained some notoriety at this time.[[/note]] UAB relented, announcing that it would [[HesBack reinstate football]] in 2017, in turn leading [=C-USA=] to announce that it would keep UAB. Also, the NCAA announced that UAB will be reinstated immediately as an FBS member and would be bowl-eligible in 2017.

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* ''Conference USA ([=C-USA=])'' [Charlotte[[note]]UNC Charlotte, but that school [[InsistentTerminology calls its sports program "Charlotte"]][[/note]], FIU[[note]]Florida International[[/note]], Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, [[Film/WeAreMarshall Marshall]], Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UAB[[note]]Alabama–Birmingham[[/note]], UTEP[[note]]Texas-El Paso[[/note]], UTSA[[note]]Texas-San Antonio)[[/note]], Western Kentucky]: One of the newer conferences[[note]]Formed in 1995 by a merger of the Metro and Great Midwest Conferences, two non-football leagues; competition began immediately except in football, which started in 1996.[[/note]] — they had been gaining some prestige as of late, throwing off the "SEC-Lite" nickname that came from the initially similar geographical footprint with the more prominent Southeastern Conference. However, they were raided by the then-Big East once that conference started losing members to other leagues in the early 2010s. Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF all left C-USA in 2013 for what would become The American. East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa made the same move in 2014, while Western Kentucky joined C-USA from the Sun Belt at that time. Old Dominion, a former FCS (see below) school, joined C-USA in 2013 and joined the conference's football side in 2014; it became a full FBS member in 2015. Also becoming a full FBS member at that time was Charlotte, which began football in 2013 in the FCS[[note]]The NCAA requires all newly created Division I football programs to play in the FCS for at least two years, even if the school is already in a FBS conference[[/note]].
** UAB[[note]]Alabama-Birmingham[[/note]] dropped UAB football is returning in 2017 after having dropped the sport at the end of the 2014 season. Because [=C-USA=] requires all member schools to sponsor football, it was initially believed that UAB would be kicked out of the league at the end of the 2014–15 school year. The decision to drop football turned out to be driven at least as much by politics within the University of Alabama system[[note]]At the time, the system's board of trustees was dominated by alumni of the main campus in Tuscaloosa. Supporters of both UAB and the system's other campus in Huntsville felt that the board was holding those campuses back. On top of that, arguably the most powerful member of the board at the time was local businessman and Alabama (Tuscaloosa) alum Paul Bryant, Jr. If the name sounds vaguely familiar to you... yes, he's the son of Alabama football coaching legend Paul "Bear" Bryant.[[/note]] as by finances, leading to a strong movement to bring the sport back.[[note]]Not just to bring football back... the student body, faculty, ''and'' alumni association all gave votes of no confidence to UAB's president, and there were moves in the state legislature to make UAB independent of the UA system, or to reorganize the system board to give alumni of each campus equal representation. The Website/{{Twitter}} hashtag [=#FreeUAB=] gained some notoriety at this time.[[/note]] UAB relented, announcing that it would [[HesBack reinstate football]] in 2017, in turn leading [=C-USA=] to announce that it would keep UAB. Also, the NCAA announced that UAB will would be reinstated immediately as an FBS member and would be bowl-eligible in 2017.



* ''Southeastern Conference (SEC)'' [Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU[[note]]Louisiana State University, not that they answer to it (see Mississippi State below)[[/note]], [[InsistentTerminology Ole Miss]] [[note]]The University of Mississippi, but ''do not'' call them "Mississippi"; doing so immediately outs you as a yankee[[/note]], Mississippi State[[note]]or "State", since LSU only ever uses the acronym and State is oddly enough the only other 'X State University' in the conference[[/note]], Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt]: Yet another "Power Five" league (the last of the five), this one with a decades-long tie to the Sugar Bowl. The premier conference of the American DeepSouth, a lot of these teams are historical powerhouses — Florida has been one of the most dominant teams of late, and Alabama won three national championships in four seasons from 2009 to 2012. LSU and Auburn have also been quite dominant in recent years. Alabama-Auburn is considered one of the greatest rivalries in the sport, as Georgia-Florida, whose Halloween weekend game is nicknamed "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party". The SEC was the first conference to split into divisions ("East" and "West" in its case) and hold a conference championship game between the top teams of each division, becoming the TropeCodifier for all subsequent conferences to do so. This was implemented in 1992, after the additions of Arkansas and South Carolina made it impractical for all teams in the conference to play each other every year (doing so would have allowed only one non-conference game per season). Observers often consider this the strongest league, and it had held a monopoly on the national championship in recent years until Florida State came back from an 18-point deficit to beat Auburn in the 2013 title game. In the BCS era, SEC schools were 9-2 in the championship game; the other loss was due to a matchup of two SEC members. From the 2006 to 2012 seasons, every BCS champion was an SEC team. Its fans are not reluctant to point this out. At great length.[[note]]Except for [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg Kentucky fans]], who care much more about basketball.[[/note]] The conference gets a lot of games televised, especially on CBS, with whom it has an extraordinarily lucrative contract. Texas A&M and Missouri joined in 2012, bringing the conference to a massive 14 teams... which has the unfortunate side effect that SEC players can go their entire college career without ever facing some cross-division teams.[[note]]Each team plays all six other teams in its division and one designated cross-division rival every year, plus one other cross-division game per year on a rotating basis. Some fans have speculated that the SEC might expand the conference schedule to 9 games, but nothing has come of this so far.[[/note]]
* ''Sun Belt'' [Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Idaho (football only), Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State (football only), South Alabama, Texas State, Troy]: The conference has been around since 1976, but only started sponsoring football since 2001, making it the runt among the current FBS conferences. Most of these teams don't get winning records - and very few of their players go on to the pros. For several years, the main exception was Troy, which has gotten some decent players to the next level ([=DeMarcus=] Ware and Osi Umenyiora both played there). [[note]]As did Windham Rotunda, who made it to the next level in a different field—[[ProfessionalWrestling pro wrestling]], where he's now known as Wrestling/BrayWyatt.[[/note]] More recently, Arkansas State has won the conference title in 5 of the last 6 seasons under ''[[HighTurnoverRate four different head coaches]]'',[[note]]During this streak, each of the Red Wolves' first three title-winning coaches left after a single season to move to a higher-profile FBS job.[[/note]] and former FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have been dominant in their first three years, with the former sharing the conference title with Arkansas State in 2016 and the latter winning the conference title outright in its first season in both the Sun Belt and the FBS[[note]]However, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State were not bowl eligible in 2014 due to the NCAA's FCS-to-FBS transition rules[[/note]]. If you've ever heard of any of these schools, it's because these are the teams typically scheduled to get slaughtered on the road to some of the traditional powerhouses (usually the geographically overlapping SEC). Or it's because one of them (Appalachian State) went into [[UsefulNotes/UniversityOfMichigan Michigan]] in 2007 and [[DavidVersusGoliath beat the then-#5 Wolverines]], back when it was still an FCS program. When a team from a power conference is scheduling their homecoming game, this is where they look. Western Kentucky left in 2014 to join C-USA; at the same time, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern joined from the Southern Conference. Also in 2014, Idaho and New Mexico State, which had been [[TheScrappy left stranded]] to become independents when the football side of the WAC disintegrated in 2012, [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap became football-only members]] (in the early 2000s, Idaho had been a football-only member and New Mexico State an all-sports member).

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* ''Southeastern Conference (SEC)'' [Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU[[note]]Louisiana State University, not that they answer to it (see Mississippi State below)[[/note]], [[InsistentTerminology Ole Miss]] [[note]]The University of Mississippi, but ''do not'' call them "Mississippi"; doing so immediately outs you as a yankee[[/note]], Yankee[[/note]], Mississippi State[[note]]or "State", since LSU only ever uses the acronym and State is oddly enough the only other 'X State University' in the conference[[/note]], Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt]: Yet another "Power Five" league (the last of the five), this one with a decades-long tie to the Sugar Bowl. The premier conference of the American DeepSouth, a lot of these teams are historical powerhouses — Florida has been one of the most dominant teams of late, and Alabama won three national championships in four seasons from 2009 to 2012.2012 plus another one in 2015, not to mention [[DownToTheLastPlay losing in the final seconds]] to Clemson in the 2016 title game. LSU and Auburn have also been quite dominant in recent years. Alabama-Auburn is considered one of the greatest rivalries in the sport, as Georgia-Florida, whose Halloween weekend game is nicknamed "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party". The SEC was the first conference to split into divisions ("East" and "West" in its case) and hold a conference championship game between the top teams of each division, becoming the TropeCodifier for all subsequent conferences to do so. This was implemented in 1992, after the additions of Arkansas and South Carolina made it impractical for all teams in the conference to play each other every year (doing so would have allowed only one non-conference game per season). Observers often consider this the strongest league, and it had held a monopoly on the national championship in recent years until Florida State came back from an 18-point deficit to beat Auburn in the 2013 title game. In the BCS era, SEC schools were 9-2 in the championship game; the other loss was due to a matchup of two SEC members. From the 2006 to 2012 seasons, every BCS champion was an SEC team. Its fans are not reluctant to point this out. At great length.[[note]]Except for [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg Kentucky fans]], who care much more about basketball.[[/note]] The conference gets a lot of games televised, especially on CBS, with whom it has an extraordinarily lucrative contract. Texas A&M and Missouri joined in 2012, bringing the conference to a massive 14 teams... which has the unfortunate side effect that SEC players can go their entire college career without ever facing some cross-division teams.[[note]]Each team plays all six other teams in its division and one designated cross-division rival every year, plus one other cross-division game per year on a rotating basis. Some fans have speculated that the SEC might expand the conference schedule to 9 games, but nothing has come of this so far.[[/note]]
* ''Sun Belt'' [Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Idaho (football only), Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State (football only), South Alabama, Texas State, Troy]: The conference has been around since 1976, but only started sponsoring football since 2001, making it the runt among the current FBS conferences. Most of these teams don't get winning records - and very few of their players go on to the pros. For several years, the main exception was Troy, which has gotten some decent players to the next level ([=DeMarcus=] Ware and Osi Umenyiora both played there). [[note]]As did Windham Rotunda, who made it to the next level in a different field—[[ProfessionalWrestling pro wrestling]], where he's now known as Wrestling/BrayWyatt.[[/note]] More recently, Arkansas State has won the conference title in 5 of the last 6 seasons under ''[[HighTurnoverRate four different head coaches]]'',[[note]]During this streak, each of the Red Wolves' first three title-winning coaches left after a single season to move to a higher-profile FBS job.[[/note]] and former FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have been dominant in their first three years, with the former sharing the conference title with Arkansas State in 2016 and the latter winning the conference title outright in its first season in both the Sun Belt and the FBS[[note]]However, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State were not bowl eligible in 2014 due to the NCAA's FCS-to-FBS transition rules[[/note]]. If you've ever heard of any of these schools, it's because these are the teams typically scheduled to get slaughtered on the road to some of the traditional powerhouses (usually the geographically overlapping SEC). Or it's because one of them (Appalachian State) went into [[UsefulNotes/UniversityOfMichigan Michigan]] in 2007 and [[DavidVersusGoliath beat the then-#5 Wolverines]], back when it was still an FCS program. When a team from a power conference is scheduling their homecoming game, this is where they look. Western Kentucky left in 2014 to join C-USA; at the same time, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern joined from the Southern Conference. Also in 2014, Idaho and New Mexico State, which had been [[TheScrappy left stranded]] to become independents when the football side of the WAC disintegrated in 2012, [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap became football-only members]] (in the early 2000s, Idaho had been a football-only member and New Mexico State an all-sports member).



** Coastal Carolina left the FCS Big South after 2015–16 to go up to FBS. They will spend 2016 as an FCS independent and non-football Sun Belt member, and join Sun Belt football in 2017. At the time Coastal was announced as a future member, their arrival would have allowed the conference to stage a conference championship game, but only if it didn't lose any football members (read: boot out Idaho and New Mexico State). However, in 2016, a Big 12 proposal to allow all FBS conferences to stage football championship games, even if they have fewer than 12 members, was approved by the commissioners of the FBS leagues. Subsequently, the conference unanimously voted to hold a conference title game starting in 2018 (the same year Coastal becomes bowl-eligible); however, how the teams are selected and where the game will be played will be determined at a later date.

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** Coastal Carolina left the FCS Big South after 2015–16 to go up to FBS. They will spend After spending 2016 as an FCS independent and non-football Sun Belt member, and the Chanticleers will join Sun Belt football in 2017. At the time Coastal was announced as a future member, their arrival would have allowed the conference to stage a conference championship game, but only if it didn't lose any football members (read: boot out Idaho and New Mexico State). However, in 2016, a Big 12 proposal to allow all FBS conferences to stage football championship games, even if they have fewer than 12 members, was approved by the commissioners of the FBS leagues. Subsequently, the conference unanimously voted to hold a conference title game starting in 2018 (the same year Coastal becomes bowl-eligible); however, how the teams are selected and where the game will be played will be determined at a later date.



* ''Big South Conference'' [Charleston Southern, Gardner–Webb, Kennesaw State (football only), Liberty, Monmouth (football only), Presbyterian]: Began in 1983 as a non-football league, and did not sponsor football until 2002. Has usually had one or two good teams with a bunch of bottom-feeders, with some combination of Stony Brook, Liberty, and Coastal Carolina typically among the good teams. Of these three, only Liberty has yet to announce an exit; Stony Brook moved its football team to the CAA (below), and Coastal Carolina left after the 2015–16 season to go up to FBS. The Chanticleers will join the Sun Belt Conference for non-football sports and play the first year of their transition as an FCS independent in 2016, then join Sun Belt football in 2017.

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* ''Big South Conference'' [Charleston Southern, Gardner–Webb, Kennesaw State (football only), Liberty, Monmouth (football only), Presbyterian]: Began in 1983 as a non-football league, and did not sponsor football until 2002. Has usually had one or two good teams with a bunch of bottom-feeders, with some combination of Stony Brook, Liberty, and Coastal Carolina typically among the good teams. Of these three, only Liberty has yet to announce an exit; Stony Brook moved its football team to the CAA (below), and Coastal Carolina left after the 2015–16 season to go up to FBS. The Chanticleers will join joined the Sun Belt Conference for non-football sports and play played the first year of their transition as an FCS independent in 2016, then join 2016 before joining Sun Belt football in 2017.for the 2017 season and beyond.



* ''Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)'' [Albany, Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary]: Created in 1979 as a basketball-only league and added other sports in 1985, but did not start sponsoring football until 2007. However, the football side of the conference can trace its history to the late 1930s through three other leagues. Historically one of the better FCS leagues. In 2010, James Madison defeated then-#13 Virginia Tech in the second win by an FCS team over a ranked FBS team. The same school ended North Dakota State's five-year reign as FCS champions in the 2016 semifinals.

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* ''Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)'' [Albany, Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary]: Created in 1979 as a basketball-only league and added other sports in 1985, but did not start sponsoring football until 2007. However, the football side of the conference can trace its history to the late 1930s through three other leagues. Historically one of the better FCS leagues. In 2010, James Madison defeated then-#13 Virginia Tech in the second win by an FCS team over a ranked FBS team. The same school ended North Dakota State's five-year reign as FCS champions in the 2016 semifinals.semifinals along the way to their first FCS crown.



* ''Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)'' [Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State]: One of two football-only leagues in FCS, with a history that is, to say the least, a ContinuitySnarl. While the MVFC claims 1985 as its founding date, its history can be traced through two branches dating back as far as 1907, and involves four other conferences, one of them a women's sports league. ''Seriously.'' Nonetheless, it's at or near the top of the FCS pecking order, and its top teams are often competitive with the bottom half or so of FBS. North Dakota State won five straight FCS titles from 2011 to 2015, and has beaten an FBS team in each season since 2010—except in 2015, when the FBS caught a break by none of its members scheduling NDSU. The most recent, in 2016, was also the most recent FCS win over a ranked FBS team, with the Bison going into Iowa and taking the Hawkeyes down.

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* ''Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)'' [Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State]: One of two football-only leagues in FCS, with a history that is, to say the least, a ContinuitySnarl. While the MVFC claims 1985 as its founding date, its history can be traced through two branches dating back as far as 1907, and involves four other conferences, one of them a women's sports league. ''Seriously.'' ''[[NotMakingThisUp Seriously.]]'' Nonetheless, it's at or near the top of the FCS pecking order, and its top teams are often competitive with the bottom half or so of FBS. North Dakota State won five straight FCS titles from 2011 to 2015, and has beaten an FBS team in each season since 2010—except in 2015, when the FBS caught a break by none of its members scheduling NDSU. The most recent, in 2016, was also the most recent FCS win over a ranked FBS team, with the Bison going into Iowa and taking the Hawkeyes down.



* As noted above, Coastal Carolina is spending the 2016 season, the first of its transition to FBS, as an FCS independent. The second transitional season in 2017 will be the Chanticleers' first in Sun Belt Conference football. The next school to play as an FCS independent will be North Alabama in 2018, the first year of its transition from Division II, before joining Big South football in 2019.

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* As noted above, Coastal Carolina is spending the 2016 season, the first of its transition to FBS, as an FCS independent. The second transitional season in 2017 No schools will be the Chanticleers' first playing as FCS independents in Sun Belt Conference football.2017. The next school to play as an FCS independent will be North Alabama in 2018, the first year of its transition from Division II, before joining Big South football in 2019.
6th Jan '17 3:09:33 PM kquinn0830
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* ''Patriot League'' [Bucknell, Colgate, Fordham (football only), Georgetown (football only), Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh]: Founded in 1986 as the football-only Colonial League; became the Patriot League in 1990 when it added other sports. Basically an "Ivy League Lite"—its members are relatively small[[note]]of its members, only Boston University, which no longer has a football team, has over 10,000 undergraduates[[/note]], academically strong schools, though not quite at the Ivy level. The league was actually founded to give the Ivies a chance to fill out their football schedules with schools that shared their academic focus. The conference did not allow athletic scholarships at all until allowing them for basketball in 1996. Scholarships were extended to all non-football sports in 2001, but football scholarships were not allowed until the 2013 season, and Georgetown still doesn't award football scholarships. Unlike the Ivies, the Patriot League participates in the FCS postseason.

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* ''Patriot League'' [Bucknell, Colgate, Fordham (football only), Georgetown (football only), Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh]: Founded in 1986 as the football-only Colonial League; became the Patriot League in 1990 when it added other sports. Basically an "Ivy League Lite"—its members are relatively small[[note]]of its members, only Boston University, which no longer has a football team, has over 10,000 undergraduates[[/note]], academically strong schools, though not quite at the Ivy level. The league was actually founded to give the Ivies a chance to fill out their football schedules with schools that shared their academic focus. The conference did not allow athletic scholarships at all until allowing them for basketball in 1996. Scholarships were extended to all non-football sports in 2001, but football scholarships were not allowed until the 2013 season, season[[note]]Fordham actually started giving them out in 2010 which created the scenario where they were still a member of the league, but they were ineligible for the league title and their opponents' games against them didn't count towards their league records. Once the other schools started giving them out, they were eligible once again and won the title in 2014[[/note]], and Georgetown still doesn't award football scholarships. Unlike the Ivies, the Patriot League participates in the FCS postseason.
31st Dec '16 12:34:10 PM KYCubbie
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** The Big Ten is also known for having very strong academic prowess across the board. They're not UsefulNotes/IvyLeague (by definition, since the Ivy League is a separate athletic conference), but all its members (including Maryland and Rutgers) except Nebraska are members of the Association of American Universities (and Nebraska does have that academic caliber — it used to be an AAU member before the organization de-emphasized agriculture and didn't count its off-campus medical center). Additionally, they are all members of the Big Ten Academic Alliance[[note]](known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation until 2016)[[/note]], designed to facilitate sharing of academic resources among members. All 14 schools are joined in this by the University of Chicago — this is a holdover from when [=UChicago=] was a full member of the conference; it withdrew from the sports element in 1946, when its sports teams were rather crappy (they still are, and now compete in NCAA Division III, in which athletic scholarships are not allowed), and were replaced in the lineup by Michigan State (which was expanding and improving rapidly at the time, and funnily enough taking a fair number of Chicago grads to teach) in 1950.

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** The Big Ten is also known for having very strong academic prowess across the board. They're not UsefulNotes/IvyLeague (by definition, since the Ivy League is a separate athletic conference), but all its members (including Maryland and Rutgers) except Nebraska are members of the Association of American Universities (and Nebraska does have that academic caliber — it used to be an AAU member before the organization de-emphasized agriculture and didn't count its off-campus medical center). Additionally, they are all members of the Big Ten Academic Alliance[[note]](known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation until 2016)[[/note]], designed to facilitate sharing of academic resources among members. All Until mid-2016, these 14 schools are were joined in this by the University of Chicago — this is was a holdover from when [=UChicago=] was a full member of the conference; it withdrew from the sports element in 1946, when its sports teams were rather crappy (they still are, and now compete in NCAA Division III, in which athletic scholarships are not allowed), and were replaced in the lineup by Michigan State (which was expanding and improving rapidly at the time, and funnily enough taking a fair number of Chicago grads to teach) in 1950.1950. (Despite no longer being a BTAA member, Chicago still heavily collaborates academically with the Big Ten.)
16th Dec '16 9:31:50 PM KYCubbie
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* ''Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)'' [Albany, Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary]: Created in 1979 as a basketball-only league and added other sports in 1985, but did not start sponsoring football until 2007. However, the football side of the conference can trace its history to the late 1930s through three other leagues. Historically one of the better FCS leagues. In 2010, James Madison defeated then-#13 Virginia Tech in the second win by an FCS team over a ranked FBS team. The same school ended North Dakota State's reign as FCS champions in the 2016 semifinals.

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* ''Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)'' [Albany, Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary]: Created in 1979 as a basketball-only league and added other sports in 1985, but did not start sponsoring football until 2007. However, the football side of the conference can trace its history to the late 1930s through three other leagues. Historically one of the better FCS leagues. In 2010, James Madison defeated then-#13 Virginia Tech in the second win by an FCS team over a ranked FBS team. The same school ended North Dakota State's five-year reign as FCS champions in the 2016 semifinals.
16th Dec '16 9:31:04 PM KYCubbie
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* ''Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)'' [Albany, Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary]: Created in 1979 as a basketball-only league and added other sports in 1985, but did not start sponsoring football until 2007. However, the football side of the conference can trace its history to the late 1930s through three other leagues. Historically one of the better FCS leagues. In 2010, James Madison defeated then-#13 Virginia Tech in the second win by an FCS team over a ranked FBS team.

to:

* ''Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)'' [Albany, Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova, William & Mary]: Created in 1979 as a basketball-only league and added other sports in 1985, but did not start sponsoring football until 2007. However, the football side of the conference can trace its history to the late 1930s through three other leagues. Historically one of the better FCS leagues. In 2010, James Madison defeated then-#13 Virginia Tech in the second win by an FCS team over a ranked FBS team. The same school ended North Dakota State's reign as FCS champions in the 2016 semifinals.



* ''Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)'' [Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State]: One of two football-only leagues in FCS, with a history that is, to say the least, a ContinuitySnarl. While the MVFC claims 1985 as its founding date, its history can be traced through two branches dating back as far as 1907, and involves four other conferences, one of them a women's sports league. ''Seriously.'' Nonetheless, it's at or near the top of the FCS pecking order, and its top teams are often competitive with the bottom half or so of FBS. North Dakota State is currently the five-time defending FCS champion, and has beaten an FBS team in each season since 2010—except in 2015, when the FBS caught a break by none of its members scheduling NDSU. The most recent, in 2016, was also the most recent FCS win over a ranked FBS team, with the Bison going into Iowa and taking the Hawkeyes down.

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* ''Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)'' [Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Youngstown State]: One of two football-only leagues in FCS, with a history that is, to say the least, a ContinuitySnarl. While the MVFC claims 1985 as its founding date, its history can be traced through two branches dating back as far as 1907, and involves four other conferences, one of them a women's sports league. ''Seriously.'' Nonetheless, it's at or near the top of the FCS pecking order, and its top teams are often competitive with the bottom half or so of FBS. North Dakota State is currently the five-time defending won five straight FCS champion, titles from 2011 to 2015, and has beaten an FBS team in each season since 2010—except in 2015, when the FBS caught a break by none of its members scheduling NDSU. The most recent, in 2016, was also the most recent FCS win over a ranked FBS team, with the Bison going into Iowa and taking the Hawkeyes down.
12th Dec '16 7:51:09 PM KYCubbie
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* As noted above, Coastal Carolina is spending the 2016 season, the first of its transition to FBS, as an FCS independent. The second transitional season in 2017 will be the Chanticleers' first in Sun Belt Conference football.

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* As noted above, Coastal Carolina is spending the 2016 season, the first of its transition to FBS, as an FCS independent. The second transitional season in 2017 will be the Chanticleers' first in Sun Belt Conference football. The next school to play as an FCS independent will be North Alabama in 2018, the first year of its transition from Division II, before joining Big South football in 2019.
10th Dec '16 11:57:18 AM KYCubbie
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** BYU[[note]]Brigham Young[[/note]] — The flagship school of the [[UsefulNotes/{{Mormonism}} LDS Church]], whose members are often called "Mormons", BYU only became a football independent in 2011. It had previously been a member of several Western-based conferences, most recently the WAC and then the MW. BYU left the MW largely over TV issues. The school has its own cable network, but the MW did not allow it to air any games. The problem for BYU was that it was getting only $2 million a year from the conference's own (now-defunct) cable network. With its built-in LDS following, BYU felt that it could make far more money as an independent. The school then placed most of its non-football sports in the West Coast Conference, a league that doesn't play football.[[note]]Perhaps more significantly from BYU's point of view, the WCC is made up of private, faith-based schools, and most significantly does not schedule any sporting events on Sunday. Not playing on Sunday is '''''VERY''''' SeriousBusiness for BYU—the NCAA now has standing contingency plans for its championship events to accommodate BYU's refusal to play on Sunday. (At least once in the past, the NCAA has had to make such arrangements on the fly. To be fair, the NCAA has such contingency plans for any school with religious convictions that prohibit play on a certain day of the week, with BYU simply being by far the highest-profile example.)[[/note]]

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** BYU[[note]]Brigham Young[[/note]] — The flagship school of the [[UsefulNotes/{{Mormonism}} LDS Church]], whose members are often called "Mormons", BYU only became a football independent in 2011. It had previously been a member of several Western-based conferences, most recently the WAC and then the MW. BYU left the MW largely over TV issues. The school has its own cable network, but the MW did not allow it to air any games. The problem for BYU was that it was getting only $2 million a year from the conference's own (now-defunct) cable network. With its built-in LDS following, BYU felt that it could make far more money as an independent. The school then placed most of its non-football sports in the West Coast Conference, a league that doesn't play football.[[note]]Perhaps more significantly from BYU's point of view, the WCC is made up of private, faith-based schools, and most significantly does not schedule any sporting events on Sunday. Not playing on Sunday is '''''VERY''''' SeriousBusiness for BYU—the BYU—the NCAA now has standing contingency plans for its championship events to accommodate BYU's refusal to play on Sunday. (At least once in the past, the NCAA has had to make such arrangements on the fly. To be fair, the NCAA has such contingency plans for any school with religious convictions that prohibit play on a certain day of the week, with BYU simply being by far the highest-profile example.)[[/note]]



** In an attempt to attract new football members, the Big South announced a football alliance with the non-football ASUN Conference[[note]]legally the Atlantic Sun Conference[[/note]] in 2016.[[labelnote:Background]]With the defections of recent years, the Big South was in constant danger of losing its status as an FCS conference; 6 members are needed for a league to maintain its automatic playoff berth.[[/labelnote]] Under its terms, any current member of either league that adds football, or upgrades from non-scholarship to scholarship football, will have a guaranteed football home in the Big South.[[note]]The offer also applies to any future members, as long as they're located within the current geographic footprint of the two leagues.[[/note]] At the time of announcement, ASUN member Kennesaw State was already a Big South football member. This partnership bore its first fruit a few weeks later when Campbell announced that it would upgrade to scholarship football and add that sport to its full Big South membership in 2018. As of this writing, the only other members of either league with football are Jacksonville and Stetson, ASUN members that play non-scholarship football in the Pioneer League.

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** In an attempt to attract new football members, the Big South announced a football alliance with the non-football ASUN Conference[[note]]legally the Atlantic Sun Conference[[/note]] in 2016.[[labelnote:Background]]With the defections of recent years, the Big South was in constant danger of losing its status as an FCS conference; 6 members are needed for a league to maintain its automatic playoff berth.[[/labelnote]] Under its terms, any current member of either league that adds football, or upgrades from non-scholarship to scholarship football, will have a guaranteed football home in the Big South.[[note]]The offer also applies to any future members, as long as they're located within the current geographic footprint of the two leagues.[[/note]] At the time of announcement, ASUN member Kennesaw State was already a Big South football member. This partnership bore its first fruit a few weeks later when Campbell announced that it would upgrade to scholarship football and add that sport to its full Big South membership in 2018. As of this writing, At the time, the only other members of either league with football are were Jacksonville and Stetson, ASUN members that play non-scholarship football in the Pioneer League. League.
** The Big South's football future was further secured in December 2016, when the ASUN announced that North Alabama, a D-II football power, would upgrade to D-I and join the conference in 2018. Per the ASUN–Big South football partnership, the Lions will join Big South football in 2019.
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