Conference Realignment: Which FCS Programs Could Be Next to Upgrade to the FBS?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Appalachian State Is Headed to the Sun Belt Conference Along With Georgia Southern; Which FCS Schools Could Be Next to Upgrade?

Schools are upgrading their football programs at a rapid pace. By 2015, 129 full members will be participating in FBS-level competition, up from 120 in 2012. That’s a 7.5-percent increase in just three years. And yet, there’s still plenty of talk about adding more schools to college football’s top tier too. While the ACC’s not jumping to add any of these schools, it’s not out of the question that this shuffling could eventually affect the sport’s top conferences – as top teams from football’s “mid-majors” look to upgrade their competition and move into the “Power Five.”

First, a recap of the recent moves from FCS to FBS:

2009: Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

2013: South Alabama (Sun Belt), Texas State (Sun Belt), UT-San Antonio (Conference USA), UMass (MAC)

2014: Georgia State (Sun Belt)

2015: Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Charlotte (Conference USA), Georgia Southern (Sun Belt), Old Dominion (Conference USA) (*Appalachian State and Georgia Southern moves just reported today, via SB Nation)

And there’s still more schools that could potentially make the call. But who are they? Well, first a look at the basic eligibility requirements to move up to FBS from FCS (from the NCAA):

  1. Sponsor a minimum of 16 varsity intercollegiate sports, including football, based on the minimum sports sponsorship and scheduling requirements set forth in Bylaw 20. Sponsorship shall include a minimum six sports involving all male teams or mixed teams (males and females), and a minimum of eight varsity intercollegiate teams involving all female teams. Institutions may use up to two emerging sports to satisfy the required eight varsity intercollegiate sports involving all female teams. [Bylaw]

  2. Schedule and play at least 60 percent of its football contests against members of Football Bowl Subdivision. Institutions shall schedule and play at least five regular season home contests against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. [Bylaw]

  3. Average at least 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all home football contests over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw]

  4. Provide an average of at least 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of overall football grants-in-aid per year over a rolling two-year period. [Bylaw]

  5. Annually offer a minimum of 200 athletics grants-in-aid or expend at least four million dollars on grants-in-aid to student-athletes in athletics programs. [Bylaw]

Obviously, the second bullet is taken care of with the commitment to upgrade the program and the final two can easily be attained by just reaching those scholarship numbers. As far as item no. 1 and no. 3 though, the following schools would qualify for an FCS-to-FBS upgrade:

Continue reading

ACC Football 2012 Power Rankings: Week Two

If Clemson’s Andre Ellington Continues Running the Way He Did on Saturday, the Tigers Could Win the ACC Once Again

After months of arbitrary offseason shuffling, we finally have some actual games to base these rankings off of. All 14 ACC squads were in action last week, and while many performed admirably, several manged to disappoint as well. Check out the list below, and weigh in down in the comments if you disagree.

1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): The Seminoles did a commendable job pummeling Murray State on Saturday. And that defense — just as impressive as they’ve ever been. Unfortunately, however, the big win came with a steep price. Star defensive end Brandon Jenkins injured his foot, and is now out for the remainder of the season. We won’t know how much the loss affects FSU this week, but once the real slate starts, it’ll be all too apparent.

2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): Everything about Saturday’s win over Auburn was exceptional. Andre Ellington‘s ground game. Tajh Boyd‘s ability to make plays work through the air and on the ground. The offensive line’s maturity right in front of our eyes. And of course, the defense quickly showing they’d learned a thing or two from new coordinator Brent Venables.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (LW: 6): Everyone worried about how Giovani Bernard would fit into Larry Fedora’s offense. After the 62-0 drubbing they handed Elon, I think he’ll fit in just fine. Three TDs on just 12 touches will do that sort of thing. Obviously there’s more difficult opponents out there, but the big win appears to be an appetizer for what’s in store for this offense.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): Another slow start for the Hokies, though this year, they manage to win the opener. If Virginia Tech gave the game ball to anyone on Monday night, it should’ve been handed right over to their opponent’s QB. Aside from their late drive for the game-tying field goal, the offense appeared listless and the O-line issues are real.

Continue reading

ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 1 (Part Two)

Can Chase Rettig Repeat Last Year’s Performance and Bring BC Their Second Win Over Miami In As Many Games?

This is Part Two of this week’s Previews & Predictions feature. Also check out Part One.

Miami Hurricanes at Boston College Eagles: One of two league games on the schedule this week is actually a repeat of each of these team’s final games of 2011. Both were in better shape then, and come into 2012 trying to answer some major questions. Miami replaces nearly their entire starting lineup (on both sides) from last year, while BC tries to get past a rash of preseason injuries. I’m giving the edge to the Eagles, however, due to their experience and (surprisingly) QB Chase Rettig, who may be reborn with a new O-coordinator this season. Prepare for a rough season, Miami. Prediction: Boston College 20, Miami 16

Murray State Racers at Florida State Seminoles: I honestly feel bad for the Racers here, because they were actually a pretty good team last year. They scored 37 points per game, and threw for 308 yards per game, and had an all-around fun time. Unfortunately, that’s all going to end against Florida State this Saturday. The ‘Noles appear to be on a mission, and with the opining masses starting to include them in the National Championship conversation, it’s getting harder to see how anyone could get in this team’s way. Expect the starters out by halftime. Prediction: Florida St. 51, Murray St. 10

Continue reading

QB Comparison: Alabama Transfer Phillip Sims vs. Virginia Incumbent Michael Rocco

Who Should Be Virginia's Starting Quarterback? Alabama Transfer Phillip Sims, or Current Starter Michael Rocco?

We heard the news on Sunday that former Alabama QB Phillip Sims was headed to Virginia. Then, after some doubt, it was reported again today, this time by ESPN’s Joe Schad. So now that it appears to be official, what does this all mean?

Well, that really depends on whether or not Sims receives the rumored hardship waiver, which he’s already applied for. According to Sims,

“The reason for me leaving is nothing more than a personal matter. I just need to be closer to home to support my family at this time, and that needs to be my priority right now.”

So no issues with the Tide — behavioral, eligibility-related, or otherwise — which gives him a pretty nice leg up to play this year. But will the rising-sophomore start under center this season if given the okay from the NCAA? Let’s take a look at how he and incumbent quarterback, rising-junior Michael Rocco, stacked up in 2011:

Michael Rocco (2,671 passing yards/15 total TD/12 INT/60.7% completion)

Phillip Sims (163 passing yards/0 total TD/2 INT/64.3% completion)

… Definitely not enough for us to take from there. While Rocco started 13 games and led his team to eight wins and a bowl berth, Sims only played garbage-time minutes in five contests and threw just six passes against SEC competition. Continue reading

ACC 2012 Schedule Outlook: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest Head Coach Jim Grobe, Showing Off the Ws He'd Like His Team to Record in 2012

With all of the realignment and rescheduling nonsense going on around the country, we wanted to give a breakdown of each of the ACC teams‘s schedules — how the squads stack up, and some thoughts on overall difficulty. All information is up-to-date as of publishing, based on the latest from

Today’s breakdown: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Once again, Wake Forest’s schedule does them no favors, both in-conference and in non-league play as well. Though things start off easy enough, with a visit from Liberty and then Army a few weeks later, sledding gets rough to end the season.The Demon Deacons are set up to wrap up their league schedule by November 10, giving them two non-league matchups to close out the year. When the Deacs visit Notre Dame, the Irish may very well be ranked in the top 15 — or knowing them, could just as easily be 5-5.

Side note: It’s interesting to see ND face so many ACC teams these past few years, as the conference has appeared more than happy to accommodate the Irish’s scheduling needs. A hint at the future, perhaps? We’ll dive in further next week.

…Finally, Wake Forest closes out their 2012 schedule with a home date against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The hope is that both teams could have bowl bids at stake, but anything can happen. Continue reading