2019 FCS vs. FBS: Southland Conference
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By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - The Southland Conference has a chance to claim multiple wins over FBS programs in 2019.
With a handful of matchups against teams generally viewed in the bottom 20 of the FBS, the Southland could flex its muscles, just as Nicholls did in beating a Power-Five school (Kansas) last year.
The Southland's 15 FBS opponents went a combined 84-104 last season, with six of the teams earning three or fewer games.
As FCS programs seek to make their mark again this year, here's a look at the games involving Southland teams:
The Matchups (15) - Abilene Christian: North Texas (Aug. 31) and Mississippi State (Nov. 23); Central Arkansas: Western Kentucky (Aug. 29) and Hawaii (Sept. 21); Houston Baptist: UTEP (Aug. 31); Incarnate Word: UTSA (Aug. 31) and New Mexico State (Nov. 16); Lamar: Texas A&M (Sept. 14); McNeese: Oklahoma State (Sept. 7); Nicholls: Kansas State (Aug. 31) and Texas State (Sept. 28); Northwestern State: LSU (Sept. 14); Sam Houston State: New Mexico (Aug. 31); Southeastern Louisiana: Ole Miss (Sept. 14); Stephen F. Austin: Baylor (Aug. 31)
Glamour Games - McNeese at Oklahoma State (Sept. 7) and Northwestern State at LSU (Sept. 14): It's Cowboys versus Cowboys one week after new McNeese coach Sterlin Gilbert makes his debut against Southern. McNeese moved to the FCS level in 1982 and has since gone 8-25-1 against the FBS. LSU coach Ed Orgeron has particular interest in facing Northwestern State. He was a defensive lineman for the Demons from 1980-83.
Upset Alert - Sam Houston State at New Mexico (Aug. 31) and Nicholls at Texas State (Sept. 28): Sam Houston State beat New Mexico 48-45 in overtime to kick off a perfect regular season in 2011, ultimately losing in the FCS championship game. New Mexico is vulnerable again after losing nine of its top 11 tacklers last season. Nicholls, a defending co-Southland champ, beat Kansas last season and goes after Kansas State (now coached by former North Dakota State mentor Chris Klieman) to open the 2019 season, but the more winnable opportunity is Texas State, which went 3-9 a year ago.
Notable - Incarnate Word, coming off a share of the Southland title and its first FCS playoff appearance, should have a strong contingent of fans at the Alamodome for a first-ever crosstown matchup with UTSA. A late-season trip to New Mexico State also offers the chance of a UIW win. … New Stephen F. Austin coach Colby Carthel makes his Lumberjacks debut against Baylor. Just scoring would be a good start because the 'Jacks have been shut out in all four previous games against the Bears. … Ten years after leading Hawaii late in a 25-20 loss, Central Arkansas makes a return trip to Aloha Stadium. Prior to that, the Bears will face a Western Kentucky team that lost to FCS member Maine last season. … Only in its sixth full season, Houston Baptist already is playing its fifth FBS opponent, UTEP, which lost to FCS member Northern Arizona last season. … Lamar fell 73-3 to Texas A&M in the only previous meeting in 2014. … Abilene Christian and North Texas meet for the first time since 1994 with the visiting Wildcats trailing 15-8-1 in the all-time series. They've never faced Mississippi State. … Southeastern Louisiana will play an SEC opponent for a second straight year. The Lions faced Ole Miss once previously, falling 52-6 in 2009.
Updated May 22, 2019