No Rima Reason – FCS vs FBS Weekend in Iowa


This Saturday there are two division one football games in the state of Iowa that pit FCS against FBS football teams.

As a refresher let me explain the similarities and the differences between FCS and FBS football.



Both play division 1 football. Let me write that again. BOTH play division one football! Both FBS and FCS football have approximately 125 teams in their division.

FBS football is short for, Football Bowl Subdivision, and was tagged that because the teams in FBS vie for “bowl” games at the end of their regular season. And they don’t have a full blown playoff. Well, that changes a bit this year as four teams will be put into a playoff bracket and they will crown the winner of this 4 team playoff system as the D1 FBS National Champions. FBS teams can give out 85 full ride scholarships. All FBS players must get a full ride scholarship, no partials allowed.

FCS stands for Football Championship Subdivision. FCS football holds a 24 team playoff at the end of the regular season and the winner is crowned the Division 1 FCS National Champions.

FCS teams can give out 63 full scholarships. They can give out partial scholarships that add up to 63 full scholarships.

Alright, with that out of the way, here are the two match-ups this Saturday of great interest to the football fans in the state of Iowa.

In Iowa City, the Big 10’s Iowa Hawkeyes, an FBS program, host in-state opponent UNI, an FCS program.

When you compare football budgets, coaches salaries, 22 more full scholarships and all the resources a Big 10 team has over any FCS team – plus FBS teams are most always playing these games in their home stadiums – you would wonder how a FCS team could possibly compete with a Big 10 program? Let alone think they could actually win the game!

It happens….

See Appalachian State at Michigan. 2007.

UNI has quite a history of beating FBS teams. Or  giving them a heck of scare.

Last year UNI opened the season with a 28-20 win over Big 12 Iowa State. And that wasn’t the first time the Panthers were able to go into Jack Trice Stadium and leave with a victory.

David Johnson (

David Johnson (

Two years ago UNI trailed a very good Big 10 Wisconsin team 26-21 midway through the 4th quarter. The Panthers had the football and were driving into Badger territory when the drive stalled out. Wisconsin held on for a 5 point win. In 2009 Iowa needed to block back-to-back UNI field goals, something that had never happened in the history of college football before, in the final seconds of the game to escape the UNI upset, for a 17-16 Hawkeyes win. Iowa went on to play in the Orange Bowl that season. This is just a small sampling. And keep in mind, all these games are road games for UNI, the FCS school.

The other game in the state will see the Iowa State Cyclones, for the second year in a row open their season with an FCS opponent out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, three time defending FCS National Champion, North Dakota State. NDSU is another team that, since moving from D2 to D1 FCS football, has had their share of success stories over FBS teams. The Bison opened last year with a road win over the Big 12’s Kansas State. They also have wins over Big 10 Minnesota and Big 12 Kansas. NDSU carries a 24 game winning streak into the contest with Iowa State this Saturday.

I am not into making predictions as far as who will win and who won’t. In these two games it would not surprise me one bit if both FCS teams won, or vice versa. Or if one FCS team won and one FBS team gets the other victory.

But just a couple of “day before” the game final thoughts.

If, and I say if, UNI would go into Kinnick Stadium and get the win this Panthers team would do something that no other purple and gold clad football team has ever done.

And that is win a football game in Iowa City over the mighty Hawkeyes. Iowa knows how good this UNI team, and program, is. They know their history. And their ability to win games just like the one this Saturday in Kinnick Stadium. IF UNI does pull off the upset they will not catch Iowa by surprise. They will not catch Iowa looking past the Panthers. UNI has Iowa’s full attention and the Panthers will face a focused Iowa team. And you wouldn’t want it any other way.

As for Iowa State vs NDSU, the Bison have a new head coach after the guy that led them to three straight FCS Championships, Craig Bohl, left for the top job at Wyoming, an FBS program.

NDSU lost 22 guys to graduation off last years title team.



Their new head coach, Chris Klieman, is not new to Bison football. He was their defensive coordinator the last two years and was named the 2012 Football Scoop FCS Coordinator of the Year.

This will be an extremely tough game for Iowa State. The Bison play a tough, physical brand of football. They don’t beat themselves. They try and get their opponent to make mistakes and then take advantage of those miscues. The Bison know how to win. Prior to going D1 FCS  and dominating that division of late, they won eight D2 National Championships.

Iowa State, a Big 12 FBS program, has their hands full this Saturday. They will have to play extremely well to avoid losing their season opener for the second year in a row to a FCS team from the MVFC.

I don’t know who is going to win come Saturday and that is why we have to play the game. To get a winner. It’s not decided on paper. It will be decided on the field.

I can tell you this, I would be shocked if we don’t have two really competitive, really intense and really good D1 college football games in the state of Iowa to kick off this new season.


It’s go time! Sit back and enjoy it! Football is back!