On Saturday, Sept. 8, Illinois hosts Western Illinois, an FCS team from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The following Saturday, Iowa hosts another MVFC team, Northern Iowa. Those are the only two FCS games for the Big Ten the entire season. The SEC has six…in Week 1.
Yes, FCS guys, I agree, North Dakota State would do well in the FBS. They'd pummel the likes of Illinois, Kansas, Oregon State and others, and are arguably better than at least half of FBS teams. And several FCS teams will either beat or scare FBS teams this season.
However, the quality of football is still, in most cases, a big step below that in the FBS, and FCS teams are usually slaughtered at the hands of Power Five programs. The bloodbaths will often occur in the ACC and SEC this year, who play a combined 28 FCS teams this, tied for the most of any FBS conference.
Each team in six leagues — AAC, ACC, Conference USA, MAC, SEC and Sun Belt — will play one FCS team this season. All but one Mountain West team will do so, as will eight Big 12 teams and nine Pac-12 teams. The Big Ten, meanwhile, will play only Western Illinois and Northern Illinois. Part of the discrepancy is attributed to a short-lived Big Ten rule that barred members from playing FCS teams. That rule was lifted last year and teams have begun scheduling future FCS games.
Side note: If there was a college football commissioner, would all teams play by the same rules and schedule the same number of FCS games and the same number of conference games?
Here's the full list of FCS games by conference, sorted by percent of the conference's team playing an FCS team (via Brett McMurphy):