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In my humble opinion, the best conferences in the FCS are 1) Missouri Valley Football Conferences (MVFC), 2) Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), & 3) Big Sky (B-SKY).
The Southern Conference (SoCon) once considered the best FCS conference has lost to many teams in recent years to the FBS (Appalachian State, Georgia Southern to the Sun Belt Conference and Elon (left for an FCS league, the CAA).
In 2021, the B-Sky took on 10 FBS opponents playing in the following Power Five Conferences (ACC, B-12, Big Ten, PAC 12, & the Southeastern Conference), six of the 10 teams were from the P-12. The Big Sky managed two (2) wins, both against PAC 12 teams (Montana beat Washington 13-7 & Northern Arizona shocked Arizona, 21-19) while losing the other eight (8) games. They also played 7 games vs teams affiliated with Group of Five (G5) Conferences (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, & the SBC)! They won two (2) of these contests and lost the other five (5). The B-SKY went 4-13 vs the FBS in 2021!
One other note: The B-Sky qualified 5 teams for the FCS Playoffs and Montana State made it all the way to the championship game, before falling to North Dakota State, 38-10!
The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) lined it up seven times vs P5 opponents, losing all seven (three of them to ACC squads) games and went 2-3 vs FBS teams playing in G5 conference. It needs to be mentioned that both wins were against the same team, U-Mass (Maine beat the Minutemen, 35-10 & Rhode Island outscored U-Mass, 35-22)! The CAA was 2-10 vs FBS opponents in 2021!
The Colonial qualified only 2 teams for the FCS Tourney in 2021, Villanova, who lost in the 2nd round to South Dakota State, 35-21 and James Madison, who fell in the 3rd round, to eventual champ, North Dakota State, 20-14!
The Missouri Valley struggled in their ‘step-up’ games vs the FBS. The Valley challenged 6 Power Five opponents and fell short in each of the six contests. That said, they did beat Colorado State, (South Dakota State) 42-23, going 1-3 vs G5 teams! Overall, in 2021, the MVFC went 1-9 vs the FBS.
The MVFC qualified 6 teams for the FCS Championship series, including the 2021 FCS Champion, North Dakota State!
The three best FCS conferences were 7 and 32 against the FBS in 2021!
FCS can give a maximum of 63 full scholarships and / or partials up to 85. However, they can give fewer if they choose to do so! While the FBS must give 85 full scholarships to stay in good standing with NCAA guidelines for maintaining Football Bowl Subdivision status.
This year (2022) the B-Sky plays 8 games vs the Power Five and takes on the Group of Five in seven games, all 7 battles are with the Mountain West Conference (MWC)
Please note: We color code our schedules (Red = Conference game; Yellow = Power five opponent; Green = Group of 5 team; & Blue = an FCS team!
The Colonial has scheduled 12 FBS opponents for the 2022 season (7 vs P5 & 5 vs G5). Here is their 2022 line-up!
Finally, here is the MVFC schedule of the 2022 season. It includes 10 games vs P5’s (B-10 on 6 dates) and only one (1) game vs a G5 team (Northern Iowa travels to Colorado, to take on the U.S. Air Force Academy!