Big South Football Non-Conference Schedule Analysis

Big South
FCS Non-Conference Schedule Analysis
The Big South seems to be in a never ending state of change. Recently, Liberty and Coastal Carolina were stalwarts of the conference that ultimately took their programs to the Football Bowl Subdivision. In 2019, the conference will get one last go-around with Presbyterian before they compete as an independent next year. The following year, 2021, the Blue Hose will move into a new home, the Pioneer League. The eight-team configuration with the 12-game option in 2019, gives teams five non-conference opponents, if they so choose. North Alabama is playing an 11-game schedule. Campbell has 11 games scheduled also.
Campbell: @ Troy (FBS), vs. Shaw (lower), vs. Davidson, @ Mercer.
  • A pretty straight forward schedule. One FBS money game, a lower class opponent and two FCS opponents that provide both home and road games.
Charleston Southern: @ Furman, @ South Carolina (FBS), vs. North Carolina A&T, @ The Citadel, vs. Savannah State (lower).
  • Here’s a challenging slate. Two road games with Southern Conference teams, a FBS game against a Southeastern Conference team and a home game with the two-time defending HBCU National Champions. Better make good on Savannah State, those others are tough!
Gardner-Webb: @ Charlotte (FBS), @ East Carolina (FBS), vs. North Carolina Central, @ Wofford, @ Western Carolina.
  • Ouch! Two FBS opponents. Are the Bulldogs looking for a challenge or the cash? Maybe both. Two visits to the SoCon will be tough also. Heck, NC Central has been one of the better MEAC programs recently. No gimmes here.
Hampton: vs. Elizabeth City State (lower), vs. Virginia Union (lower), @ Howard, @ Liberty (FBS), vs. Virginia-Lynchburg (lower).
  • Easily, this is the worst non-con schedule in the Big South. Three lower division opponents, all at home, obviously. The two road games are to the FBS and MEAC. That MEAC game is nice to see though, as Howard is a staple rival. Apparently, the MEAC is still playing hardball for the Pirates leaving the conference last year.
Kennesaw State: vs. Point University (lower), @ Kent State (FBS), @ Alabama State, @ Missouri State, vs. Reinhardt (lower).
  • This is a poor schedule for someone who has dominated the conference for the last two years. Two lower division opponents and a road game with a SWAC team? Sometimes it’s hard, if not impossible, to find dance partners, but this schedule will mean little come November.
Monmouth: @ Western Michigan (FBS), @ Lafayette, vs. Albany, @ Montana, @ Wagner.
  • A brutal schedule for a team with playoff dreams, as four of their five non-cons are on the road. Wagner and Lafayette are both bus-trips, but the FBS game and Montana are going to be really tough ones.
North Alabama: vs. Western Illinois, @ Montana, vs. Alabama A&M, @ Jacksonville State.
  • Only four non-conference games here. Gotta give credit where it’s due, they’re not ducking toughies. Three of the four opponents are from FCS auto qualifying leagues (AQ). Jacksonville State is a natural non-conference rival and a match-up that should be played most years.
Presbyterian: @ Stetson, vs. Jacksonville, vs. Eastern Kentucky, @ Merrimack (trans), vs. St. Andrew’s (lower).
  • The Blue Hose are getting an early jump on a couple of their new conference mates in their first two games. Was nice of them to agree playing at Merrimack, when transitioning teams often find it difficult to get home games against the level they’re moving to.
Big South Numbers
2 vs. Big Sky
1 vs. CAA
3 vs. MEAC
2 vs. MVFC
2 vs. NEC
2 vs. OVC
1 vs. Patriot
3 vs. Pioneer
5 vs. Southern
2 vs. SWAC
7 vs. FBS
8 vs. Lower Division (Div-II, Div-III, NAIA, NCCAA)