Pioneer Football Non-Conference Schedule Analysis

Pioneer League
FCS Non-Conference Schedule Analysis

As one of the non-scholarship conferences, athletically anyhow, it’s almost imperative these schools schedule game against lower classifications to insure some wins. Usually, these schools are at a distinct disadvantage to the FCS counterparts who are giving out 63 scholarships to players. That’s not to say that upsets can’t, won’t or haven’t happened, it’s just a big hill to mount. And with the fact the FBS has a rule not allowing them to play non-scholarship schools, it’s tougher for these schools to find games like that to help their finances. For the most part, these schools know they aren’t fighting for playoff berths as at-larges, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t scratching and clawing to win the league and its automatic bid.
Butler: vs. North Dakota State, vs. Indiana Wesleyan(lower), vs. Taylor (lower), @ Princeton.
  • Butler landed a neutral site game with the FCS’ top royalty, North Dakota State. Still going to be like a home game for the Bison as the trip from Fargo to Minneapolis is much closer than Indianapolis. Two home games give the schedule good balance.
Davidson: vs. Georgetown, vs. Virginia-Lynchburg (lower), vs. West Virginia Wesleyan (lower), @ Campbell.
  • Virginia-Lynchburg is here again. Gotta love the Dragons. Davidson hauled in three home games, which is nice. And their road game to Campbell is just a stone’s throw away. Well orchestrated schedule here.
Dayton: @ Indiana State, @ Robert Morris, vs. Duquesne.
  • As far as travel is concerned, it could be a lot worse, for having two of three on the road. As one of the Pioneer’s perennially better teams, all these games are respectable. A 2-1 record could be expected, but fans might want more than that.
Drake: @ North Dakota, vs. Truman State (lower), vs. South Dakota State.
  • This is tough. A road game to North Dakota is a pretty good trip, especially if they do it by bus. Might be long enough they’ll charter that one. Getting South Dakota State to come to Des Moines will be a strange site, as MVFC teams usually don’t travel out of state for Pioneer teams.
Jacksonville: @ Richmond, @ Presbyterian, vs. Dartmouth, vs. Ave Maria (lower).
  • For one of the Pioneer’s two Florida teams, avoiding long travel is mostly impossible. But they did a pretty solid job here. Richmond and Presbyterian aren’t super-long trips. They have three conference road games to the Midwest and one in the Northeast.
Marist: @ Georgetown, vs. Cornell, vs. Dartmouth.
  • Marist has three non-conference games, playing an eleven game schedule overall. Pretty standard here. Georgetown is a staple, an annual rival. The two Ivy League teams are nothing uncommon either.
Morehead State: vs. Union-KY (lower), @ Illinois State, vs. Kentucky Christian (lower), @ Murray State.
  • Morehead State will play two lower division teams at home. The road games are very drivable games with AQ teams in the MVFC and OVC. A 2-2 split would seem very logical here, winning the home games, losing the roadies.
San Diego: @ Cal Poly, vs. UC-Davis, vs. Harvard.
  • This schedule will push Drake for the league’s toughest non-conference, and probably gets a slight nod. Getting UC-Davis to visit will be interesting and scary. The Toreros get their return home game from last year’s monster road trip to Harvard.
Stetson: vs. Presbyterian, vs. Louisiana College (lower), vs. Western New England (lower), vs. North Carolina Wesleyan (lower).
  • It looks very obvious that the Hatters are looking to go undefeated in non-conference play. If they get by Presbyterian, it’ll be very likely. Three lower division opponents? They might as well have schedule a culinary school to help bake these cupcakes.
Valparaiso: @ Eastern Kentucky, vs. Central Connecticut State, @ Truman State (lower), vs. Charleston-WV (lower).
  • Valparaiso did something that no FCS program should do; accept a road game to a lower division opponent. But if that’s what it took to fill out the schedule, you do what you gotta do, right? The Crusaders will be hoping for a split here.
Pioneer Numbers
2 vs. Big Sky
3 vs. Big South
1 vs. Colonial
5 vs. Ivy
4 vs. MVFC
3 vs. NEC
2 vs. Patriot
2 vs. OVC
1 vs. FCS Independent
13 vs. Lower Division (Div-II, Div-III, NAIA, NCCAA)