An Early Look at 2020 FCS Teams


College Sports Madness' Jason Groomes takes a quick look at what each team that finished in last year's Top 25, along with a handful of other teams, return heading into the 2020 FCS campaign. Each notes returning starters on offense and defense as well as a brief descrption of why that team could be in for a promising, or disappointing, 2020 season.


1North Dakota StateMissouri Valley9/5, offense will be tough as qb lance returns. Losing lb Cox to portal leads to questions on defense, but still the favorite.
2James MadisonColonial4/5, massive losses all over but rbs Agjei-obese & Hamilton are the nation's best combo. Defense needs to replace two best players.
3Weber StateBig Sky9/8, qb Constantine in portal - that hurts. Otherwise, offense remains intact. Defense will be stout as always. K Tuttle is clutch.
4Montana StateBig Sky9/7, whoever ends up at qb will have weapons to use. Defense should be capable of slowing down most oppnents.
5MontanaBig Sky6/6, if qb play improves, might be best offense in fcs. Defense has losses but a few big pieces return.
6Northern IowaMissouri Valley7/7, qb Mcelvain gets wr Weston / te Moore back at full strength. rb help? Defense might be best in fcs. DE Smith is a sack machine.
7Austin PeayOhio Valley7/6, offense should still be good. Despite defensive losses, elite talent still returns.
8Illinois StateMissouri Valley8/9, lose rb Robinson. Return qb Davis and top level defense. offensive continuity?
9Sacramento StateBig Sky9/7, qb Thomson leads an excellent offense that can score with anyone. Losses on defense were key. Big sky schedule is very favorable.
10South Dakota StateMissouri Valley6/9, triplets of Gibbs/Strong/Johnson as good as it gets. Defense is top 3 despite loss of lb Rozeboom.
11Central ArkansasSouthland8/10, depth all over. QB Smith is poised for a huge year. Defense should be better with almost everyone back.
12Kennesaw StateBig South8/7, triple option will be stout again. Defense could be even better, but will be hard to gauge with a weak overall schedule.
13MonmouthBig South8/9, replacing qb Behar and rb Guerriero are nearly impossible. The defense is solid across the board. all Big South contenders at home.
14NichollsSouthland6/6, reloading with jc talent. QB Fourcade is gone, a suitable replacement will be hard to find. Kicking game has been atrocious.
15AlbanyColonial?/?, qb Undercuffler returns as soph. RB Mofor is a machine. Defense returns three with 100+ tackles.
16Southeastern LouisianaSouthland6/6, team is replacing qb. Despite losses, team figures to be in the race. Nothing screams look at me, but no obvious glaring holes.
17VillanovaColonial10/7, offense should be awesome behind qb Smith. Defense is notorious for giving up points. if they get back to normal - look out!
18WoffordSouthern4/7, offense losing important players to graduation. The defense should be good but has to wait for offense to catch up.
19Southeast Missouri StateOhio Valley8/6, new qb and replacing the o-line - scary. Defense has to replace major parts. Might be an uphill climb.
20Central Connecticut StateNortheast6/8, strong o-line should help the transition from qb Winchester (grad). The defense will be good by NEC standards.
21North Carolina A&TMid-Eastern8/8, everything is there offensively except a qb. Should still be class of MEAC. Defense should be near the top of the MEAC also.
22San DiegoPioneer7/8, a lot of the best components return for Toreros. Both lines will be best in PFL, which will help new starters. should win PFL again.
23North DakotaMissouri Valley6/8, possible freshman @ qb. Defense is largely intact and slightly above average.
24Southern IllinoisMissouri Valley8/8, offense should continue to improve. Defense should do likewise though losing All-American safety Chinn hurts.
25FurmanSouthern8/6, rbs Wynn and Abrams form great duo. Defense needs to improve to previous standards.
 DelawareColonial8/9, veteran squad. Was outsacked by opponents 37-6, needs fixed. RB Knight will be the workhorse as a soph.
 ElonColonial7/8, qb Cheek is a fine player. Running game is weak. If defense can fill two key losses, should be good.
 MaineColonial8/8, all starters lost on defense were on the line. Offensive line should be tough, but consistency improvement overall is the key.
 New HampshireColonial8/7, offense needs to score more. Defense has to replace 2 cb and 2 lb, so pass defense needs addressed first.
 RichmondColonial9/8, offense has to replace both wr. Overall, the team is experienced but needs to take the next step.
 TowsonColonial7/7, many injury returnees but qb Flacco is a huge loss. Team should be good enough to finish in middle of pack.
 Eastern WashingtonBig Sky4/7, qb Barriere retuns but little else on offense. Defense needs vast improvement. Most tough games at home.
 Northern ArizonaBig Sky8/9, replacing qb Cookus is top priority. Defense needs to find its teeth. Overall, very experienced group. Excellent kicking game.
 Portland StateBig Sky6/5, team is young but o-line is experienced. QB Alexander has to lead. S Adams is an All-American, needs some help. JC transfers?
 UC-DavisBig Sky9/8, veteran team but qb Maier is gone. Offense has all other pieces though. Defense needs to toughen, especially against the run.
 SamfordSouthern7/8, qb needs to step up. Team overall was -13 in turnovers, both sides contributing. Pass defense in particular needs a shot in the arm.
 The CitadelSouthern9/9, only missing pieces on offense are line. The triple option should flourish. Defense takes advantage of offense holding ball, look out.
 Virginia MilitarySouthern7/6, all the offensive weapons are there. The defense has been horrendous. Any improvement could lead to a inning record.
 ChattanoogaSouthern8/9, a lot of returnees, so improvement from 6-6 seems likely. LB Boeck needs to lead defense. Finding a qb is utmost important.
 Eastern KentuckyOhio Valley9/6, even with a good numbers of returners, those lost were their best at many positions. Consistent qb play is a must.
 Jacksonville StateOhio Valley7/5, qb Cooper needs to bring this team along with his level of talent. Defense was average in 2019. Improvement there will help.
 Houston BaptistSouthland7/9, the offense should be there. QB Zappe led conference in yds/td. If the defense can just get to avg, a winning record should follow.
 Incarnate WordSouthland7/4, similar to Houston Baptist. QB Copeland is very good. Defense is inexperienced and returnees underperformed.
 Sam Houston StateSouthland5/7, offense is lagging behind the defense now. QB Schmid has to take the next step. 
 Charleston SouthernBig South7/8, offense should improve with most pieces together for another year. D-line is very good on the edges, as is the kicking game.
 Robert MorrisNortheast6/8, entire o-line returns. Can the weapons gel quickly? Defense returns experience but loses leadership.
 St. FrancisNortheast8/9, can the running game improve to get the offense to the next level? Defense might be best in NEC.
 South Carolina StateMid-Eastern7/8, qb Davis enters soph season as MEAC ROTY in 2019. DT Perry causes havoc inside. Figures to be in the MEAC race all season.
 Florida A&MMid-Eastern7/7, despite ineligibility in 2019, Rattlers look strong again. New qb will have ample weapons, but need more rushing. 
 DrakePioneer8/9, most starters back in PFL. For most part, best team not named USD. Safety Warner is an INT machine.
 PrincetonIvy6/8, wide open Ivu should be theirs with league's best defense. O-line should protect new qb and rb Eaddy will benefit also.