Southland Football 2020 Non-Conference Schedule Analysis

Southland Conference
FCS Non-Conference Schedule Analysis
Sounds like a broken record, the Southland playing this horrible nine game conference schedule. With eleven teams, it leaves one odd to only play eight. This year that team is Houston Baptist. Worse yet, with an eleven game regular season, that’s only 23 total non-conference games for the entire conference. Ten of those are against FBS schools. Of those last thirteen, nine are against independents, lower division opponents or teams from the non-AQ SWAC. How do you get a bearing on the Southland’s strength when a total of four games are played against fellow AQ conferences? Again, I understand the scheduling comfort guaranteed conference games mean, but it’s not like the Big Sky couldn’t use scheduling help. It’s a natural benefit for both, if the Southland would just go back to eight games for each.
Abilene Christian: @ Texas A&M (FBS), vs. Southern Utah.
  • Only so much to be done after the check chasing game at FBS Texas A&M, but Abilene Christian gets props for getting the Big Sky’s Southern Utah on the schedule. And it happens the final week of the season, avoiding that Week 12 bye.
Central Arkansas: vs. Austin Peay, @ Missouri (FBS).
  • Central Arkansas gets a return game with Austin Peay after playing in Tennessee last season. On top of that, it’s going to be the FCS Week 0 Kickoff game. FBS Missouri is what it is, but much easier to travel than Hawai’i last year. Missouri or Hawai’i, hmm?
Houston Baptist: @ North Texas (FBS), vs. Texas Wesleyan (lower), @ Texas Southern.
  • The odd team with the extra game, as they were last year. This will end their two year rotation in this spot. FBS North Texas is good for in-state travel, even though Texas is huge. With two extra games, it would have been nice to see them do more than play a lower division opponent and a team from the SWAC.
Incarnate Word: @ Baylor (FBS), vs. Presbyterian.
  • The good thing about being an FCS team from Texas? There’s a plethora of FBS schools from Texas willing to drop money on you to give you an early season beating. Baylor fits that bill. Hosting Presbyterian should be a mid-conference play appetizer before getting back into the SLC.
Lamar: vs. Mississippi College (lower), @ Rice (FBS).
  • Lamar, who made the playoffs two seasons ago, pulled this lower division opponent fluff last season. These games do nothing for a playoff resume, nor FCS conference preparation. The FBS Rice game is pretty standard as a blood money game.
McNeese: @ Louisiana (FBS) vs. North Colorado.
  • The FBS roadie keeps the money in THEIR state. It’s a good thing they were able to schedule a home game with the Big Sky’s Northern Colorado. The bad? They’re APR ineligible in 2020, so it only matters from the conference’s perspective.
Nicholls: vs. Mississippi Valley State. @ Louisiana State (FBS).
  • Couldn’t have about two different opponents here. Mississippi Valley State is a bad SWAC team who’s been scrambling to get back to past glory with limited success. FBS Louisiana State is at the top of the football food pyramid, biting, chewing and spitting out most other programs. Expect a 1-1 split here.
Northwestern State: @ Tulsa (FBS), @ Prairie View A&M.
  • The Demons are playing both of their non-conference games on the road. Usually not a good situation, but they have five of their nine conference games at home.
Sam Houston State: vs. Tarleton State, vs. Mississippi Valley State.
  • After playing games with Richmond, North Dakota State and James Madison in recent years, the Bearkats are staying closer to home in 2020. They welcome Tarleton State for their first ever game at the FCS level. MVSU as the other home opponent makes this a real pastry schedule of Stay Puft Marshmallow Man fame.
Southeastern Louisiana: @ Tulane (FBS), @ Jacksonville State.
  • There’s a bye week sandwiched in between these two games, which open the Lions season. FBS Tulane is in-state, a good thing. Going to Jacksonville State is a return for hosting the Gamecocks last year. A rare good schedule for the SLC.
Stephen F. Austin: @ Alabama A&M, @ Southern Methodist (FBS).
  • Playing both of these games on the road is not a big deal, SFA has only three true road games in conference (one is neutral site). Alabama A&M should be winnable, but it is a roadie, who knows? FBS SMU will be tougher, of course.
Southland Numbers
2 vs. Big Sky
2 vs. OVC
5 vs. SWAC
2 vs. FBS Independent
10 vs. FBS
2 vs. Lower Division (Div-II, Div-III, NAIA, NCCAA)