(STATS) – Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.
Big South teams are involved in four of the nearly 100 matchups. The conference hasn’t had great success against FBS opponents, but long-time power Liberty, whose program will rise to the FBS level next year, posted wins in 2014 (Appalachian State) and ’15 (Georgia State).
Here’s a look at this year’s games involving Big South teams:
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The matchups (4) – Charleston Southern vs. Mississippi State (Sept. 2); Gardner-Webb vs. Wyoming (Sept. 9); Liberty vs. Baylor (Sept. 2); Presbyterian vs. Wake Forest (Aug. 31)
Glamour Game – Liberty at Baylor. The Flames, under coach Turner Gill, begin their final season in the FCS with their only FBS matchup – a first meeting with Baylor. Their 2018 schedule will be FBS-centric, with the Flames required to play at least three home games against FBS opponents.
Upset Alert – Gardner-Webb at Wyoming. Quarterback Tyrell Maxwell and running back Khalil Lewis provide a dangerous 1-2 duo for a Gardner-Webb program which has only played as far west as Laramie once before (Montana State in 2003). The Runnin’ Bulldogs won at Akron in 2010.
Notable – Kennesaw State’s third-year program has yet to play an FBS program, but the Owls have future dates scheduled with Georgia State (2018), Kent State (2019 and 2020) and Georgia Tech (2021). … Monmouth also won’t play an FBS game this season after playing the first two in program history the last two years, losing 31-10 to Central Michigan in 2015 and 27-7 to Kent State last season. … Tommy Spangler begins his second stint as Presbyterian’s coach when the Blue Hose face Wake Forest, while Mark Tucker will debut as Charleston Southern’s coach in the Buccaneers’ first meeting with Mississippi State. Presbyterian is 0-11 all-time against FBS competition and Charleston Southern, the Big South’s two-time defending champ, is 0-19. … The Big South will add new members in Campbell next year and North Alabama in 2019.