Biggest conference games in 2019 FCS season
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By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - While wins count the same in the standings during a season, let's face it, some mean a lot more than others.
The most important during the long, winding conference schedule have the biggest impact with deciding titles and postseason bids.
Following is a quick look at the biggest conference games in the FCS this season (plus, a few rivalries that couldn't be ignored). Make no mistake, the list could go on and on with possibilities.
Biggest: Weber State at UC Davis (Oct. 26)It's disappointing this is the only matchup between last year's Big Sky tri-champs (Eastern Washington was the other), but maybe it's a prelude to some meetings in the FCS playoffs.
Three More Big Games: Northern Arizona at Montana State (Sept. 28), Eastern Washington at Montana (Oct. 26) and Montana at Montana State (Nov. 23)
Biggest: Monmouth at Kennesaw State (Nov. 2)
The winner is expected to claim the Big South's automatic playoff bid. Kennesaw State has won the first four meetings in the series by a combined 175-65.
Three More Big Games: North Alabama at Hampton (Oct. 5), Monmouth at Charleston Southern (Oct. 26) and Kennesaw State at Campbell (Nov. 9)
Biggest: Towson at James Madison (Oct. 26)
Which conference game isn't big in the CAA? This one features 2018 CAA offensive player of the year Tom Flacco trying to pull an upset at the anticipated preseason favorite.
Three More Big Games: Towson at Maine (Sept. 14), James Madison at Elon (Sept. 28) and New Hampshire at Delaware (Oct. 19)
Biggest: Dartmouth vs. Princeton in New York (Nov. 9)
Apologies to Harvard-Yale, but last year's top teams - Princeton was 10-0 and Dartmouth 9-1 - are squaring off at Yankee Stadium just three days after the 150th anniversary of the first college football game between Princeton and Rutgers.
Three More Big Games: Yale at Dartmouth (Oct. 12), Harvard at Princeton (Oct. 26) and Harvard at Yale (Nov. 23)
Biggest: North Carolina A&T at Florida A&M (Oct. 19)
Florida A&M pulled a road win over N.C. A&T last season and could be just as strong as the MEAC power this season. The disclaimer here is Florida A&M is ineligible for the postseason.
Three More Big Games: Howard at North Carolina A&T (Oct. 26), South Carolina State at Bethune-Cookman (Oct. 26) and Bethune-Cookman at North Carolina A&T (Nov. 16)
Biggest: North Dakota State at South Dakota State (Oct. 26)
Conference supremacy, the Dakota Marker trophy, a No. 1 national ranking, playoff seeding - it could all be on the line in this monster matchup. SDSU is the only program to beat NDSU more than once since the start of the Bison's first of seven FCS championship seasons in 2011.
Three More Big Games: Northern Iowa at North Dakota State (Oct. 26), Northern Iowa at Illinois State (Nov. 2) and South Dakota State at South Dakota (Nov. 23
Biggest: Central Connecticut State at Duquesne (Nov. 23)
A meeting on the final day of the regular season is appropriate for the two most recent NEC representatives in the playoffs.
Three More Big Games: Central Connecticut State at Sacred Heart (Oct. 5), Duquesne at Sacred Heart (Oct. 19) and Saint Francis at Duquesne (Nov. 2)
Biggest: Southeast Missouri at Jacksonville State (Oct. 19)
A year ago, the Redhawks and 2018 STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award winner Zach Hall handed Jacksonville State its only conference loss in the last five years by a resounding 37-14.
Three More Big Games: Jacksonville State at Austin Peay (Sept. 28), Eastern Kentucky at Southeast Missouri (Nov. 9) and Eastern Kentucky at Jacksonville State (Nov. 23)
Biggest: Colgate at Georgetown (Nov. 2)
These two teams played for sole possession of first place on the final Saturday of October last year. Will they begin a November to remember with a similar scenario this year?
Three More Big Games: Lehigh at Colgate (Oct. 5), Colgate at Holy Cross (Oct. 26) and Lafayette at Lehigh (Oct. 23)
Biggest: San Diego at Dayton (Oct. 26)
San Diego has won 29 straight PFL games since falling 13-12 at Dayton in 2015. The Toreros will have a new starting quarterback, while Dayton returns Jack Cook, the league's offensive freshman of the year.
Three More Big Games: San Diego at Davidson (Oct. 12), Dayton at Stetson (Oct. 19) and Drake at San Diego (Nov. 2)
Biggest: Furman at Wofford (Nov. 16)
The SoCon title race was crowded last season and these were two of the three champs along with ETSU. They should be the top two picks this preseason, but a lot of jostling in the standings will occur prior to this late-season showdown.
Three More Big Games: Wofford at ETSU (Oct. 5), Western Carolina at The Citadel (Oct. 12) and The Citadel at Chattanooga (Nov. 16)
Biggest: Nicholls at Sam Houston State (Oct. 19)
The Southland was even crazier than the SoCon last year, and this midseason matchup will help shape the race. A defending co-champ is hardly the definition of a "cupcake" for Sam Houston's Homecoming Day.
Three More Big Games: Sam Houston State at McNeese (Sept. 28), Central Arkansas at Nicholls (Oct. 5) and Lamar at Incarnate Word (Oct. 19)
Biggest: Southern vs. Grambling State in New Orleans (Nov. 30)
The eight first-round playoff games last Thanksgiving weekend didn't combine to draw the FCS season-high 67,871 who attended the party known as the Bayou Classic. Grambling State holds a 23-22 lead in the game.
Three More Big Games: Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M in Dallas (Sept. 28), Southern at Alcorn State (Oct. 26) and Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State in Birmingham (Oct. 26)
Updated June 13, 2019