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Revisited: How The FCS Fared Versus Their FBS Foes in 2015

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Before the season, all 107 FCS vs FBS games were put into five tiers right here on Underdog Dynasty. Let's look back at how the FCS did and if our prognostications were right.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

As the FCS playoffs continue with the Round of 16 this weekend, we pause to look back. You see, before the season, someone got the crazy idea to take all 107 FCS vs FBS games in 2015 and put them into five tiers. Tier 1 was the most-likely for an FCS win and Tier 5 was the least-likely.

Overall the FCS had nine wins with 2 no contests versus the FBS in 2015. The two no contests are due to the Stony Brook at Toledo and McNeese State at LSU weather cancellations.

Amazingly, there was at least one FCS win in each of the five pre-season tiers. Yes, even Tier 5.

For the most part, things went as expected, but the FCSers had their share of surprises in 2015, including one result so shocking that it lead to an immediate firing.

With all these games completed and put in the history books, it's time to blow the dust off this and revisit the good and ugly.

Tier 1 - Very Possible

  1. South Dakota State 41 vs Kansas 38
  2. Northern Iowa 7 vs Iowa State 31
  3. Presbyterian 10 vs Charlotte 34
  4. William & Mary 29 vs Virginia 35
  5. Liberty 40 vs Georgia State 33

Three of these five games were close contest with two of the FCSers pulling it out. The big hit here is Liberty's win at Georgia State, which seemed to flip the switch for the Panthers as they've gone 4-1 since. The big miss here is Presbyterian at Charlotte. The Niners, despite finishing 2-10 on the season (with their other win being at Georgia State), were able to take care of the Blue Hose.

Tier 2 - Eyebrow Raiser

  1. New Hampshire 13 vs San Jose State 43
  2. Illinois State 14 vs Iowa 31
  3. Maine 3 vs Boston College 24
  4. Sam Houston State 45 vs Texas Tech 59
  5. Florida A&M 3 vs South Florida 51
  6. Youngstown State 37 vs Pittsburgh 45
  7. Western Illinois 0 vs Illinois 44
  8. Indiana State 14 vs Purdue 38
  9. Wofford 38 vs Idaho 41
  10. Maine 7 vs Tulane 38
  11. James Madison 48 vs SMU 45
  12. Portland State 66 vs North Texas 7
Two more FCSers won big here in the "fair chance to win" tier. You had some interesting results with Youngstown State right there with Pitt and Sam Houston State almost keeping up with Texas Tech. Let's also not forget Wofford's near miss against Idaho.

The big shocker here was Portland State's utter demolition of North Texas. It was a result so shocking (biggest FCS over FBS win since the 80's) that the Mean Green immediately dismissed head coach Dan McCarney. This game, out of every since FCS vs FBS game, gets the "Shit Through A Tin Horn" award in 2015.

The big miss here was Western Illinois getting shut out here at Illinois. Come on Leathernecks!

Tier 3 - If The Ball Bounces Right...

  1. Villanova 15 vs Connecticut 20
  2. UC Davis 17 vs Nevada 31
  3. Fordham 37 vs Army 35
  4. Stony Brook vs Toledo (cancelled)
  5. Weber State 7 vs Oregon State 26
  6. Portland State 24 vs Washington State 17
  7. Wagner 16 vs Rice 56
  8. Presbyterian 7 vs Miami (OH) 26
  9. Southern Illinois 47 vs Indiana 48
  10. Gardner-Webb 23 vs South Alabama 33
  11. Tennessee Tech 24 vs Houston 52
  12. Charleston Southern 16 vs Troy 44
  13. Southeastern Louisiana 14 vs Ohio 35
  14. Idaho State 8 vs UNLV 80
  15. Austin Peay 7 vs Vanderbilt 47
  16. North Carolina Central 14 vs FIU 39
  17. UC Davis 27 vs Hawaii 47
  18. Bucknell 14 vs Army 21
Portland State's havoc wasn't confined to just one tier. The Vikings started their 2015 campaign with a shock win in the Palouse versus the Pirate. But unlike North Texas, the Cougars rebounded to have one of their best seasons in a long time, going 8-4. Another hit was Fordham knocking off Army. It was the second-straight year the Black Knights fell to an FCS foe after falling to Yale on the road (100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl) in overtime 49-43 last year. They even needed a comeback against Bucknell to avoid getting dinged by both of their FCS opponents this year.

Putting Villanova at UConn in Tier 3 was a controversial decision, especially with the Wildcats being betting-line favorites going in. So thanks Huskies for making me not seem like a complete fool.

The biggest miss here was Idaho State getting trounced 80-8 by UNLV. So much for the Bengals' high-octane offense.

Tier 4 - Doubtful But Possible

  1. Elon 3 vs Wake Forest 41
  2. VMI 36 vs Ball State 48
  3. Southern Utah 9 vs Utah State 12
  4. Abilene Christian 13 vs Fresno State 34
  5. Rhode Island 0 vs Syracuse 34
  6. Norfolk State 13 vs Rutgers 63
  7. Richmond 21 vs Maryland 50
  8. Wofford 10 vs Clemson 49
  9. Albany 14 vs Buffalo 51
  10. Howard 0 vs Appalachian State 49
  11. North Dakota 24 vs Wyoming 13
  12. Missouri State 7 vs Memphis 63
  13. Howard 0 vs Boston College 76
  14. Sacramento State 0 vs Washington 49
  15. Austin Peay 6 vs Southern Mississippi 52
  16. Eastern Illinois 0 vs Northwestern 41
  17. Eastern Kentucky 0 vs NC State 35
  18. Nicholls State 0 vs Louisiana Monroe 47
  19. Norfolk State 10 vs Old Dominion 24
  20. Central Arkansas 8 vs Oklahoma State 32
  21. Murray State 20 vs Western Michigan 52
  22. The Citadel 23 vs South Carolina 22
In retrospect, it's amazing how The Citadel's lopsided defeat to Georgia Southern was in Tier 5 and yet their upset of the SEC's South Carolina was in Tier 4. Out of all the FCS wins, El Citadel's win is easily the most important as it got the Bulldogs into the FCS playoffs, where they knocked off Coastal Carolina last Saturday to set up a local clash with Charleston Southern this weekend.

The other FCS had the North Dakota (at the time) Fighting Nothings knock off former North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl and his Wyoming Cowboys. I'm sure that felt good for the (now) Fighting Hawks.

Two honorable mentions go to VMI in their 48-36 close loss to Ball State and Southern Utah as they couldn't hold on and fell at in-state rival Utah State 12-9.

Biggest miss here easily goes to Howard's 76-0 defeat at the hands of Boston College. The game was so bad that the second half was limited to 10-minute quarters after it was 62-0 at halftime. A double-ouch was that the 50-minutes game no longer counted on Vegas betting lines as the game was under the mandated 55 minutes for bets to be paid out.

Tier 5 - No Chance

  1. Tennessee-Martin 3 vs Ole Miss 76
  2. Colgate 10 vs Navy 48
  3. Morgan State 7 vs Air Force 63
  4. Grambling State 14 vs California 73
  5. Lamar 31 vs Baylor 66
  6. Bethune-Cookman 0 vs Miami (FL) 45
  7. Towson 20 vs East Carolina 28
  8. Alcorn State 6 vs Georgia Tech 69
  9. Savannah State 13 vs Colorado State 65
  10. McNeese State vs LSU (cancelled)
  11. San Diego 3 vs San Diego State 37
  12. Mississippi Valley State 0 vs New Mexico 66
  13. Southeast Missouri State 3 vs Missouri 34
  14. Alabama A&M 10 vs Cincinnati 52
  15. Prairie View A&M 24 vs Texas State 63
  16. Southern 15 vs Louisiana Tech 62
  17. Jackson State 14 vs Middle Tennessee State 70
  18. South Dakota 0 vs Kansas State 34
  19. Eastern Washington 42 vs Oregon 61
  20. Stephen F Austin 7 vs TCU 70
  21. Jacksonville State 20 vs Auburn 27 (OT)
  22. Liberty 17 vs West Virginia 41
  23. Idaho State 0 vs Boise State 52
  24. Monmouth 10 vs Central Michigan 31
  25. Murray State 26 vs Northern Illinois 57
  26. Savannah State 9 vs Akron 52
  27. Furman 3 vs Virginia Tech 42
  28. North Carolina Central 0 vs Duke 55
  29. North Carolina A&T 14 vs North Carolina 53
  30. Delaware State 13 vs Kent State 45
  31. Northwestern State 17 vs Louisiana Lafayette 44
  32. Cal Poly 21 vs Arizona State 35
  33. Norfolk State 7 vs Marshall 45
  34. Northwestern State 13 vs Mississippi State 62
  35. The Citadel 13 vs Georgia Southern 48
  36. Furman 16 vs UCF 15
  37. Missouri State 7 vs Arkansas State 70
  38. Western Carolina 10 vs Tennessee 55
  39. Northern Arizona 13 vs Arizona 77
  40. Nicholls State 0 vs Colorado 48
  41. Delaware 14 vs North Carolina 41
  42. Incarnate Word 17 vs UTEP 27
  43. Samford 3 vs Louisville 45
  44. Eastern Kentucky 27 vs Kentucky 34 (OT)
  45. Wagner 6 vs BYU 70
  46. Tennessee-Martin 28 vs Arkansas 63
  47. Southern 6 vs Georgia 48
  48. Western Carolina 17 vs Texas A&M 41
  49. Charleston Southern 6 vs Alabama 56
  50. Chattanooga 13 vs Florida State 52

We had one hit in the bottom tier. In retrospect, it's not surprising that it's 0-12 UCF. But remember, UCF was a pre-season dark horse to win the American, being voted 4th. Furman went on to finish 4-7 overall.

Most of the games went how you would expect, but there were a couple OVC close calls versus in-state SEC foes. Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky had Auburn and Kentucky, respectively, on the ropes but fell in overtime. Other honorable mentions include Eastern Washington's shootout loss to Oregon, Incarnate Word keeping it close at UTEP, Towson near hit at ECU and Cal Poly scaring the bejeezus out of Arizona State.

The big misses go to...welll...everyone else.

Going into 2016, here's an way-too-early early list of FCS vs FBS games that are mighty-interesting.

  1. Villanova at Pitt
  2. Richmond at Virginia
  3. Liberty at Virginia Tech (week before the Battle at Bristol)
  4. Western Carolina at ECU
  5. Liberty at SMU
  6. South Dakota State at Iowa State
  7. Eastern Kentucky at Ball State
  8. Sam Houston State at New Mexico
  9. Sacramento State at Fresno State
  10. Cal Poly at Nevada
  11. Portland State at San Jose State
  12. Portland State as Washington
  13. Eastern Washington at Washington State
  14. Incarnate Word at Texas State
  15. McNeese State at UL-Lafayette