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Looking at Week One of FCS versus FBS in 2016

Some FCSers have a real chance at an FBS upset in Week One. Others will get fresh air and exercise.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

As has become tradition in the first week of college football, many FBS teams will start their campaign at home with a money game against FCS teams.

Last season, we divided all 107 FCS vs FBS games into five tiers. The results were interesting with at least one upset from each tier. Here's the five tiers

  • Tier 1 - Very Possible
  • Tier 2 - Eyebrow Raiser
  • Tier 3 - If The Ball Bounces Right
  • Tier 4 - Doubtful But Possible
  • Tier 5 - Good Grief
This season, the number of FCS vs FBS games is at 110. So instead of putting all of those into tiers, we're gonna break it down into sections with individual game analysis. For now, we'll look at the 46 such contests of Week 1.

Southern Utah at Utah (Thursday) - In-state rivals and SUU are the defending Big Sky Champs, but Utah is a Top 25 team. Tier 3

Weber State at Utah State (Thursday) - Another in-state game in Utah, but at a lower lever. Tier 3

Jackson State at UNLV (Thursday) - The SWAC isn't what it use to be. Tier 4

Presbyterian at Central Michigan (Thursday) - The Blue Hose were 2-9 in 2015, but played Miami of Ohio decently. Tier 4

William and Mary at NC State (Thursday) - This could go anywhere from Tier 2 to 4 as W&M has history upsetting FBS and NC State is NC State. Tier 3

UT-Martin at Cincinnati (Thursday) - If Cincy loses, Tubberville is surely gone. Tier 4

Maine at UConn (Thursday) - The Huskies were underdogs versus FCS Villanova last year and won. This year, they'll be plush favorites. Tier 4

Montana State at Idaho (Thursday) - This is a future Big Sky Conference game. Idaho could be a bowl team in 2016, but the old rivalry factor is in play. Tier 2

Albany at Buffalo (Friday) - The Bulls won this meeting 51-14 in 2015. Tier 4

Furman at Michigan State (Friday) - Furman beat UCF last year, but could use Jerome Felton for this one. Tier 5

Colgate at Syracuse (Friday) - The defending Patriot League Champs face Dino Babers in his first game in charge of the Orange. This is an Admiral Ackbar Special. Tier 2

Cal Poly at Nevada (Friday) - The Mustangs only lost 35-21 to Arizona State last season before finishing 4-7. Tier 2

New Hampshire at San Diego State - That's a long trip for UNH to play probably the best team in the Mountain West. Tier 4

Alabama State at UTSA - The Roadrunners are bringing in a new coach in Frank Wilson, but this shouldn't be too difficult. Tier 4

Southern Illinois at Florida Atlantic - The Salukis barely fell 48-47 to Indiana last season, but finished the year 3-8. This is totally a game FAU could lose. Tier 2

Alabama A&M at Middle Tennessee State - I don't see how a 3-8 SWAC team can slow down the Blue Raiders' offense. Tier 5

Hampton at Old Dominion - The battle of the 757 returns. The Pirates could give the Monarchs fits. Tier 3

VMI at Akron - The Keydets, despite being a small military school, can give FBS some fits. Tier 3

South Carolina State at UCF - The Knights lost to Furman last season en route to 0-12. This looks like just the game to get the Scott Frost Era on track. Tier 3

Western Carolina at East Carolina - Scottie might need a place to hide if the Pirates lost to the Catamounts. Tier 3

Towson at South Florida - The Bulls are one of the Access Bowl picks. Towson almost knocked off ECU last season. I don't see USF faltering here. Tier 3

Southeast Missouri State at Memphis - Mike Norvell shouldn't have much trouble with the SEMS Redhawks. Tier 4

NC Central at Duke - Battle of the Bull City. This was a 55-0 Duke victory last season. Tier 4

Villanova at Pitt - This could be interesting. Pitt had trouble with Youngstown State last season and Villanova was favored against UConn. Tier 2

Richmond at Virginia - A semi-annual local match-up, the Spiders have had troubles in Charlottsville in recent memory. Bronco should cruise here. Tier 4

Liberty at Virginia Tech - The Flames have claimed an FBS scalp each of the last two seasons. The Hokies could be looking ahead to Bristol the following week and it's the first game under Justin Fuente. The ingredients are there. Tier 2

Eastern Kentucky at Purdue - The Colonels took NC State to overtime last season while Purdue is Purdue. Tier 1

Rhode Island at Kansas - Kansas has lost 15 in a row, but Rhode Island went 1-10 last season. Tier 4

Southeastern Louisiana at Oklahoma State - Don't see a way how this ends well for the Lions. Tier 5

South Dakota State at TCU - The Jackrabbits beat Kansas last season, but TCU is in another galaxy. Still, could be interesting. Tier 3

Stephen F Austin at Texas Tech - The Jacks have a history of getting the mess beat out of them by in-state FBS teams. It should continue in Tortilland. Tier 4

Northwestern State at Baylor - Two months ago, this would have been a Tier 5 game, but Baylor is a dumpster fire right now. Still, the Demons went 4-7 last season, including a blowout loss at UL-Lafayette. Tier 4

Northern Iowa at Iowa State - This was a 31-7 Cyclone victory last season, but the Panthers won 28-20 in 2013 and was a 20-19 I-State win in 2011. With Iowa State starting over with Matt Campbell, this is a dangerous first test. Tier 1

Abilene Christian at Air Force - The Wildcats won 38-35 at Troy two years ago, but that was a bad Troy team. Air Force is a decent team playing at home in elevation. Tier 4

South Dakota at New Mexico - The Coyotes are on the upswing, but this would be quite the jump. Tier 3

Northern Arizona at Arizona State - The Lumberjacks fell 77-13 last season to Arizona. Tier 4

UC Davis at Oregon - The Aggies are a team that makes some noise in FBS stadiums once in a while. Oregon is still Oregon, but it's still possible. Tier 3

Eastern Washington at Washington State - Another in-state match-up. The Eagles gave Oregon a good chase last season in a 62-41 defeat. The last match-up was a 24-20 Wazzu win in 2012. This could be interesting. Tier 2

Murray State at Illinois - The Racers could score some points, but will give up a lot more points to the Lovie Express. Tier 4

Howard at Maryland - In 2015, the Bison lost so badly to Boston College, the second half was reduced to 10-minute quarters. Tier 5

Florida A&M at Miami - The Rattlers wish this game was 15 years ago, as do the Hurricanes. Tier 4

Savannah State at Georgia Southern - This same game was an 83-9 final score in 2014. Eighty-three to nine. Tier 5

Southern at Louisiana-Monroe - This could be interesting, ULM is starting over with Matt Viator and Southern went 6-5 last season, despite getting blown out in both FBS games. The band contest is Tier 1. Tier 2

Austin Peay at Troy - The Governors are on a 16-game losing streak. Troy is a competent FBS team. Tier 5

Fordham at Navy - The Midshipmen still have the option rushing attack. Tier 4

Mississippi Valley State at Eastern Michigan - The War of the Worst. The 1-10 Delta Devils visit the 1-11 EMUs. This game is a monument to man's arrogance. No Tier