Annual Fear The FCS Update: June 2024 Edition

Welcome back to the now annual update regarding Fear The FCS where we provide insights into some of the updates and enhancements to the website. The past two years of updates mainly focused on the FCS versus FBS historical database changes but there’s not much to report this year regarding the database. Instead, the last 12 months were focused on updating the reference pages found throughout the website. The 2022 update can be found here while the 2023 update is here if one fancies learning more about the nitty gritty methodology of previous changes.

Historical Database Updates

In a welcome departure from the previous two years, there are only a few updates to report regarding the FCS-FBS historical database. The first is that the name of the Big 10 was changed to the Big Ten. The second bit was the addition of the Big South-OVC in 2023. Originally, we had the Big South and Ohio Valley teams separated but that didn’t make sense since they combined football programs into one entity. As a result, there is a new entry into the FCS Conference Records table for Big-South-OVC starting with the 2023 season. Those changes were made in late 2023 as we wrote our annual FCS-FBS matchups review.

Finally, there were some additional teams added for the 1978 and 1979 seasons from the MEAC. After reviewing some archival MEAC information, Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State, and North Carolina Central were added as FCS members for those seasons but it had no impact on the number of FCS-FBS games played. UMES dropped football after the 1979 season while Morgan State (1984) and NCCU (2010) both later rejoined the MEAC. In summary, the following changes were made:

Big 10 -> Big Ten

2023 Big South FCS-FBS games -> Big South-OVC

2023 Ohio Valley FCS-FBS games -> Big South-OVC

Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State, and North Carolina Central were documented as FCS members for 1978 and 1979 with no impact on the number of FCS-FBS games played for those seasons.

Two New Additions to the Website

There were two big additions to the website in the past year. First, a searchable table of future FCS versus FBS games was added. This was discussed in the 2023 annual update and it was decided to post the future games as a standalone article instead of incorporating it into the database. Given the extremely tentative nature of future games – especially with all the realignment and structural NCAA changes swirling – it made more sense to leave them out of the database. Updates to future games are posted as frequently as changes become known.

The other major addition was the FCS playoff records for each team and conference going back to 1978. There wasn’t any plan to add these pages but after reviewing some old files there was a half-completed spreadsheet, which made sense to finish and publish the information on the website. We also put together a five-part series that quantified some FCS playoffs stats from 1978 through 2023 including a breakdown and comparison of three separate eras if you want a closer look into the history of the FCS playoffs.

Other Website Changes

The bulk of the changes were more subtle but desperately needed in some areas. The FCS Conferences and Teams page was updated to provide more information including the location, first year in the FCS, and first year in the current conference for each team. This page is continually updated as more realignment changes occur with a table of all teams in alphabetical order and a timeline of FCS membership at the bottom.

We also updated each season’s page with various improvements. The title of each page was changed to include I-AA for seasons 1978 through 2005 and FCS for seasons 2006 through 2023. We previously had separate sections for “National Champion” and “Playoff Notes” but we combined those two into a single section titled “Playoff Bracket, Notes, and National Champion.” As the new section title indicates, a playoff bracket for each season has been added. This was a massive undertaking but one that made sense given the FCS Playoff research completed and to provide more historical FCS information for those seeking it. Finally, we added a table to each season that shows every division, subdivision, or conference affiliation change for all I-AA/FCS teams.

An entirely new page was added for Former FCS Conferences that provides more information on all active and inactive conferences since 1978. The main idea for this page was to help document the numerous changes and provide context for some of the conference names used in the historical database of FCS versus FBS games and the five-part FCS playoff series.

One concept that we tried in 2023 but won’t bring back in 2024 – at least in its previous form – is the FCS-FBS weekly recap. The time it took to make each article (even after automating significant portions of it) simply isn’t worth the effort. An annual recap will be written that features all games as we’ve done the previous few seasons. Ancillary to the FCS-FBS recap, we have added some more data to the FCS-FBS game logs. This isn’t a data set shared publicly but something kept offline that helps us provide some tidbits of information in those recaps. We now have FCS versus FBS game logs going back to the 2018 season and hope to have additional past seasons included but the process can take time and it’s not a high-priority focus.

That concludes the annual FCS Versus FBS database update version 1.3 with other website news included. As always, please feel free to provide feedback that we will consider for a future update or possible improvements that can be made.

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