1979 I-AA Season

1979 was the second football season after the Division I split. As expected, there were still changes afoot as teams were still finding their homes.

1979 I-AA (FCS) Over I-A (FBS) Victories (15)

  1. Eastern Kentucky @ Kent State, 17-14
  2. Holy Cross @ New Hampshire, 26-17
  3. Cal State Fullerton @ Boise State, 22-3
  4. Pacific @ Idaho, 17-13
  5. Columbia @ Lafayette, 14-7
  6. Penn @ Lehigh, 31-7
  7. Massachusetts @ Harvard, 20-7
  8. Northwestern State @ Louisiana-Monroe, 20-14
  9. Boston University @ Harvard, 14-10
  10. Bucknell @ Cornell, 10-0
  11. Miami (FL) @ Florida A&M, 16-13
  12. Eastern Kentucky @ Cal State Fullerton, 33-7
  13. Lafayette @ Penn, 9-7
  14. Northwestern State @ Louisiana Tech, 25-21
  15. Boston University @ Holy Cross, 16-7

There were three ties between I-A and I-AA teams in 1979:

  1. New Hampshire @ Dartmouth, 10-10
  2. Lafayette @ Colgate, 7-7
  3. VMI @ Connecticut, 13-13

Playoff Bracket, Notes, and National Champion

As with the 1978 playoffs, the 1979 version was the same with four teams selected from three regions and an at-large team. Lehigh (I-AA independent) represented the East, Murray State (OVC) represented the South, Nevada (Big Sky) was the West representative, and the at-large selection was Eastern Kentucky (OVC). The National Championship was played on December 15 at Orlando Stadium in Orlando, Florida for the first.

The home team is listed on the bottom of each matchup in the bracket below while an asterisk (*) denotes the number of overtime periods played if a game went to overtime. Eastern Kentucky Colonels (11-2 Overall, 5-1 Ohio Valley Conference) defeated Lehigh (10-3 Overall as I-AA independent) 30-7 in the title game.

Conference Changes

No additional conference changes happened in 1979.

Team Changes

As with the 1978 season, some of the same issues cropped up again in 1979. Florida A&M, now officially part of the MEAC, is still not listed in some sources. Other teams were still moving between divisions as well. Again, we defaulted to the NCAA’s handbook for the I-AA teams in 1979.

There were still plenty of teams moving around in 1979. Bethune-Cookman moved up from Division II into the MEAC. Florida A&M also made the move to the MEAC although they were already considered I-AA. East Tennessee State left the Ohio Valley Conference for the I-A Southern Conference. Nevada remained in I-AA moving from Independent status to the Big Sky.

Two final notes: Akron is listed as an upset for the NCAA here, but Akron’s own records say they were Division II in 1979. The same can be said for Delaware, which won the 1979 Division II National Championship. We do not consider these as I-AA/FCS over I-A/FBS upsets.

TeamOld ConferenceNew Conference
Bethune-CookmanSIAC (Division II)MEAC (I-AA)
East Tennessee StateOhio Valley (I-AA)Southern Conference (I-A)
Florida A&MI-AA (Unaffiliated)MEAC (I-AA)
NevadaI-AA IndependentBig Sky (I-AA)

1978 Season ———————————————————————————————————————————————————- 1980 Season