1980 saw roughly the same amount of changes as in 1979 as teams were moving up from the Division II level.
1980 FCS Over FBS Victories (25)
- Boise State @ Utah, 28-7
- Northwestern State @ Texas-Arlington, 38-31
- Tennessee Tech @ Western Carolina, 26-10
- Delaware @ Temple, 28-7
- Villanova @ Massachusetts, 24-12
- Murray State @ Louisville, 13-9
- East Tennessee State @ SE Louisiana, 7-3
- Lehigh @ Penn, 35-6
- Bucknell @ Brown, 28-20
- New Hampshire @ Dartmouth, 24-7
- Northwestern State @ McNeese, 13-10
- SE Louisiana @ Illinois State, 28-21
- Colgate @ Connecticut, 24-21
- Eastern Michigan @ Akron, 21-10
- Cal State Fullerton @ Boise State, 26-11
- Connecticut @ Holy Cross, 18-17
- East Tennessee State @ Eastern Kentucky, 25-6
- Penn @ Lafayette, 3-0
- Delaware @ William & Mary, 7-3
- SE Louisiana @ Louisiana-Monroe, 55-30
- VMI @ Boston University, 38-22
- Cornell @ Bucknell, 33-16
- Villanova @ Delaware, 17-7
- Massachusetts @ Holy Cross, 17-13
- Eastern Kentucky @ East Carolina, 28-16
There were two ties between I-A and I-AA teams in 1980, both involving Lehigh:
- Lehigh @ Colgate, 17-17
- Army @ Lehigh, 24-24
The Boise State Broncos (10-3 Overall, 6-1 in the Big Sky Conference) defeated Eastern Kentucky (10-3 Overall, 5-2 Ohio Valley Conference) 31-29 in the title game.
No additional conference changes occurred in 1980.
Four teams moved up from the Division II level. Delaware, Nicholls, and Southeastern Louisiana all moved up from Division II independent to I-AA independent status while Akron joined the Ohio Valley Conference from the Association of Mid-Continent and Universities.
James Madison went from Division III independent status to I-AA independent. Maryland Eastern Shore, a team part of the MEAC, dropped its program. Note that the NCAA never considered them as part of I-AA. The NCAA Handbook is completely missing Akron as part of I-AA for the 1980 through 1986 seasons.
The third season of Division I-AA playoffs followed the same format as the previous two seasons. Lehigh was chosen as the East team, Grambling State was chosen as the South team, Boise State was the West team, and the at-large selection was Eastern Kentucky.
The National Championship game was played at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento, California on December 20. The 1980 contest was called the Camellia Bowl and was the last iteration of the bowl. (Not to be confused with the current FBS Camellia Bowl, which is held in Montgomery, Alabama and is not related to the previous bowl games of the same name).