1986 I-AA Season

There was quite a bit of movement within conferences and a few programs left I-AA or disbanded their program.

1986 I-AA (FCS) Over I-A (FBS) Victories (17)

  1. Louisiana Tech @ Tulsa, 22-17
  2. Cal State Fullerton @ Nevada, 49-3
  3. Akron @ Kent State, 17-7
  4. Arkansas State @ Memphis, 30-10
  5. Marshall @ Ohio, 21-7
  6. Northern Iowa @ Kansas State, 17-0
  7. Cal State Fullerton @ Idaho, 25-17
  8. Morehead State @ Wichita State, 36-35
  9. Texas State @ Rice, 31-6
  10. Western Illinois @ Northern Illinois, 10-0
  11. Holy Cross @ Army, 17-14
  12. North Texas @ TCU, 24-20
  13. Penn @ Navy, 30-26
  14. William & Mary @ Virginia, 41-37
  15. Illinois State @ Wichita State, 17-10
  16. Delaware @ Navy, 27-14
  17. Louisiana Tech @ Louisiana, 23-14

There were two ties involving I-A and I-AA teams in 1986:

  1. Furman @ Georgia Tech, 17-17
  2. Arkansas State @ Mississippi, 10-10

Playoff Bracket, Notes, and National Champion

The I-AA Playoffs expanded from 12 to 16 teams starting with the 1986 season with the top four teams being seeded and the first three rounds played at campus sites. The title game was played on December 19 in the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington for the second straight season and the most recent occurrence to date.

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. Georgia Southern (13-2 Overall as I-AA Independent) became the first team to win back-to-back titles by crushing Arkansas State (12-2-1 Overall, 5-0 Southland Conference) by a score of 48-21.

Conference Changes

The Colonial League (currently known as the Patriot League) was created while the Gateway Conference (now known as the Missouri Valley Football Conference) membership was solely I-AA teams.

Team Changes

Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, and Lehigh all moved from I-AA independent status to the Colonial League. Both Delaware and Richmond moved from I-AA independent status to the Yankee Conference.

The Gateway Conference was comprised of Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, and Western Illinois. Eastern Illinois, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, and Western Illinois joined from the Mid-Continent while Illinois State, Indiana State, and Southern Illinois joined from the Missouri Valley.

A number of teams no longer participated in I-AA football. Drake, Southeastern Louisiana, and Texas-Arlington all dropped their programs after the 1985 season. West Texas A&M dropped from I-AA to Division II and the Lone Star Conference.

Florida A&M returned to the MEAC in 1986 after a two-year break as an I-AA independent. For the final time, Akron was not listed by the NCAA Handbook. Akron moved up to I-A after the 1986 season.

TeamOld ConferenceNew Conference
BucknellI-AA IndependentColonial League (I-AA)
ColgateI-AA IndependentColonial League (I-AA)
DelawareI-AA IndependentYankee Conference (I-AA)
DrakeMissouri Valley (I-AA)Dropped Football
Eastern IllinoisMid-Continent (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)
Florida A&MI-AA IndependentMEAC (I-AA)
Holy CrossI-AA IndependentColonial League (I-AA)
Illinois StateMissouri Valley (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)
Indiana StateMissouri Valley (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)
LafayetteI-AA IndependentColonial League (I-AA)
LehighI-AA IndependentColonial League (I-AA)
Missouri State
(Southwest Missouri State)
Mid-Continent (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)
Northern IowaMid-Continent (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)
RichmondI-AA IndependentYankee Conference (I-AA)
Southeastern LouisianaGulf Star (I-AA)Dropped Football
Southern IllinoisMissouri Valley (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)
Texas-ArlingtonSouthland (I-AA)Dropped Football
West Texas A&M
(West Texas State)
I-AA IndependentLone Star (Division I-AA)
Western IllinoisMid-Continent (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)

1985 Season ———————————————————————————————————————————————————- 1987 Season