2001 I-AA Season

The 2001 season saw a host of changes with nearly a half dozen teams moving away from I-AA independent status and into conferences.

2001 I-AA (FCS) Over I-A (FBS) Victories (11)

  1. Sam Houston State @ Louisiana-Monroe, 20-9
  2. Eastern Washington @ Connecticut, 35-17
  3. Indiana State @ Eastern Michigan, 21-14
  4. Jacksonville State @ Arkansas State, 31-28
  5. Northern Iowa @ Ball State, 42-39
  6. Northwestern State @ TCU, 27-24
  7. Troy @ Mississippi State, 21-9
  8. Troy @ Louisiana-Monroe, 44-12
  9. Nicholls @ Arkansas State, 28-22
  10. Idaho @ Montana, 33-27
  11. North Texas @ Troy, 18-16

Playoff Bracket, Notes, and National Champion

The NCAA reverted the I-AA playoff format used from 1981 through 1994 of only seeding the top four teams. The NCAA had previously seeded all 16 teams in the field. Campus sites were still used through the semifinal round. The National Championship was played on December 21 at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the fifth consecutive season.

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. Montana (15-1 Overall, 7-0 Big Sky Conference) played in their second straight I-AA title game but won this time with a 13-6 victory over Furman (12-3 Overall, 7-1 Southern Conference). It was the second I-AA title for the Grizzlies while it was Furman’s third title appearance (they lost in 1985 and won in 1988).

Conference Changes

The influx of teams into the Pioneer Football League saw the conference institute two divisions. The North held five teams and the South had four teams.

Team Changes

Four teams left from I-AA independent status to join the Pioneer Football League. They were: Austin Peay, Davidson, Jacksonville, and Morehead State.

Georgetown left I-AA independent status to join the Patriot League. Troy left the Southland Conference to become an I-AA independent in preparation for their jump to I-A. The NCAA included Troy as I-AA, and we also considered them as I-AA. South Florida officially left I-AA after spending the 2000 season as an I-AA independent. The Bulls became an I-A independent in 2001.

Western Kentucky moved from the Ohio Valley Conference into the Gateway Conference (now known as the Missouri Valley Football Conference). Florida Atlantic started a new program and played as an I-AA independent before moving up to I-A.

Savannah State officially made its move up from Division II to the I-AA as an independent as did Morris Brown. Both schools were members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and were listed as changes for the 2000 season.

The final issue was that of UConn, which had a similar story to Troy. The NCAA Handbook has them as I-AA in 2001, but they were firmly entrenched in I-A with a full complement of I-A teams on their schedule.

TeamOld ConferenceNew Conference
Austin PeayI-AA IndependentPioneer Football League (I-AA)
DavidsonI-AA IndependentPioneer Football League (I-AA)
Florida AtlanticNew ProgramI-AA Independent
GeorgetownI-AA IndependentPatriot League (I-AA)
JacksonvilleI-AA IndependentPioneer Football League (I-AA)
Morehead StateI-AA IndependentPioneer Football League (I-AA)
South FloridaI-AA IndependentI-A Independent
TroySouthland (I-AA)I-AA Independent
Western KentuckyOhio Valley (I-AA)Gateway (I-AA)

2000 Season ———————————————————————————————————————————————————- 2002 Season