2012 was another season of change as teams left, a conference disbanded, and there were no FCS independents for once.
2012 FCS Over FBS Victories (10)
- Eastern Washington @ Idaho, 20-3
- McNeese @ Middle Tennessee, 27-21
- Tennessee-Martin @ Memphis, 20-17
- Youngstown State @ Pittsburgh, 31-17
- Illinois State @ Eastern Michigan, 31-14
- North Dakota State @ Colorado State, 22-7
- Northern Arizona @ UNLV, 17-14
- Sacramento State @ Colorado, 30-28
- Cal Poly @ Wyoming, 24-22
- Stony Brook @ Army, 23-3
A rematch of the 2011 FCS National Championship ended up with the same outcome. North Dakota State broke a 10-10 halftime deadlock by outscoring Sam Houston State 29-3 in the final 30 minutes to win 39-13. The Bison (14-1 Overall, 7-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference) and Bearkats (11-4 Overall, 6-1 Southland Conference) were both making their second overall appearances in the FCS title game.
The Great West Conference saw their five members leave for new conferences leaving them without football. In addition, other programs moving to conferences or the FBS meant there were no FCS independents for the 2012 season.
Massachusetts left the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to join the FBS and to take part in some MACtion. Texas State and Texas-San Antonio were FCS independents in 2011, but they both moved to the FBS’ Western Athletic Conference (WAC). South Alabama, another FCS independent, went to the Sun Belt Conference (FBS).
The lone FCS independent who did not move to the FBS for the 2012 season was Georgia State. The Panthers joined the CAA for a season before they too decided to jump to the FBS.
Four of the five Great West teams moved to the Big Sky Conference – Cal Poly, North Dakota, Southern Utah, and UC Davis. South Dakota was the lone team that decided to join the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Georgia State announced in April 2012 of their intention to move up to the FBS. The Panthers spent the 2012 season as a member of the CAA, but their conference games did not count in the standings, nor were they eligible for the FCS Playoffs. The NCAA lists the Panthers as FCS for the season. Like UMass and Texas State in 2011, we consider Georgia State as an FCS team for 2012 due to their schedule being FCS caliber.
The FCS playoff remained the same for the third season in a row with 12 teams receiving a first-round bye as well as the top 5 teams being seeded. Campus sites were still used through the semifinal round as previously done. The FCS National Championship was held in Frisco, Texas for the third straight season on January 5, 2013.