(STATS) - Cinderella is allowed out more often than in the month of March. During college football season, FCS programs are adept at drawing national attention as they seek upsets of the larger FBS.
Many of the games are played during the first few weekends of the season. This year, there are 112 FCS vs. FBS matchups, and the FCS hopes to raise their nine combined wins from last season.
Missouri Valley Football Conference teams will be involved in 10 of the matchups:
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The Matchups - Illinois State: Northwestern (Sept. 10); Indiana State: Minnesota (Sept. 10); Missouri State: Kansas State (Sept. 24); North Dakota State: Iowa (Sept. 17); Northern Iowa: Iowa State (Sept. 3); South Dakota: New Mexico (Sept. 3); South Dakota State: TCU (Sept. 3); Southern Illinois: Florida Atlantic (Sept. 3); Western Illinois: Northern Illinois (Sept. 24); Youngstown State: West Virginia (Sept. 10).
Glamour Game - North Dakota State at Iowa. The five-time defending FCS champion Bison have won five straight games against FBS opponents, most recently at Iowa State in 2014, and are 8-3 against the big boys since moving up from the Division II level.
Upset Alert - Northern Iowa at Iowa State. UNI has played either Iowa or Iowa State every year since 2009. The Panthers lost at Iowa State last season, but won in Ames 28-20 to open the 2013 season. They return an excellent offense led by quarterback Aaron Bailey.
Notable - All 10 Missouri Valley programs are playing an FBS opponent this season … Youngstown State has 20 wins all-time against FBS opponents, most recently against Pittsburgh in 2012 … Exchanging non-conference ideas? Illinois State (Valparaiso, Northwestern and Eastern Illinois) and Indiana State (Butler, Minnesota and Southeast Missouri State) both face a Big Ten opponent after opening against a Pioneer Football League team and before facing an Ohio Valley Conference program … South Dakota is making $875,000 from its season-opening date - which is new coach Bob Nielson's debut. The Coyotes received a $500,000 buyout from Cal after the Golden Bears canceled a previously scheduled matchup and are getting $375,000 from New Mexico … South Dakota State beat an FBS opponent for the first time last year, winning 41-38 at Kansas … New Southern Illinois coach Nick Hill's debut is against Florida Atlantic.