By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There are plenty of O's surrounding matchups between FBS and FCS programs.
Yeah, usually about five of them attached to another number as a guaranteed payday to the FCS program which is paying a visit, presumably to take a beating.
But don't forget the many X's, too. Many of the FCS coaches have game plans in which they seek to pull a surprising upset, or at least make the FBS players sweat a little come the second half.
The guarantee in FBS-FCS matchups isn't just about the money, it's in the wins and losses, as FBS schools win, oh, about 95 percent of the time.
But when the FCS version of Cinderella stays late at the ball ...
They also received that all-too-important paycheck, which FCS schools use to help fund their athletics program.
This season, there are 92 FBS-FCS matchups, with all but eight in September and the biggest schedule occurring on the opening Saturday of the season, Sept. 3.
Surely, there will be some W's to mix in with the X's and O's.
Here are 25 matchups that stand out (on paper, that is; no upsets guaranteed):
Thursday, Sept. 1
Villanova at Temple - There's no truth to the rumor that the Mayor's Cup winner will get to play the rest of the season at Lincoln Financial Field and the loser gets dispatched to nearby Chester and PPL Park.
New Hampshire at Toledo - Before UNH lost at Pittsburgh last season, it had won five straight games against FBS opponents.
Montana State at Utah - If this was a year ago, the Bobcats might have been able to slip new quarterback Denarius McGhee past the Utes. Not this year.
Saturday, Sept. 3
Appalachian State at Virginia Tech - Yeah, I think we know a little something about App State winning at Michigan and Virginia Tech losing at home to James Madison.
James Madison at North Carolina - Some say the Dukes play better against ACC teams than CAA teams.
Delaware at Navy - Interesting possibility: if the Blue Hens can pull an upset, it would bring the series back to even through 16 games.
McNeese State at Kansas - A year after Kansas fell to North Dakota State, the Cowboys have some defensive players (defensive end Desmund Lighten and free safety Malcolm Bronson) to trouble the Jayhawks.
Eastern Washington at Washington - The reigning FCS champion Eagles have a chance to make a statement across the state.
Montana at Tennessee - This isn't Western State. The Grizzlies are playing a FBS team for the first time since 2006.
Richmond at Duke - The Spiders opened the 2009 season with a 24-16 win at Duke.
William & Mary at Virginia - Deja vu, the Tribe opened the 2009 season with a 26-14 win at Virginia.
Liberty at North Carolina State - Liberty's trio of quarterback Mike Brown, wide receiver Chris Summers and place-kicker Matt Bevins oozes FBS talent.
Chattanooga at Nebraska - Not a bad matchup of quarterbacks: Chattanooga's B.J. Coleman versus Nebraska's Taylor Martinez.
Texas State at Texas Tech - Welcome to the FBS a year early, Texas State.
Northern Iowa at Iowa State - With quarterback Tirrell Rennie and running back Carlos Anderson, the Panthers have a chance to control the clock.
Cal Poly at San Diego State - The visiting Mustangs have won each of the last two meetings (2006 and '08) by two points.
Saturday, Sept. 10
Wofford at Clemson - South Carolina teams collide. Wofford's undergraduate admissions is about one-tenth of Clemson's.
Southern Illinois at Mississippi - Do you think the Salukis wish Jacksonville State hadn't beaten Ole Miss last season?
Saturday, Sept. 17
Missouri State at Oregon - The visiting Bears surrendered 72 points to Murray State last season. Wonder how many Oregon will put on the scoreboard.
Saturday, Sept. 24
North Dakota State at Minnesota - The Gophers lost to a different Dakota team last season, South Dakota. This time, Bison running back D.J. McNorton will provide a stern test for the Big Ten program.
Central Arkansas at Arkansas State - This game won't be played on Central Arkansas' new purple and gray turf, but the Bears have an excellent chance of winning on the road.
Massachusetts at Boston College - Think this game will draw some interest in the Boston area? UMass will become New England's third FBS program next year.
Saturday, Oct. 22
Jacksonville State at Kentucky - JSU beat Ole Miss last season. At least the host Wildcats were smart enough to schedule their bye the weekend before Jack Crowe, who coached in the SEC at Auburn and Arkansas, brings his Gamecocks to Lexington.
Saturday, Nov. 19
Georgia Southern at Alabama - Hey, look, the Eagles can enter the FCS playoffs off a win.
OK, for good luck, here's one more of note:
UC Davis at Hawaii (Sept. 24) - The Aggies must have won this year's sweepstakes.
Aloha to all.