The 128 schools which form the FBS are scheduled to play over 1,500 games this season.
The result is a staggering amount of historical data. Who’s played who before? Who’s played where before? Who’s had the best and worst luck in the past against its slate of opponents? Who has a hidden scheduling advantage? And, who’s getting screwed over without anyone taking notice?
Check out the following list of extraordinary facts—at least a couple could make a difference in the outcome of the season.
APPALACHIAN STATE has Never Lost to 10 of Its 12 Opponents
The Mountaineers are 11-0 vs. six of their 2016 foes (Old Dominion, Georgia State, UL Lafayette, Idaho, Troy, and ULM) and have never faced five (Tennessee, Miami Fla., Akron, Texas State, and New Mexico State).
That leaves Georgia Southern, who they split a home-and-home series with in 2014-15. App State holds a 16-12-1 series lead overall, which includes their battles as fellow FCS members.
AUBURN Plays Its First Five Games at Home
One of only two Power programs with an extended home stay early, the Tigers won’t venture outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium until Oct. 8 when they travel to Starkville to square off with Mississippi State.
In total, Auburn gets eight of its 2016 opponents at home, leaving it with only four true road trips—Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama.
BALL STATE, GEORGIA SOUTHERN, IDAHO, ULM, LOUISIANA TECH and NEW MEXICO STATE All Play Just 5 Home Games
On the other end of the spectrum from Auburn, each of six schools listed above will hit the road a whopping seven times.
By conference, it’s four members of the Sun Belt, one from the MAC and one from C-USA.
BOWLING GREEN Plays 10 of Its Games in the State of Ohio
With eight FBS programs within state lines, Ohio offers plenty of opportunities to play locally.
Bowling Green takes full advantage of this in 2016, traveling outside of the state only twice—on Saturday, Sept. 24 to play Memphis in the Liberty Bowl and on Tuesday, Nov. 1 to square off with Northern Illinois in DeKalb.
BYU Has 5 First-Ever Opponents
BYU played its first football game 95 years ago, in 1921. It makes it improbable that the Cougars could find a whopping five first-ever football foes in 2016.
Here’s the breakdown: West Virginia (Sept. 24), Toledo (Sept. 30), Michigan State (Oct. 8), Southern Utah (Nov. 12) and UMass (Nov. 19).
CHARLOTTE Has NEVER Beaten Any of Its 12 Opponents
The 49ers, who didn’t start playing football until 2012 and didn’t join the FBS ranks until last season, are a combined 0-9 vs. their final nine opponents in 2016.
Charlotte’s first three—Louisville, Elon, and Eastern Michigan—are all programs it has never faced.
DUKE–VIRGINIA and ARMY–NAVY are the Oldest Matchups of the Year
No 2016 matchups date further back than Duke-Virginia and Army-Navy, both of which kicked off 126-years ago in 1890. That’s just 25 years after the end of the American Civil War.
FLORIDA and FLORIDA STATE Both Play Just 3 Games Outside of the State of Florida
Combined, the Sunshine State’s big boys will play 18 games inside of state lines.
For the Gators, the exceptions are at Tennessee, at Vanderbilt, and at Arkansas. For the ‘Noles it’s at Louisville, at NC State, and at Syracuse.
INDIANA is on a 0-43 Run vs. OHIO STATE and MICHIGAN
The Hoosiers haven’t beaten the Buckeyes since 1988 and haven’t toppled the Wolverines since 1987.
In 2016, they get both teams on the road, last winning in Columbus 29 years ago and Ann Arbor 49 years ago.
KANSAS Holds an All-Time Winning Record vs. Just TWO of Its Opponents
At 49-39-6 (55.3%) vs. Iowa State and 65-43-5 (59.7%) vs. Kansas State, the Cyclones and Wildcats are the only two teams on the Jayhawks’ 2016 schedule that it’s beaten more times than it’s lost to.
If that weren’t enough, in the last five meetings with its’ 2016 slate, Kansas has scored just three total wins—a 1997 victory over TCU, a 2013 win vs. West Virginia and a 2014 triumph over, you guessed it, the Cyclones.
KENTUCKY has Lost 29 Straight to FLORIDA
Representing what is the biggest-active losing streak in the Power leagues, the Wildcats haven’t bested the Gators since 1986, when Ronald Reagan was president.
With this year’s game in Gainesville, it’s also worth noting that Kentucky hasn’t won at Florida since 1979. That’s when Jimmy Carter was in the White House.
LOUISIANA TECH and TEXAS TECH Play for the First Time Since 1933
The matchup most worthy of having “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb belted out by the marching band, the two Tech’s from Texas and Louisiana meet again this season after 83-years apart.
It’s the longest span between meetings in the FBS in 2016.
MARSHALL Plays 12-Consecutive Games without a Break
The only program without the benefit of an in-season bye, Marshall will play 12-straight games in 2016 after taking Week 1 off.
Included in the stretch are a Week 4 visit from Louisville and a Week 5 road trip to Pitt.
MICHIGAN Doesn’t Play Away from Michigan Stadium until Oct. 8
Like Auburn, Michigan gets its first five opponents at home, not venturing out of town until a Week 6 date at Rutgers.
The Wolverines also play all but three of their 2016 games in the state of Michigan. The only out-of-state road trips are to Rutgers, Iowa, and Ohio State.
MINNESOTA–WISCONSIN Is the Longest-Running Series
The Golden Gophers and Badgers have squared off 125 times in history, more than any other FBS vs. FBS matchup this season.
Just behind are three series with 120 meetings each — Miami, OH-Cincinnati, North Carolina-Virginia, and Missouri-Kansas.
NC STATE Doesn’t Leave the State of North Carolina until Oct 15.
Not only does the Wolfpack not leave its home state until Week 7, it only plays three total games outside of state lines — Clemson (Oct 15.), Louisville (Oct. 22), and Syracuse (Nov. 12).
OREGON is 5-0 Against 5 of Its Opponents in the Last 5 Meetings
The Ducks are a dominating 25-0 in their last five appearances vs. Colorado, Washington, Cal, Arizona State, and Oregon State, all also on their 2016 slate.
Their last loss to any of the five came in 2008 when they fell 26-16 at Cal.
RICE is 3-1 All-Time vs. STANFORD
In perhaps the craziest stat of the bunch, Rice and Stanford play this season for the first time in 52 years, a series that the Owls own 3-1.
Rice’s only loss came in 1964, also the last time the two schools played. The three wins all came between 1957 and 1963.
The Oldest Team in the FBS, RUTGERS, Plays 4 Schools It Has Never Played Before
The sport of college football dates all the way back to Nov. 6, 1869, when Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 in what looked more like a Rugby match.
147 years later, it’s hard to believe that the Scarlet Knights could scrounge up one new football opponent, much less four.
Playing Rutgers for the very first time in 2016 are Washington, New Mexico, Iowa, and Minnesota.
TOLEDO Plays Its Final 5 Games on Weeknights
While it’s not unusual for a MAC team to play during the week, especially late in the season, the Rockets will close out 2016 with five consecutive non-Saturday games.
Three of the games (at Akron, at Northern Illinois, and Ball State) have already been picked up by ESPN.
UMASS Has EIGHT First-Ever Opponents
In 2016, UMass plays as an independent for the first time since 1946, causing it to play more first-time foes than any team in the FBS.
The Minutemen are 7-20 all-time vs. Boston College, Florida International, Old Dominion, and Wagner. They have never played Florida, Mississippi State, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, South Carolina, Troy, BYU or Hawaii.
UTEP Plays 10 Games in the State of Texas
Equaling Bowling Green’s feat of keeping all but two of its games in-state, UTEP is set to play 83% of its schedule in Texas.
The exceptions are an Oct. 1 to visit Louisiana Tech and a Nov. 12 date at Florida Atlantic.
It’s worth noting that the closest FBS school to UTEP isn’t even in Texas, but instead 43 minutes away in Las Cruces, New Mexico, home of New Mexico State.
WISCONSIN is on a 28-0 Run vs. Its Final Three Opponents
After facing LSU, Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State in the first half of its season, Wisconsin gets a break by closing with Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota.
The Badgers have won six straight over the Illini, 10 straight over Purdue, and a whopping 12 straight over Minnesota.
Historical data courtesy of Stassen.com and College Football Data Warehouse
This took a lot of research. Thanks, Amy.
Really cool post, great research!
um, 1500 games is about double the actual number. 128 x 12 = 1546, but this is counting each FBS v FBS game twice. There will be more than half that number because of games vs FCS foes and conference championships.
The two closest FBS schools to UTEP, and 4 of the closest 5, are outside Texas: (1) New Mexico State, (2) New Mexico, (3) Texas Tech, (4) Arizona, (5) Arizona State.
Miami (OH) and Cincinnati have played 120 times. Also, the North Carolina and Virginia series (120), Georgia and Auburn series (119), and Oregon and Oregon State series (119) have all been played just as much or more than the Indiana and Purdue series.
Wisconsin and Minnesota started playing in 1890 and have played every year since (125 times). It looks like the Stassen database is missing the 1890 and 1891 games, which is available on Wikipedia and elsewhere.
Yes, this was edited.
In fact, make it 10 opponents Charlotte has lost to. Elon beat Charlotte 20-13 in the first game of the series back in 2014.
OUTSTANDING RESEARCH! I believe it is a travesty the number of “powerhouse” teams that have so many home and in-state games. Ridiculous!
Amy, good stuff. You go girl Keep up the good work and excellent reporting.
Lehigh vs Lafayette — 152 meetings
This is FBS only