FCS Playoffs 2021: First-round games schedule, bracket

By Kevin Kelley -

The 2021 FCS Playoffs are set to kickoff on Saturday with eight first-round games. The action begins at noon Eastern with the Holy Cross Crusaders hosting the Sacred Heart Pioneers.

The FCS Playoff Schedule continues at 2:00pm ET with Davidson at Kennesaw State. Two games are slated for 3:00pm ET — Stephen F. Austin at UIW and UC Davis at South Dakota State.

At 4:00pm ET, Northern Iowa travels to face Eastern Washington while Missouri State plays host to UT Martin. Then at 6:00pm ET, South Dakota hosts Southern Illinois.

The first-round of the 2021 FCS Playoffs concludes with one contest, which features Florida A&M travelling to take on Southeastern Louisiana.

Winners of the first-round contests will advance to the second-round where they will play at one of the top eight seeds. The top eight seeds, listed below, each received a first-round bye:

1. Sam Houston
2. North Dakota State
3. James Madison
4. Sacramento State
5. Villanova
6. Montana
8. Montana State

Below is the complete schedule for the first two rounds of the 2021 FCS Playoffs:

*All games EST and on ESPN+.

Holy Cross 13, Sacred Heart 10
Kennesaw State 48, Davidson 21
UIW 35, Stephen F. Austin 28 (OT)
South Dakota State 56, UC Davis 24
Eastern Washington 19, Northern Iowa 9
UT Martin 32, Missouri State 31
Southern Illinois 22, South Dakota 10
Southeastern La. 38, Florida A&M 14

*All games EST and on ESPN+.

Holy Cross at Villanova – 7pm (Fri.)
Eastern Washington at Montana- 9pm (Fri.)
Kennesaw State at ETSU – 2pm
Southeastern La. at James Madison – 2pm
UIW at Sam Houston – 3pm
Southern Illinois at NDSU – 3:30pm
UT Martin at Montana St.- 4pm
South Dakota St. at Sacramento St. – 9pm

The fall 2021 FCS Championship Game is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The game will be televised by ESPN2 at 12:00pm ET.

FCS Playoff Schedule

FCS Playoff Bracket

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Comments (7)



A Merited Football Association Playoff where Your Conference can invest top 1AA Dollar in Football Programs & achieve 4+ Teams in the lineup as Big Sky & CAA “Power” Conferences have, but not holding the Neck of the Bag into the Postseason like that Association above them.

All the conference Champs achieve a Play in or 1st Round Opportunity with 2 Conference runnerups achieving “wildcard” Spots.

The rising Tide of Including all Conferences who want a playoff yet Seeding the best qualified 8 Seeds raises the rewards for all 1AA Programs.
An incoming Tide raises All Boats.


Wow, I didn’t think any Fans actually read Comments. I usually post a Comment to react to the Article Writer.

From the early 20th Century on… College Football has been & is referred to as Division 1A Football.
Somewhere in that Time, a little later than the 1A Designation, Universities & Colleges in coordination with the NCAA, divided the Football playing Schools into 1A & 1AA because of the Huge Divide between the Power Legacy Schools & everybody else. The Ivy League, which had been Division 1A dropped to 1AA Status. That’s One well researched & Prominent Example. There are many other Programs who discontinued their 1A Status & dropped Football. Others went to 1AA Status, or Division 3 Status. The 6 Power Conference Trust Members were instrumental in changing the Name of 1A Football to “Football Bowl Subdivision” & 1AA to “Football Championship Subdivision” from the Early 1990s Bowl Coalition onward.
85 Scholarship Football has always been 1A & 65 Scholarship Football always been 1AA, predating the 6 Autonomous Conferences Control of their non-NCAA “1 VS 2 National Championship Match (B owl C hampionship S ubdivision)” & current C ollege F ootball P layoff, Administration, LLC’s (4 Team C ollusive F ive P rivilege Trust Playoff).

College divisions did not begin until 1968. That year the NCAA asked school to decide whether they considered themselves members of the large school (termed – University) division or small school (termed – College) division. About five years after that the NCAA officially created three divisions (based upon size of athletic departments and other considerations) labeling each division by number; I, II and III. It was not until 1978, when the NCAA mandated a further divided within the Division I schools (by stadium size, net athletic revenue and scholarship numbers) that the terms Division I-A and Division I-AA created.

Incidentally, this mandate almost broke apart the IVy Group, as Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Pennsylvania seriously mulled staying in Division 1-A and letting the other four schools, who did not did not qualify, drop to Division 1-AA and thereby end the 25-year-old conference. In the end this notion was abandoned and all eight IVy Group schools, in unison moved to Division 1-AA status.

(Much larger and louder consternation arose ~1981 when the Vegas oddsmakers decided to stop posting their games on the Big Board, but that’s another story.)

Since 2005 there has been no Division I-AA.

It’s called the FCS, or Football Championship Subdivision.

But you do you, even if that means embracing being wrong!

I was referring to the creation of the terms ‘Division 1-A’ and hence, ‘Division 1-AA’ which Herr Todd Knaupp incorrectly said were, “From the early 20th Century on… ” and that “College Football has been & is referred to as Division 1A Football,” not the subsequent replacement of them by the terms ‘Football Bowl Subdivision’ and ‘Football Playoff Subdivision.’

@SpencerColdburn & @HeyArnold!

Dan-ke Spencer Coldburn for being my Factchecker! I didn’t research the History of Division 1 Football, but knew the Terms Division 1-A & 1-AA preceded all the Fake Matchups of 1 VS 2 National Champions from the late 1980s through 2013. The 2014 to 2021 Power 5 Invitational Top 4 Exclusive maintains the appearance of a 1-A Playoff. Now I have my College & University Football History Facts straight.

Dan-ke for the Humor about the LV Oddsmakers.

Too bad The Ivy League didn’t divide into 2 Divisions. Since it was gonna be successful with FB as a sidegig in either Division it could have pioneered a successful way for Unis to be in the same Athletic Conference & play different levels of the same Sports.

This Weekend’s 16 1-AA Teams (FB Championship Subdiv.) Playoff Games will be even more exciting than last Weekend’s.

Sacred Heart U @ Holy Cross U in the below freezing Temperatures of New England was a College FB Fan’s Dream Game. The same with Stephen F Austin U @ U of Incarnate Word’s OT War.