FBS vs. FCS Explained

There are many factors for football recruits to consider when choosing a college. One important distinction is between FBS and FCS schools. 

FBS schools are members of the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of NCAA football. On the other hand, FCS schools compete in the Football Championship Subdivision. Prior to 2006, they were named Division I-A and Division I-AA respectively.

Although both types of schools offer a high-quality football experience, there are some key differences to keep in mind. For example, FBS schools can offer up to 85 scholarships, while FCS schools are limited to 63. As a result, FBS schools tend to have deeper rosters and more competitive recruiting classes. 

Additionally, FBS schools must play in a bowl game if they are eligible, while FCS teams can only participate in their playoffs. Ultimately, each type of school has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to do your research to find the best fit for you.

FBS and FCS schools also vary greatly in size. FBS schools are typically much larger than FCS schools, both in terms of student population and their athletics budget. Because of this, FBS schools are able to offer additional scholarships and provide better facilities for their program. They also tend to have more experienced coaches and more competitive schedules.

There are some similarities between FBS and FCS football as well. Both levels of college football are overseen by the NCAA and must adhere to compliance guidelines set by the governing body. Additionally, both levels of football feature a playoff system to determine a national champion. 

Why were the different divisions created?

The Division I Football Bowl Subdivision was created by the NCAA in 1973. Its purpose was to give certain schools with strong football programs a way to compete against each other on a national level. 

Nick Saban

Nick Saban

The FCS is the second-highest level of football in the NCAA. It was created in 1978 as a way to give smaller colleges and universities a chance to compete against each other on a more equal footing.

Today, the FBS and FCS are the two main divisions of college football in the United States. While there is some overlap between them in terms of recruiting and competition, they each serve a unique purpose in the world of collegiate athletics.

By dividing schools into these two divisions, the NCAA ensures that all member schools have a fair chance to compete for recruiting talent to their schools, as well as to compete for national championships. In turn, this helps to maintain the overall quality of college football.

How does recruitment differ in each division?

The recruiting process can make or break a program’s season, and it is vital for coaches to understand the differences between recruiting in the FBS and the FCS. 

In the FBS, there are 131 schools, and each team is allowed 85 scholarships. There’s typically heavy competition for each recruit. Lots of time, effort and resources are put into getting those coveted commitments. 

There are 130 schools that comprise the FCS, but the schools are only allowed 63 scholarships. They are, however, allowed to split scholarships up and distribute them as partial scholarships to more players. The recruiting process is typically less competitive and less expensive at this level. 

How do the playoffs work for each division?

The FCS organizes a playoff bracket that consists of 24 teams. Eleven schools receive automatic bids as a result of winning their conference. The remaining teams are chosen by a selection committee at-large. 

The top eight teams in the bracket are seeded and receive byes. Then, the bracket plays out as a single-elimination tournament, with the winner of the final game being declared the national champion. 

North Dakota State is the most recent champion of the FCS division. They have won the championship a total of nine times dating back to just 2011.

North Dakota State

North Dakota State

The FBS uses the CFB Playoffs to determine their national champion. The CFB Playoff Selection Committee ranks teams weekly throughout the season culminating with the top four seeds being invited to the CFB Playoffs. 

From there, the #1 seed plays the #4 seed, and the #2 seed plays the #3 seed. The winners of each game participate against each other at a neutral stadium, and the winner is declared the national champion. 

Georgia is the most recent champion of the FBS division. Since its inception in 2014, Alabama has the most Playoff wins and championships. 

One comment to FBS vs. FCS Explained

  1. Carter
    January 23, 2024

    I like it


Leave a comment