5 FCS Football Programs That Deserve A Shot in the FBS

By Bryan Zarpentine

5 FCS Football Programs That Deserve A Shot in the FBS

Sam Houston
Tim Heitman - USATODAY Sports

In recent years, there have been several football programs at the FCS level that have made the jump to FBS with the hopes of growing into a program that can compete at the highest level on a consistent basis. It’s not an easy transition to make, but for programs that have had long-term success at the FCS level, what else is there? Here are five top-flight FCS programs that deserve a chance to play at the FBS level.

5. Youngstown State

Jim Tressel
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5. Youngstown State

Jim Tressel
Getty Images

Jim Tressel is the president of Youngstown State and he just hired Bo Pelini as the football coach, so you have to think he's eyeing a jump to the FBS level. The Penguins have been one of the most consistent FCS programs dating back to when Tressel was the head coach, and if they wanted to move up to FBS, Youngstown State could be a perfect fit in the MAC, which may be looking for a 14th team.

4. Villanova

Villanova Andy Talley
Rich Barnes - USATODAY Sports

4. Villanova

Villanova Andy Talley
Rich Barnes - USATODAY Sports

Villanova is one of the most stable programs in the FCS, as head coach Andy Talley has been with the Wildcats for the past 20 years. For years, Villanova had a standing invitation from the Big East to upgrade to FBS and join the conference, but they never made that decision. But the opportunity is still there, as the Wildcats are a regular participant in the FCS playoffs and won a national title in 2009, making Villanova capable of moving on up.

3. Richmond

Richmond
Geoff Burke - USATODAY Sports

3. Richmond

Richmond
Geoff Burke - USATODAY Sports

Richmond is not quite an FCS powerhouse, but they're a program on the way up under head coach Danny Rocco. The Spiders have been competitive with FBS teams in recent years and started to produce some NFL talent. Richmond is in a perfect location to make an upgrade, as they are in a talent-rich state and could recruit up and down the east coast, and could ultimately become a competitive FBS program.

2. Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington v Washington
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2. Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington v Washington
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The Eagles have become one of the best teams in FCS, winning at least 11 games in all four seasons under current head coach Beau Baldwin. EWU won a national championship in 2010, beat Oregon State in 2013 and nearly beat Washington in 2011 and 2014 and Washington State in 2012. The Eagles have the talent to be competitive in the FBS and could be an addition to the Mountain West if that conference wanted to expand.

1. North Dakota State

Iowa State Cyclones football
Tim Heitman - USATODAY Sports

1. North Dakota State

Iowa State Cyclones football
Tim Heitman - USATODAY Sports

The Bison have nothing left to prove at the FCS level, as they've won three straight national championships and will play for a fourth straight next week. They've beaten an FBS team in each of the last five seasons, with four of those five wins coming against Power 5 teams. North Dakota State has even received votes in the FBS top-25 polls, and it's time for them to move up to FBS so we can see how good they really are.

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