(STATS) - Coming off a 2016 season in which their 10 wins over FBS programs tied for the fourth-most in a season, FCS programs hope to make a mark again in 2017.
Big Sky teams are involved in 16 of the nearly 100 matchups. The FCS' largest conference often plays a role in the success, such as Eastern Washington's 45-42 win at Washington State last September.
Here's a look at this year's matchups involving Big Sky teams:
The Matchups (16) - Cal Poly: San Jose State (Sept. 2); Eastern Washington: Texas Tech (Sept. 2); Idaho State: Utah State (Sept. 7) and Nevada (Sept. 16); Montana: Washington (Sept. 9); Montana State: Washington State (Sept. 2); North Dakota: Utah (Aug. 31); Northern Arizona: Arizona (Sept. 2); Northern Colorado: Florida (Sept. 9) and Colorado (Sept. 16); Portland State: BYU (Aug. 26) and Oregon State (Sept. 2); Sacramento State: Idaho (Aug. 31); Southern Utah: Oregon (Sept. 2); UC Davis: San Diego State (Sept. 2); Weber State: California (Sept. 9)
Glamour Game - Montana at Washington (Sept. 9). Washington made the College Football Playoff last season, losing to Alabama in the semifinals (Peach Bowl). The Grizzlies, facing an FBS opponent for just the third time since 2006, believe their trip to Seattle will benefit recruiting. The two programs were both members in the Pacific Coast Conference from 1924 to 1950, and last faced each other in 1951.
Upset Alert - Cal Poly at San Jose State (Sept. 2). All-America fullback Joe Protheroe and the Mustangs' triple-option offense will have played a game already (Colgate on Aug. 27) when they face a Mountain West squad that had a 4-8 record and ranked 122nd out of 128 FBS teams in rushing defense last season.
Notable - All 13 Big Sky programs are playing an FBS opponent. … Two new Big Sky coaches, Eastern Washington's Aaron Best (Texas Tech) and UC Davis' Dan Hawkins (San Diego State), will make their debuts against FBS programs. Interestingly, Best's predecessor, Beau Baldwin, also made his EWU debut against Texas Tech, falling 49-24 in 2008. UC Davis will play San Diego State for the first time. … Idaho State will face its two FBS opponents after new coach Rob Phenicie debuts against Division II Western Oregon. … Second-year Montana State coach Jeff Choate served as an assistant under Washington State coach Mike Leach in 2012. … Portland State will have an early start to its season (Aug. 26) because BYU plays at Hawaii this year and the NCAA allows the visiting team to have 13 regular-season games. … Not only is Northern Colorado facing an SEC opponent (Florida) for the first time, its follow-up game (Colorado) gives the Bears two FBS games in the same season for the first time since joining the Big Sky in 2006. … Weber State's first-ever game against Cal is its fourth against a Pac-12 team in five years. … In Utah, North Dakota is playing a Pac-12 opponent for the first time since a 0-0 tie against Oregon in 1931. … Northern Arizona has lost 12 straight meetings with Arizona, including 77-13 in 2015 in quarterback Case Cookus' third career start. He went on to win STATS national freshman of the year honors. … Idaho, Sacramento State's FBS opponent, will rejoin the Big Sky as a member in 2018. … New Oregon coach Willie Taggart will make his debut when the Ducks host Southern Utah.