May 17, 2017

(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.

Southern Conference teams are involved in 10 of the nearly 100 matchups. There's a stacked lineup of opponents, including Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and LSU.

Here's a look at this year's matchups involving SoCon teams:

The matchups (10) - Chattanooga vs. LSU (Sept. 9); The Citadel vs. Clemson (Nov. 18); Furman vs. North Carolina State (Sept. 16); Mercer vs. Auburn (Sept. 16) and Alabama (Nov. 18); Samford vs. Georgia (Sept. 16); VMI vs. Air Force (Sept. 2); Western Carolina vs. Hawaii (Sept. 2) and North Carolina (Nov. 18); Wofford vs. South Carolina (Nov. 18

Glamour game - The Citadel at Clemson. Deshaun Watson won't be there, but Dabo Swinney and the rest of the FBS national champions will be to welcome the two-time defending SoCon champion Bulldogs into Death Valley. Their meeting will mark the eighth time in nine seasons that an FCS program is playing the defending FBS national champ.

Upset alert - Wofford at South Carolina. Wofford has lost 16 straight games against South Carolina, trailing 19-4 in the intrastate series, but last year's quarterfinalist runs the triple-option offense, which The Citadel used to spring an upset of the Gamecocks in 2015.

Notable - East Tennessee State, in its third season since returning to football, is the only SoCon program that isn't facing an FBS opponent. However, the Bucs have five on future schedules, starting with Tennessee in 2018. ... Furman loves its history against N.C. State. In addition to holding an 8-4-4 series lead, the Paladins won the most recent meeting 42-20 in 1985 - the season they went on to win the SoCon title and finish as the FCS runner-up. ... Mercer is only in its fifth season since returning to football and is playing both Auburn and Alabama. Yeah, that's worth reading again. ... The VMI-Air Force game is a first-ever meeting. VMI's third-year coach Scott Wachenheim is a 1984 Air Force graduate. ... Western Carolina opens its season with a first-ever meeting at Hawaii, so under NCAA by-laws the Catamounts can play 12 games. They will close the regular season by facing North Carolina, also for the first time. They'll head back to Chapel Hill in 2018. ... Chattanooga and LSU have met once previously - a 26-19 LSU win in 1954. Samford lost its only game against Georgia, 39-0 in 1943.

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