FCS acronym starts with 'Fun'

(STATS) - Even the NFL realizes it has to go back to relaxing end zone celebration rules to avoid being the No Fun League.

The first letter of the FCS acronym might not stand for fun but you'd never know it, as the subdivision makes it a fan-friendly experience that's up close and personal.

Considering there's always room for more fun, the FCS should keep it coming.

Here are 10 suggestions:

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Early season openers for all=

The NCAA gave the subdivision the national spotlight with the FCS Kickoff matchup the Saturday before the traditional Thursday night opener over Labor Day weekend. That game no longer stands on its own. If the NCAA wants more games that weekend, then give the FCS the real spotlight. Let the entire FCS have an early opening weekend before FBS schools kick off.

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Better intersectional matchups=

There will be a cupcake in conference play, so demand the non-conference schedule be more challenging and memorable. Reigning FCS champ James Madison would be better-served with an early season trip to, say, Northern Iowa rather than an easy home game against Norfolk State. The CAA Football and Southern Conference powers need to start challenging each other. Youngstown State just went to the national title game; a date with Sam Houston State makes more sense than Robert Morris.

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FBS bonuses=

FCS-FBS games can be more than money grabs, so it's time to raise the stakes if an FCS school is serious about winning. Negotiate a bonus for beating an FBS team and put the money where the win is. Under a new deal, an FCS team must be willing to take half its cut with a loss, but have the game agreement doubled with an upset.

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More colored fields=

It's great to go green, but not necessarily on the football field. Nothing sets off a program and generates discussion like colored turf (hello, Eastern Washington). More schools should gain the recruiting advantage and brighten their world.

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Autographs on the field=

It works with other college sports after games, so a school building its fan base can include the football team. After select games, let the kids in attendance get autographs and photos with the players who are still larger than life to them. And if the youngsters get to go onto a colored field, hey, that's even better.

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Cheaper tickets=

Speaking of building a fan base, there's no need for, say, a $25 game ticket. The FCS needs as many fans as possible, so keep the prices low - even have a "buy one ticket, get one free" promotion. Pack the stands with reduced rates.

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Battle of the bands=

The lively bands of MEAC and SWAC schools breathe atmosphere into stadiums all game long. No need for staunch tunes. Schools in all conferences should keep the music and dancing going, not just before a game and at halftime. If the band members wind up more exhausted than the players, then everybody gains.

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Showcase the personalities=

Fordham's Chase Edmonds is on pace to become the all-time FCS rushing leader this season, but does FCS nation really know him off the field? More schools have to spotlight their players in fun, memorable ways (hey, Fordham can film Chase wearing the Rams mascot costume for a day). Promote the personalities, showcase the storylines and keep social media buzzing with the best across the subdivision.

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Fantasy FCS football=

Now that would bring out some hardcore fans. Record-setting quarterbacks Jeremiah Briscoe (Sam Houston State) and Gage Gubrud (Eastern Washington) would get picked in a heartbeat.

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Celebrate the good times=

OK, if it's good enough for the NFL, then how about some celebrating with the college kids. An occasional spike of the ball in the end zone isn't going to hurt anybody. Let the Fun Bunch liven up some touchdowns. And put the student sections behind the end zone to have a Lambeau Leap or two. There could be a Fargodome Fly or a JMU Jump.

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