Although FCS schools don’t receive the publicity that their FBS counterparts do, there are some areas where FCS football is extremely popular. There were 27 teams that averaged at least 10,000 people in attendance per game last season, and unsurprisingly those teams typically performed very well at home.
Five of those programs make our Top 5 FCS Teams To Back At Home list.
1. North Dakota State Bison – Who else could you have at No. 1 on the list? North Dakota State may not have won the title last year, but its home record is phenomenal. Since the Fargodome opened, the Bison have an .854 winning percentage there. It is one of the loudest arenas at the FCS level, with the crowd screaming and yelling up to 115 decibels.
The Bison were 18-0 at home in the postseason until James Madison finally knocked them off last year, a loss that also snapped their run of five straight national championships.
North Dakota State has a great chance to run the table at home this season. The Bison don’t face an FBS team, so they will be totally focused on performing as well as possible at home. Only one team on their home docket posted a winning record last season, Western Illinois at 6-5, so they should dominate in the Fargodome.
2. Montana Grizzlies – The Grizzlies are the only team at the FCS level to not only average 20,000 fans per game, but 25,000 fans per contest as well. Missoula loves its Montana Grizzlies, and although the team has been down in recent years, they still have a ton of support from the locals.
Montana was fantastic at home last season. The Grizzlies went 5-1 in Missoula with the one loss being a season-ending defeat at the hands of rival Montana State. An awful 1-4 record on the road kept them out of the postseason but highlighted how important home field is for this team.
This year, the Grizzlies face two of the toughest teams in the Big Sky at home in North Dakota and Eastern Washington. When Montana faced these two sides at home two seasons ago, the Grizzlies hammered both by more than three touchdowns. Montana will probably be an underdog in both games, and backing the Grizzlies there will be a great bet, especially when facing an Eastern Washington team with a brutal start to its season.
3. Liberty Flames – This will be Liberty’s last season at the FCS level, and the Flames are doing nothing more than playing for pride at this point. They are ineligible to both win the Big South and participate in the FCS playoffs as they prepare to make the jump to FBS.
That means every regular season game is that much more important for the Flames and their burgeoning fanbase. Although Liberty has only made the postseason once, the Flames are in the top 10 in attendance at the FCS level nationally.
They only lost two home games last season, both to ranked opponents, and have a great chance at running the table in Lynchburg this year. Indiana State and Kennesaw State should be the two toughest tests, but the Flames get a bye before facing Kennesaw State and ISU must face Tennessee the week prior.
4. Harvard Crimson – Harvard went 4-1 at home last year, but lost the one that mattered most at the end of the season and cost itself an Ivy League title in the process. The Crimson dropped The Game to the Elis for the first time in a decade, which meant Harvard couldn’t tie Penn and Dartmouth for the most Ivy League football championships.
A favorable home slate makes the Crimson the favorite in the Ivy League this season. Harvard faces Princeton and Penn at home and should be favored in both games as a result.
Football means more to Harvard than the other Ivies by quite a bit. The Crimson averaged over 5,000 more people per game than every other league school last season. That gives this team a distinct home field advantage.
5. Grambling Tigers – One of the most prestigious HBCU schools is also one of the toughest teams to knock off at home. The Tigers only had two home games last season after deciding to expand their reach by playing some games at neutral sites. They dominated both of those contests, beating Alcorn State 43-18 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff 70-0.
This year, the Tigers have four home games scheduled and should be big favorites in all four with superstar quarterback Devante Kincade running the show. Grambling is going to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the country with Kincade at the helm, and that should lead to some huge home wins against mediocre competition.