American Football Wiki

Football Bowl Subdivision[]

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NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, college football is the only NCAA-sponsored sport without an organized tournament to determine its champion.[1][2] Schools in Division I FBS compete in post-season bowl games, with the champions of six conferences receiving automatic bids to the highly lucrative Bowl Championship Series to determine a national champion. This is due to many factors, including that bowl games are sanctioned by the NCAA (primarily in terms of amateurism regulations and guaranteeing a minimum payout to conferences of the participating schools), but are not under its direct administration.

The remaining five conferences, often referred to as "Mid-majors",[3][4] do not receive automatic bids but their conference champions are eligible for an automatic bid if it ranks in the BCS top 12 or in the top 16 and ahead of the champion from a conference with an automatic bid. Only one "mid-major" champion can qualify for an automatic bid in any year. The one exception is Notre Dame, which has to rank in the top eight of the BCS standings to ensure a spot in a BCS bowl game. [5]

FBS schools are limited to a total of 85 football players receiving financial assistance.[6] For competitive reasons, a student receiving partial scholarship counts fully against the total of 85. Nearly all FBS schools that are not on NCAA probation give 85 full scholarships. The service academies—in this context, Army, Navy, and Air Force—are exempt from this rule, as all of their students receive full scholarships through the U.S. government and paid for by taxpayers.

As of 2010, there are 120 full members of Division I FBS. The most recent addition to FBS was Western Kentucky University, which ended its two-year transition period from Division I FCS in 2008 and became a full FBS member in 2009.[7]

Any conference with at least 12 football teams may split its teams into two divisions and conduct a championship game between the division winners.[8][9] The prize is normally a specific bowl game bid for which the conference has a tie-in, or a guaranteed spot in the BCS (depending on the conference).


Conference Nickname Founded Members Sports Headquarters
Atlantic Coast Conference ACC 1953 12 25 Greensboro, NC
Big East Conference Big East 1979[FBS 1] 16[FBS 2] 23 Providence, RI
Big Ten Conference Big Ten 1896 12 25 Park Ridge, IL
Big 12 Conference Big 12 1996 10 21 Irving, TX
Conference USA C-USA 1995[FBS 3] 12[FBS 4] 21 Irving, TX
FBS Independents 4
Mid-American Conference MAC 1946 12[FBS 5] 23 Cleveland, OH
Mountain West Conference MWC 1999 9 (10 by 2012) 19 Colorado Springs, CO
Pacific-12 Conference Pac-12 1915[FBS 6] 12[FBS 7] 22 Walnut Creek, CA
Southeastern Conference SEC 1932 12 20 Birmingham, AL
Sun Belt Conference Sun Belt 1976 12[FBS 8] 19 New Orleans, LA
Western Athletic Conference WAC 1962 9 (6 by 2011 or 2012) 19 Greenwood Village, CO
  1. Oklahoma Betting - BCS Oklahoma vs Florida Bowl Odds - Bet College Bowl Odds. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  2. Sports :NCAA Football Tournament: An Imagined Solution to a Real Problem. Meridian Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  3. Mid-major conferences use strong schedules to earn at-large bids - College Sports - ESPN. (2007-11-28). Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  4. Rise & Fall: Mid-Major Conference Review | College Basketball by (2008-08-11). Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  5. CFB - - FOX Sports on MSN. (2006-02-19). Archived from the original on April 6, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  6. College Football Scholarships. NCAA and NAIA Football Recruiting. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  7. WKU Football Playing on New FieldTurf Surface - Western Kentucky University Official Athletics Site. (2009-04-03). Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  8. An unlikely champ for Big Ten expansion: Paterno | Berry Tramel's Blog. Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
  9. Ground Zero East Lansing: Big Ten Roundtable - Antepenultimate edition. (2008-11-11). Retrieved on 2009-11-19.
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