|Abilene Christian Wildcats||Abilene, Texas||Shotwell Stadium|
|Central Arkansas Bears||Conway, Arkansas||Estes Stadium|
|Incarnate Word Cardinals||San Antonio, Texas||Gayle & Tom Benson Stadium|
|Lamar Cardinals||Beaumont, Texas||Provost Umphrey Stadium|
|McNeese State Cowboys||Lake Charles, Louisiana||Cowboy Stadium|
|Nicholls State Colonels||Thibodaux, Louisiana||John L. Guidry Stadium|
|Northwestern State Demons||Natchitoches, Louisiana||Harry Turpin Stadium|
|Sam Houston State Bearkats||Huntsville, Texas||Bowers Stadium|
|Southeastern Louisiana Lions||Hammond, Louisiana||Strawberry Stadium|
|Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks||Nacogdoches, Texas||Homer Bryce Stadium|
Southland Conference football ranks among the best Division I FCS leagues in the nation, and enjoys an annual expectation of competing for the national championship with multiple teams advancing to the NCAA playoffs each year. In 2002 and 2003, McNeese State finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation, and advanced to the 2002 national championship contest, the sixth such title game appearance since the league joined the FCS (then known as Division I-AA) in 1982. All told, Southland teams have played in 84 Division I-AA/FCS playoff games in 23 years, winning 42 of the contests.
Historically, the Southland's successful football heritage has sustained itself through numerous membership and classification changes. Originally an NAIA conference, the Southland joined the NCAA College Division in 1968. The College Division was re-named NCAA Division II in 1973, and the league played two seasons in that class. The Southland became an NCAA Division I league in 1975, and was a charter member of Division I-A (now Division I FBS) when Division I split for football in 1978. It moved to the FCS ranks in 1982, where it has remained to this day.
During its tenure as a Division I and I-A conference from 1975-81, the Southland Conference was instrumental in the startup of the Independence Bowl in 1976. The Southland representative served as the host team of the bowl until 1980, compiling a 2-3 record in the contests. The Conference can lay claim to five national football championships, including College Division championships through former members Arkansas State (1970, UPI) and Louisiana Tech (1972, National Football Foundation). Louisiana Tech also won the first-ever NCAA-sanctioned national title, winning the Division II playoffs in 1973. Tech followed that with the UPI's Division II national championship in 1974. Northeast Louisiana, now Louisiana-Monroe, won the 1987 Division I-AA national title.
McNeese State, which has made 12 appearances in the national playoffs, also played in the 1997 I-AA national championship game, and Stephen F. Austin played in the 1989 title game, one of four playoff runs for the Lumberjacks. Northwestern State has played in six national playoffs, and advanced to the semifinals in 1998, while Sam Houston State has earned four trips to the postseason, including the semifinals in 2004, Nicholls State has participated twice, and Texas State twice, advancing to the 2005 semifinals.
On four occasions, the Southland has placed three teams in the national 16-team playoffs. Six of the eight current football-playing members have qualified for the I-AA/FCS playoffs. In addition, Texas State won NCAA Division II titles in 1981 and 1982 before joining the Southland.
The Southland has produced 149 first-team football All-Americans during its history, and has sent such talent to the professional ranks including Dallas' Keith Davis (SHSU), Arizona's Josh McCown (SHSU), Buffalo's Terrence McGee (Northwestern State), N.Y. Giant's Gary Reasons (Northwestern State), Baltimore's B. J. Sams (McNeese), Chicago's Mike Green (Northwestern State), Jacksonville's Kenny Wright (Northwestern State), Houston's Chad Stanley (SFA), Philadelphia's Jeremiah Trotter (SFA), San Diego's Clinton Ballard (Texas State) and Chicago's Chris Thompson (Nicholls). In the 2002 NFL Draft alone, five Southland players were selected.
With its current alignment of 12 institutions in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, the Southland is at its largest membership configuration in its 43-year history.
The Conference began its own broadcast entity in 2008, the Southland Conference Television Network, that aired in numerous markets in the league's three-state region as well as on national networks such as Fox College Sports, and ESPN FullCourt and ESPN360.com. In 2008-09, the Network featured 35 broadcasts, mainly football and basketball, and the Conference recently announced 31 live events for broadcast in 2009-10.
Former Southland Conference starsEdit
Former NFL stars from the Southland include Fred Dean, Bill Bergey, Stan Humphries, Fred Barnett, Roger Carr, Marvin Upshaw, Larry Centers, Kavika Pittman, Mike Barber, Bruce Collie, Tim McKyer, Pat Tilley, Jackie Harris, Eugene Seale, Bubby Brister, Billy Ryckman, Rafael Septien, Buford Jordan, Marcus Spears, Terrance Shaw, Jeremiah Trotter, Mike Quinn, Chad Standley, Derrick Blaylock, Keith Davis and Ray Brown.