Part 6 – Independents and group of 5!
If you still haven’t chosen your college team then we’re finishing our series with the independents and group of five!
With the cancellation of the 2020 British American Football Season, there is no doubt we all have a massive football-sized hole in our lives. Although the NFL is extremely popular amongst not only Britballers but people in the UK in general, there is still only a minority of people following football at the College level. So, if you are looking for something new to fill that Britball void, here is a guide to the Division 1 FBS College teams and why you should choose to follow them. Whether you choose to your team to follow based on team colours, location or current record, there will be an option for you.
In this article, we will look at those teams that aren’t in a Power 5 conference, such as independents and group of five teams.
Perhaps Power 5 conference teams aren’t for you, and that’s okay. Here are some of the other options open to you within Division 1 College Football.
American Athletic Conference
|American East||American West|
|Cincinnati Bearcats||Houston Cougars|
|Connecticut Huskies||Memphis Tigers|
|East Carolina Pirates||Navy Midshipmen|
|South Florida Bulls||SMU (Southern Methodist University) Mustangs|
|Temple Owls||Tulane Green Wave|
|UCF (University of Central Florida) Golden Knights||Tulsa Golden Hurricane|
Some Teams to Highlight in the American East
Formed – 1885 | Home Colours – Red and Black | All-time Record – 627-591-50 (.514) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-3
Familiar Players drafted – Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (2013) Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles (2011) Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (2007)
Rivals – Multiple
The Bearcats are coming off the back of two 11-win seasons, finishing ranked in the Nations top-25 and winning their Bowl Game. Cincinnati has had seven winning seasons over the last 10 years and only failed to reach a bowl game in five times since 2000. A fun team to watch with some good players on show if you like a smaller market team.
UCF Golden Knights
Formed – 1979 | Home Colours – Black and Gold | All-time Record – 265-213-1 (.554) | National Titles – 1 Claimed |2019 Record – 10-3
Familiar Players drafted – Shaquill Griffin, Seattle Seahawks (2017) Shaquem Griffin, Seattle Seahawks (2018) Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos (2006) Asante Samuel, New England Patriots (2003)
Rivals – South Florida
Honestly, UCF currently has the most annoying fanbase in college football. Their claimed National title is from 2017 when they weren’t even in the playoffs. They are an incredibly young programme but have put together some strong seasons including six years of 10 wins or more since 2010. Their only real down season in the last decade was 2015 when they went 0-12.
Formed – 1879 | Home Colours – Navy Blue and Gold | All-time Record – 722-571-57 (.556) | National Titles – 1 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-2
Familiar Players drafted – Keenan Reynolds, Baltimore Ravens (2016)
Rivals – Army, Air Force, Notre Dame
The first of the military Schools. For those who prefer to serve at sea, the Navy midshipmen are the team for you. Did someone say Triple Option offence? Navy is always near the top in time of possession due to their insistence on running a triple-option offence. The Army v Navy Game is a massive spectacle every year and it’s worth tuning in for, even if the teams combine for around five passes each time they meet.
|C-USA East||C-USA West|
|Charlotte 49ers||Louisiana Tech Bulldogs|
|Florida Atlantic Owls||North Texas Mean Green|
|FIU (Florida International University) Panthers||Rice Owls|
|Marshall Thundering Herd||Southern Miss Golden Eagles|
|Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders||UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Blazers|
|Old Dominion Monarchs||UTEP (University of Texas El Paso) Miners|
|Western Kentucky Hilltoppers||UTSA (University of Texas San Antonio) Roadrunners|
Marshall Thundering Herd
Formed – 1895 | Home Colours – Kelly Green and White | All-time Record – 575-534-48 (.518) | National Titles – 1 FCS Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-3
Familiar Players drafted – Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings (1998) Chad Pennington, New York Jets (2000) Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (2007) Vinny Curry, Philadelphia Eagles (2012)
Rivals – Multiple
One of the few teams of note in Conference USA. The Thundering Herd not only boast a pretty unique name but have brought us a couple of significant figures in the NFL World. None more significant of course than the one and only Randy Moss.
|Army Black Knights|
|BYU (Brigham Young University) Cougars|
|New Mexico State Aggies|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|UMASS (University of Massachusetts) Minutemen|
Army Black Knights
Formed – 1890 | Home Colours – Black, Gold and Grey | All-time Record – 696-526-51 (.547) | National Titles – 3 Claimed | 2019 Record – 5-8
Rivals – Navy, Air Force
The next instalment of military schools, the Army Black Knights. Much like Navy, the Black Knights also run a triple-option offence. However, it’s fair to say they don’t run it as successfully as Navy does. However, they went to, and won, three straight bowl games in 2016, 2017 and 2018. More importantly, however, in that three-year spell, they ended a 14-year losing streak to their fierce Navy Rivals and even produced a three-game win streak of their own.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Formed – 1887 | Home Colours – Blue and Gold | All-time Record – 908-327-42 (.727) | National Titles – 11 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-2
Familiar Players drafted – Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (1979) Jerome Bettis Los Angeles Rams (1993) Tim Brown, Los Angeles Raiders (1988) Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts (2018) Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys (2014)
Rivals – Multiple
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are another one of the most famous teams in all of college football. Despite the fact they are widely associated with the ACC, they are an Independent. The Fighting Irish sit 4th on the All-Time winning percentage ranks, have claimed 11 National titles and have given us some huge NFL names. In the last 10 years they have only missed out on one bowl game and that season was the only time they dipped below eight wins. Certainly, a team to consider, if you can stomach their team colours.
|MAC East||MAC West|
|Akron Zips||Ball State Cardinals|
|Bowling Green Falcons||Central Michigan Chippewas|
|Buffalo Bulls||Eastern Michigan Eagles|
|Kent State Golden Flashes||Northern Illinois Huskies|
|Miami Ohio RedHawks||Toledo Rockets|
|Ohio Bobcats||Western Michigan Broncos|
Western Michigan Broncos
Formed – 1906 | Home Colours – Brown & Gold | All-time Record – 576-459-24 (.555) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 7-6
Familiar Players drafted – Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (2017) Terry Crews (yes that Terry Crews) Los Angeles Rams (1991) Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers (2006)
Rivals – Central Michigan
There isn’t too much to shout about in the Mid-American, however, the Western Michigan Broncos became prominent in 2016. They were under now Minnesota Coach PJ Fleck and they rowed the boat all the way to a 13-1 Record and a new year six bowl game where they, unfortunately, fell just short in a loss to Wisconsin. Although they have not reached those heights since, they haven’t had a losing season since 2013.
|MW Mountain||MW West|
|Air Force Falcons||Fresno State Bulldogs|
|Boise State Broncos||Hawaii Rainbow Warriors|
|Colorado State Rams||Nevada Wolf Pack|
|New Mexico Lobos||San Diego State Aztecs|
|Utah State Aggies||San Jose State Spartans|
|Wyoming Cowboys||UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas)|
Air Force Falcons
Formed – 1955 | Home Colours – Blue & Silver | All-time Record – 401-329-13 (.548) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 11-2
Rivals – Army & Navy
The final instalment of the military schools and you would assume these guys run the Air Raid offence. You’d also be wrong, because I guess unsurprisingly, Air force runs the triple-option offence. Although the rivalry between the Air Force and the other two military schools does not draw as much attention, they are still strong rivalry games. Traditionally, both Army and Air Force struggle well behind Navy, however, in 2019, the Falcons went 11-2 Including a win against Washington State in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Boise State Broncos
Formed – 1933 | Home Colours – Blue & Orange | All-time Record – 461-169-2 (.731) | National Titles – 2 Claimed (1958 JC, 1980 d-1 AA) | 2019 Record – 12-2
Familiar Players drafted – Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (2015) Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (2014) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012)
Rivals – Multiple
Boise State, the team with the highest winning percentage of teams currently in D1 FBS. It is worth noting not all these wins were at the FBS level, however. The Broncos aren’t as old as a lot of teams and have spent even less time in college footballs top tier. Despite this, they are still a pretty well-known team. They have slick uniforms and they play their home games on a blue field nicknamed “smurf turf” don’t believe me? Go check it out. Probably the most famous moment in Boise State history, however, is the 2006 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. Where they ran a “Hook and Ladder” on 4th and 18 that tied the game, then ran an “HB pass” for a TD and a Statue of Liberty in overtime to win. Trust me you want to go check it out.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Formed – 1909 | Home Colours – Black and Green | All-time Record – 565-463-25 (.548) | National Titles – 0 Claimed | 2019 Record – 10-5
Familiar Players drafted – Jason Elam, Denver Broncos (1993) Adrian Klemm, New England Patriots (2000)
Rivals – Multiple
I’m going to be honest here, the only reason I’m including the Rainbow Warriors here is that I know there are at least a few of you who would choose them as your team simply for the name. I couldn’t really blame you as it is certainly unique, but you would only be punishing yourself. Despite a strong 2019 campaign, generally, they are not a good team.
|Group A||Group B|
|Appalachian State Mountaineers||Arkansas State Red Wolves|
|Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||LA-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns|
|Georgia Southern Eagles||Louisiana Monroe Warhawks|
|Georgia State Panthers||Southern Alabama Jaguars|
|Troy Trojans||Texas State Bobcats|
Appalachian State Mountaineers
Formed – 1928 | Home Colours – Black and Gold | All-time Record – 629-339-28 (.646) | National Titles – 3 Claimed (Div. 1 FCS) | 2019 Record – 13-1
Rivals – Georgia Southern & Western Carolina
The last five seasons have seen App State have no fewer than nine wins and as many as 13 in 2019. Since moving to the Sun Belt in 2014, App State failed to make a bowl in only their first season and out of the five Bowls they have been to since 2015, they have managed to win every single one.