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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | September 10, 2021

The likelihood of 7 ranked FCS teams landing a FCS-over-FBS upset

See the game-winning TD drive that sealed Sam Houston's first FCS championship

In Week 1, we saw six FCS-over-FBS upsets, the most since 2013. It was a crazy start to the college football season, but we were able to forecast three of the upsets that happened. 

With plenty of FCS vs. FBS games remaining on the schedule, there are bound to be additional upsets. If 23 more upsets occur this season, it will tie the record for most FCS-over-FBS upsets set in 1980. 

FCS-OVER-FBS UPSET HISTORY: All-time victories, upsets, wins vs. ranked teams 

The chances for an upset are high in Week 2 as seven ranked FCS teams are playing FBS opponents this week. Below, these games are ranked in order of the likelihood of an FCS-over-FBS upset, with No. 7 being the least likely to happen.

The likelihood of 7 ranked FCS teams landing a FCS-over-FBS upset

7. FCS No. 17 Austin Peay at FBS No. 20 Ole Miss | Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET | Live Stats

Austin Peay will have a chance to land the second FCS upset of a ranked FBS team in 2021 when the Governors travel to Oxford to face the Ole Miss Rebels. Austin Peay enters the game fresh off a road win against Chattanooga, ranked No. 18 in the FCS at the time. Meanwhile, the Rebels showed off an explosive offense against Louisville, gaining 569 total yards. However, several penalties in the spectacular Ole Miss performance could provide a window of opportunity for Austin Peay. The Governors will have to take advantage of any mistakes to knock down a ranked FBS opponent.

6. No. 16 Jacksonville State @ Florida State | Saturday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. ET | Live Stats

After losing to FBS opponent UAB to open the season, Jacksonville State will get another chance against Florida State. The Seminoles are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Notre Dame and now have a quarterback competition on their hands. If the instability at quarterback can slow down Florida State's offense, an upset may be in reach. However, Jacksonville State will have to fix offensive issues of their own after being held scoreless in Week 1.

RELATED: The 7-step FCS blueprint to beating a ranked FBS team

5. No. 22 Kennesaw State @ Georgia Tech | Saturday, Sept. 11 at 12 p.m. ET | Live Stats

If Kennesaw State wants to land the rare FCS-over-FBS upset, its rare triple-option offense will have to be the reason why. The triple-option offense creates challenges for any opposing defense with its constant misdirection runs and play-action plays. 

Luckily, the Yellow Jackets are no stranger to the triple option, having run the offense as recently as 2018. If Georgia Tech contains the triple-option offense, it will have nothing to worry about. Yet, one mistake can lead to a big play, which could be the difference in a Kennesaw State upset.

4. No. 8 Southern Illinois at Kansas State | Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. ET | Live Stats

Eighth-ranked Southern Illinois is no stranger to FCS-over-FBS upsets, having landed an upset of UMass in 2019. The Salukis will get a chance to land their next upset against Kansas State this week. 

The Wildcats opened the season with a non-conference contest against Stanford, where they took advantage of rotating quarterbacks to secure the win. Unfortunately, there won't be a quarterback rotation for Kansas State in Week 2 as Southern Illinois QB Nic Baker enters the game after setting the Saluki single-game passing record. 

If Baker puts on a show again, the Salukis have a chance to land the upset.

3. No. 13 Southeastern Louisiana at Louisiana Tech | Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. ET | Live Stats

Reigning Walter Payton Award winner QB Cole Kelley picked up right where he left off, opening the season with 263 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, a 73% completion percentage, 43 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Kelley is a big reason why Southeastern Louisiana has a great chance to pull off the upset over in-state Louisiana Tech.

In Louisiana Tech's Week 1 loss, the Bulldogs allowed 370 passing yards; Kelley superseded that total four times in seven games last spring. Bulldogs RB Marcus Williams Jr. was limited to just 1.6 yards per carry in Week 1; the Lions held opposing running backs to 3.2 yards per carry in Week 1.

Southeastern Louisiana's early-season victory showed promising signs that it has what it takes to get the FCS-over-FBS upset. If the Lions come close to replicating their performance, they can walk away with the win.

RANKINGS: See how Week 1 FCS-over-FBS upsets shook up the rankings

2. No. 9 North Dakota @ Utah State | Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. ET | Live Stats

North Dakota opened 2021 with a 35-14 win after an excellent spring 2021 season where they won a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title. The Fighting Hawks scored 17 points off turnovers after forcing three interceptions. In Week 2, North Dakota will bring a balanced team led by star RB Otis Weah to Utah State with a great opportunity at an upset. 

Utah State will play its home opener after pulling off an upset of their own over Washington State. The Aggies needed a fourth-quarter comeback for the win. If North Dakota can force Utah State to play in another close contest, an upset may be brewing.

1. No. 18 VMI @ Kent State | Saturday, Sept. 11 at 11:30 a.m. ET | Live Stats

The ranked FCS team with the highest likelihood of pulling off an FCS-over-FBS upset is No. 18 VMI. VMI will face a struggling Kent State primed for an upset. 

Kent State hasn't been able to stop the run while VMI has flourished running the ball to open the season. In Kent State's last two games spanning 2020 and 2021, the Golden Flashes allowed a combined 12 rushing touchdowns and 818 rushing yards. In Week 1, the Keydets ran for 173 yards and four touchdowns. 

Whoever wins the running game battle could walk away with a win. However, if VMI's rushing attack fails, the Keydets also have one of the FCS's best wideouts in All-American Jakob Herres.  

VMI can attack Kent State in a multitude of ways, giving them the best chance at an upset in Week 2 of college football.

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