Dec 022014

Appalachian State and Georgia Southern were the FBS’s new kids on the block this season, but they held their own by posting winning seasons.

Georgia Southern even won the Sun Belt Conference title with a perfect 8-0 record in conference games. They are the first team since Marshall (1997) to win a conference championship in their debut FBS season.

Debut FBS Seasons (Since 1987)

Note: The line between a FBS and FCS team is distorted. Transitional FBS members were sometimes considered part of the FBS or FCS depending on the media source. In my eyes a team was first a member of the FBS when they played the majority of their games vs. FBS opponents and/or the majority of the mainstream media mentioned them as a FBS team.

SeasonSchoolFBS DebutW Pct.Conf.Prev. SeasonW Pct.
1987Akron (OH)4-70.364Ind.4-70.364
1989Louisiana Tech4-60.400Ind.4-70.364
1992Arkansas St.2-90.182Ind.1-100.091
1992Nevada7-50.583Big West12-10.923
1995North Texas2-90.182Ind.7-4-10.625
1996Boise St. (ID)2-100.167Big West7-40.636
1996Central Florida5-60.455Ind.6-50.545
1996Idaho6-50.545Big West6-50.545
1997Marshall (WV)10-30.769MAC15-01.000
1999Buffalo (NY)0-110.000MAC4-70.364
1999Middle Tennessee St.3-80.273Ind.5-50.500
2000South Florida7-40.636Ind.7-40.636
2001Troy (AL)7-40.636Ind.10-20.833
2005Florida Atlantic2-90.182Sun Belt9-30.750
2005Florida International5-60.455Sun Belt3-70.300
2007Western Kentucky7-50.583Ind.6-50.545
2012South Alabama2-110.154Sun Belt6-40.600
2012Texas St.4-80.333WAC6-60.500
2012Texas-San Antonio8-40.667WAC4-60.400
2013Georgia St.0-120.000Sun Belt1-100.091
2013Old Dominion (VA)8-40.667Ind.11-20.846
2014Appalachian St. (NC)7-50.583Sun Belt4-80.333
2014Georgia Southern9-30.750Sun Belt7-40.636


Additional Info

  • Appalachian St. (4-8 to 7-5) is only the second team – 2012 Texas-San Antonio (4-6 to 8-4) the other – since ’87 to go from a losing season to a winning season in their FBS debut.
  • Florida Atlantic holds the record for the worst FBS debut. FAU went from a 9-3 record to a 2-9 mark in 2005.
  • Since 2005, six schools (out of the 11) have made their FBS debuts in the Sun Belt Conference.


Sources: Game scores retrieved from College Football Data Warehouse and College Football at

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