The Weber State Wildcats have won four straight Big Sky championships while the Dixie State Trailblazers are new to Division I as they become full-fledged members of the WAC in 2022.
Game of the Week: Sam Houston at Northern Arizona
Jacksonville State, Central Arkansas and Eastern Kentucky will enjoy a “challenge” with the WAC before joining the newly formed (for football) Atlantic Sun in 2022.
The king of the new conference until further notice is Sam Houston (10-0, 6-0 in Southland), which became the first Division I football program in the state of Texas to win a national championship since Vince Young’s vaunted Texas squad.
The Gamecocks (10-3, 6-1 in Ohio Valley) flip-flopped quarterback injuries while playing the most games in the FCS over the fall/spring season.
Abilene Christian (1-5) struggled during an abbreviated fall season, dropping a game to D-II Angelo State, and playing three FBS opponents.
Having played last fall, but not in the spring, the Bears return 20 starters, and they also get back some former starters from injuries.
Stephen F. Austin (6-4) had an encouraging fall season. SFA named itself Southland Conference Fall Champions after beating Abilene Christian – the only other SLC team to play in the fall.
Eastern Kentucky (3-6) played a fall season and beat Stephen F. Austin 24-6 in its lone matchup against a future WAC opponent.
Second-year head coach Blane Morgan has a difficult task ahead of him at Lamar (2-4, 2-4 in Southland), but the Cardinals showed some fight in the spring season.