(Stats Wire) – The fall’s last matchup between two FCS programs on Saturday – Western Carolina at Eastern Kentucky – has been dubbed the Opportunity Bowl.
It will be played in memory of Dr. Sheila Pressley, a Western Carolina graduate who went on to become the dean of the college of health sciences at Eastern Kentucky.
Some other FCS programs also are looking forward to big opportunities, although as big underdogs against FBS competition. Jacksonville State has notched the lone FCS win while the fall teams have gone a combined 1-28 versus the upper half of Division I college football.
The FCS-vs.-FBS schedule on Saturday (all times ET; DraftKings point spreads):
Stephen F. Austin (6-3) at Memphis (4-2), noon (ESPN+)
While upsetting Memphis is unlikely, the 30½-point underdog Lumberjacks will seek to earn a seventh straight win for the first time since their program took nine in a row encompassing the 1994 (two) and 1995 (seven) seasons. Memphis was Memphis State when it won the only previous meeting in 1959. SFA athletic director Ryan Ivey was a punter for the Tigers from 2002-04.
Central Arkansas (5-4) at No. 24 Louisiana (7-1), 2 p.m. (ESPN+)
Among the 10 current Sun Belt members, Louisiana is the only one that is not a former FCS program. Central Arkansas, a 24½-point underdog for the first meeting between the two programs, is playing a third FBS opponent for the first time, and the first two, UAB and Arkansas State, have fallen to the Ragin’ Cajuns during their four-game win streak. UCA wide receivers Tyler Hudson and Lujuan Winningham are sizzling, combining for 87 receptions with 1,367 yards and 19 touchdowns.
North Alabama (0-3) at No. 8 BYU (8-0), 3 p.m. (ESPN3)
The Lions have credible losses to Liberty, Jacksonville State and Southern Miss, but are a 47½-point underdog heading into their first-ever game against a nationally ranked FBS opponent. BYU boasts quarterback Zach Wilson, a potential Top 10 selection for the 2021 NFL Draft. “This will be the best football team that any UNA team has faced in the (72-year) history of the program, hands down,” said UNA coach Chris Willis, whose program’s first Division I game occurred in Utah – a 34-30 win at Southern Utah on Sept. 1, 2018.
Abilene Christian (1-4) at Virginia (3-4), 4 p.m. (ACC Regional/ESPN3)
ACU is a 39½-point underdog as its faces Virginia for the first time to wrap up coach Adam Dorrel’s fourth season. The Wildcats ended October on a Halloween high note, earning their 500th all-time win on Blair Zepeda’s walk-off field goal against Mercer. In November, they’ve lost at home to Division II Angelo State and didn’t play last weekend due to COVID-19 issues surrounding its opponent.