Ohio Valley Football 2020 Non-Conference Schedule Analysis

Ohio Valley Conference
FCS Non-Conference Schedule Analysis
I love the fact that the Ohio Valley tries to get all of their non-conference action done before conference play begins. Conferences with odd numbers of teams makes that difficult sometimes as not everyone is keen on bye weeks in November. The OVC stayed pretty close to this unofficial protocol, except for one school who’s playing multiple FBS teams to end the season. It’s a pretty straight forward scheduling year. Everybody is playing three non-conference games. Usually in an eleven game year, Tennessee State misses out on one conference foe to play an extra non-conference game against one of their fellow HBCU programs. However, this year, they’re going the same route as everyone else.
Austin Peay: vs. Central Arkansas, @ Cincinnati (FBS), vs. East Tennessee State.
  • No fluff in this schedule. Central Arkansas is actually a neutral site game in the FCS Kickoff, which happens in Week 0. Road game to FBS Cincinnati minimizes travel and picks up a good check. East Tennessee State is another AQ conference opponent, at least it’s at home. The Governors should be well tested before conference play begins.
Eastern Illinois: vs. Indiana State, @ Illinois State, @ Kentucky (FBS).
  • As is customary, Indiana State and Illinois State are on the Purple Panthers’ schedule. One at home, other on the road. It’s been this way for quite a while. The FBS Kentucky game will happen after a few conference games, but it shouldn’t be too big of a distraction. Travel to Lexington isn’t out of the conference geography.
Eastern Kentucky: vs. Western Carolina, @ West Virginia (FBS), @ Youngstown State.
  • The OVC doesn’t play a lot of non-AQ teams in non-conference action and EKU is no different here. They do get Western Carolina at home and Youngstown State on the road. The sandwich game at FBS West Virginia is not a long drive. And it’s not a bad thing driving through the beautiful foothills of Kentucky and West Virginia to begin with.
Jacksonville State: @ Florida International (FBS), @ North Alabama, vs. Southeastern Louisiana.
  • The Gamecocks have another good schedule put together. Don’t be misled by the name, Florida is NOT international, they still belong to the United States. Joking aside, it might even be a winnable game. North Alabama is a roadie in their own backyard. Southeastern Louisiana is a return home game for a travel date from last year.
Murray State: @ Georgia State (FBS), vs. Tarleton State, @ Louisville (FBS).
  • Murray State has done it again. Last year they put together a four game, feast or famine schedule. Two FBS road games and a game with a team playing their first year in FCS. I guess the one bonus? The got Georgia off and replaced it with Georgia State.
Southeast Missouri State: vs. Dayton, @ Mississippi (FBS), @ Southern Illinois.
  • Interesting and possibly sneaky tough schedule here. The home game with Dayton may not be as easy as you think. The Flyers are not a pushover Pioneer team. FBS Mississippi will be stout. The road game at Southern Illinois, an annual, natural non-conference rival, may have major playoff implications for both schools.
Tennessee-Martin: vs. Southern Illinois, @ Alabama (FBS), @ Memphis (FBS).
  • UTM gets Southern Illinois again, this time to open the schedule. From there they will play their entire OVC slate before ending the season with two FBS games. The first, Alabama, need there be more said? Memphis is a nice in-state game that would probably be a little easier had it been at the beginning of the season and NOT after playing ’Bama.
Tennessee State: vs. Southern, vs. Jackson State, vs. Clark of Atlanta (lower).
  • Tennessee State will still play three HBCU programs as part of their non-conference schedule, but they’ll play their entire conference members also. This is a good move. The first two, Southern and Jackson State, will both be marquee games at neutral sites. The Clark game will be at home.
Tennessee Tech: @ Samford, @ Minnesota (FBS), vs. North Carolina Central.
  • Tennessee Tech gets a return game to Samford, who they hosted last year, to start 2020. Then a road game to FBS Minnesota. Seems a weird destination for an Ohio Valley team, but playing at Big Ten venues usually brings a larger check, so good for them. North Carolina Central is a nice final opponent to prepare themselves for conference play.
Ohio Valley Numbers
1 vs. Big South
1 vs. MEAC
5 vs. MVFC
1 vs. Pioneer
3 vs. Southern
2 vs. Southland
2 vs. SWAC
1 vs. FCS Independent
10 vs. FBS
1 vs. Lower Division (Div-II, Div-III, NAIA, NCCAA)