What Does FBS Stand For?

    College football's divisional delineations can be complicated. What does "FBS" stand for and how does it differ from the FCS?

    College football, and more specifically, its organization and categorization, can be complicated. There are several similar abbreviations that can make even the best fans’ heads spin. So, what does FBS stand for in college football?

    What is the Difference Between FBS and FCS Football?

    Unlike most other collegiate sports that simply delineate themselves along the lines of Divisions I, II, and III and NAIA (among others) football likes to be different, breaking its divisions down into “subdivisions.”

    The highest of these is FBS, which stands for Football Bowl Subdivision. The name generally separates teams that play in postseason bowl games from those that compete in a large, tournament-style format.

    There are currently 134 FBS teams in 2024 after the addition of Kennesaw State from the FCS ranks.

    Unlike basketball or baseball, which have over 300 teams eligible for postseason play at the highest level, these 134 teams represent about half of Division I football. The FCS currently has 129 teams.

    While the FBS has its own College Football Playoff and bowl game structure, the vast majority of FCS teams fight to earn the opportunity to play in a large tournament-style postseason to win an FCS Championship.

    There is one notable exception, however.

    Teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) are considered FCS teams, even though the conference winners play in the Celebration Bowl.

    This “Bowl Game” is commonly referred to as the “HBCU National Championship Game.”

    What is the Difference Between the Power Four and Group of Five?

    The FBS is separated into conferences, the four biggest of which are called the Power Four Conferences. Through last season, this highest group of conferences was called the Power Five, until the Pac-12 dissolved.

    KEEP READING: College Football Realignment 2024

    The five other FBS conferences (Not including independents) are called the Group of Five.

    While there is little actual difference in terms of the rules governing postseason eligibility, the Power Four are generally seen as the chief decision-makers. Recently, there have been calls to create a separate playoff system for the Group of Five to give those teams better access to postseason play.

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