Part of The Analyst’s FCS series called “By the Numbers,” which analyzes data to help tell the story of FCS college football.

The “Road to Frisco” nickname of the FCS playoffs isn’t necessarily accurate.

It’s a little more “Home Sweet Home” – perhaps not surprisingly given the playoff format.

Games through the semifinal round are held at school sites, with the championship matchup contested at a neutral location. The final has been played in Frisco, Texas, since 2010, and in that time only 70 road teams have won the 266 first- through semifinal-round playoff games, or 26.3 percent.

Only five of the 26 teams that have played on the road in the semifinals advanced to Frisco, and none have in the last six playoffs. The 2016 James Madison squad is the only FCS champion that played a semifinal on the road during the Frisco era, beating Youngstown State in the championship game after the Penguins also won their semifinal on the road.

North Dakota State’s FCS dynasty has contributed a lot to the home playoff success. The Bison are 44-4 in the Frisco era: 34-1 at home (the loss to JMU in the 2016 semifinals), 1-2 on the road and 9-1 in neutral-site championship games.

Road Wins in FCS Playoff Games Since 2010


Illinois State – 2012: 38-37 OT at Appalachian State (second round); 2014: 59-46 at Eastern Washington (quarterfinal), 21-18 at New Hampshire (semifinal); 2019: 24-6 at Southeast Missouri (first round), 24-14 at Central Arkansas (second round)

Sam Houston – 2012: 34-16 at Montana State (quarterfinal), 45-42 at Eastern Washington (semifinal); 2014: 37-26 at Jacksonville State (second round), 34-31 at Villanova (quarterfinal); 2015: 34-29 at McNeese (second round)

South Dakota State – 2013: 26-7 at Northern Arizona (first round); 2014: 47-40 at Montana State (first round); 2018: 27-17 at Kennesaw State (quarterfinal); 2021: 24-19 at Sacramento State (second round), 35-21 at Villanova (quarterfinal)


New Hampshire


Georgia Southern


Coastal Carolina, Colgate, Furman, James Madison, Kennesaw State, Lehigh, Maine, Northern Iowa, Richmond, San Diego, Southern Illinois, Towson, Villanova, Western Illinois, Wofford, Youngstown State


Austin Peay, Central Arkansas, Delaware, Duquesne, Gardner-Webb, Indiana State, Jacksonville State, Liberty, Montana State, North Dakota State, South Dakota, Tennessee State, The Citadel, UIW, UT Martin, Weber State

Editor Jesse Abrahams Stats Perform’s Data Insights contributed research.