What Does FBS Stand For In College Football?

min read
Notre Dame wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. (4) during the second half of an NCAA football game against Florida State on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021 in Tallahassee, Fla.
(AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Dec 28, 2023, 5:30 PM

College sports governed by the NCAA are broken down into three different divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III.

NCAA Division I sports are the most popular among both fans and bettors. When most college sports fans think of things like March Madness or college football national championship odds, they are thinking of Division I athletics.

Inside college football specifically, there is an additional subdivision that creates two different sections of Division I. That’s where the term FBS comes in.

What Does FBS Stand For In College Football?

FBS stands for Football Bowl Subdivision. Division I FBS is the highest level of Division I college football and includes teams like Alabama, Michigan, Boise State, UCLA, Texas, Arkansas State, and more. As of 2023, there are currently 133 teams in Division I FBS.

College Football’s subdivisions used to be referred to as I-A and I-AA, though this changed in the 1990s and 2000s. Because the I-A postseason was increasingly centered around the BCS bowl system, it became known as FBS.

I-AA became formally known as FCS, or Football Championship Subdivision, in 2006. The name is a reference to the fact that I-AA/FCS has historically played a full bracket in its postseason, unlike FBS. 

The FBS move to a 12-team playoff model in 2024 could stir another change in nomenclature, since both levels of Division I have now embraced a true playoff model. For now, though, the subdivisions remain FBS and FCS. 

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.