Kennesaw State Fall 2023 Calendar – January 15, 2022 By Matthew Dixon Brian Bohannon College Football One Editing College Sports Boom Kennesaw State Editing
While the dust hasn’t completely settled from the recent redesign changes, that won’t stop us from looking forward to the next round of moves. After all, other conferences need to expand further to increase their membership or maintain postseason NCAA status by automatically qualifying at the end of Division 1.
Kennesaw State Fall 2023 Calendar
We look at the state of the Kennesaw State Booms football program as it weighs the pros and cons and navigates the divisions. We’ll start with a little background, but before we get there we’ll give an important disclaimer: this is pure speculation, not based on inside information. We are writing this article as a career FCS student who has demonstrated success in this field. Now let’s turn to the history of Kennesaw State football.
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Kennesaw State football is the newest addition to the football scene, aiming to play its first football season as an FCS team in 2015 after being officially recognized in February 2013. The Owls joined the Big South Conference in September 2013, the ASUN – home to other sports – did not support football at the time. ASUN will begin sponsoring football in 2022 as Kennesaw State transitions its football program to ASUN.
The football program is off to a better start in 2015 than any other team in the Big South. They went 6-5 overall against Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina and Liberty in their first season despite winning just three games against Division I competition. Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina made the FCS playoffs in 2015, and CSU reached the quarterfinals. .
In 2016, KSU improved to 8-3 overall and Charleston Southern again won the Big South and made the FCS playoffs. Improving Kennesaw State is a precursor to what they need to do.
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In 2017, KSU lost their season opener 28-23 to Samford, then went on a 12-game winning streak before falling in the FCS quarterfinals with a 34-27 loss to Sam Houston. The Owls won the Big South Trophy while finishing 8th in the STATS FCS Top 25 and 9th, and head coach Brian Bohannon was named AFCA Coach of the Year in the coaches’ poll.
2018 was a carbon copy of 2017 for the Owls. They lost their season opener 24-20 to Georgia State, then went on a 12-game winning streak to win the Big South again. This time it was South Dakota State’s 27-17 victory that ended in the FCS final. KSU finished fifth on the STATS Top 25 list and fourth in the 2018 postseason coaches poll.
Kennesaw State had a slump in 2019. They lost two regular season games, including to Monmouth in the Big South. The loss cost them the Big South title, but the Owls were seeded into the FCS playoffs as the senior team. They lost 26-20 in the second round on the road to Weber State and finished 11-3.
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The 2020 season was affected by COVID, resulting in the FCS spring season. The Owls started 4-0 and faced Monmouth in a regular season game, with the winner earning the Big South’s automatic spot in the FCS playoffs. Monmouth silenced the Owls 42-17, and Kennesaw State didn’t get much value. This is the first time the Owls have lost in the FCS playoffs since 2016.
Kennesaw State returned to form in 2021 with one regular season and two playoff appearances. They lost Game 2 to Georgia Tech, 45–17, but ended a 9-game winning streak at 10–1 to capture the Big South title. The Owls had to play in the opening round, driving Davidson to a 48-21 win. Game 2 East Tennessee took a 31-17 lead with 90 seconds left but gave up two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to make it 32-31 in a dramatic rout.
As previously mentioned, Kennesaw State will move its football team to the ASUN for the 2022 season. That would put them in a conference with Austin Peay, Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State and North Alabama. Jacksonville State will only play one season of ASUN football before moving to the FBS and Conference USA.
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The Owls have been a staple in the FCS playoffs, making four appearances and two appearances in the quarterfinals in the last five seasons. They were the top team in the Big South and had not finished as a runner-up in the past five years. The table below shows how Kennesaw State has fared in the Big South and FCS playoffs since its senior season in 2015.
It’s worth taking a moment to discuss what ASUN’s football membership will look like over the next few years. As previously mentioned, the ASUN will have 6 members in 2022, which is the minimum required to receive an automatic FCS playoff bid. Jacksonville State will leave C-USA in 2023. Below is a map showing the ASUN and Jacksonville football programs in yellow.
When the 2023 season begins, the ASUN will need to trade Jacksonville State to retain at least 6 players to maintain AQ status. The ASUN seems to have been foreshadowed to get another football member, but the conference took a hit with Liberty’s departure, and the most attractive thing about the conference was Liberty athletics. Competition at the FCS level among the ASUN, MEAC, OVC and Southland for additional soccer members will intensify, and this point should be noted if existing members of the ASUN begin to worry about the stability of soccer membership.
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The No. 1 reason to think a move to the FBS is finally on the table is because the university has a proven history of climbing. The Owls first established an NAIA-level athletic division in 1984 and then moved to Division II for the 1995 season. After ten years as a member of D2, the Owls moved back to Division I in 2005. Assuming KSU wants you to continue moving up the ladder with a move to the FBS at some point in the future. However, past decisions do not guarantee that this will happen in the future.
The second reason Kennesaw State made the jump to the FBS is its location. We had an article in 2018 about teams moving from the FCS to the FBS. Another takeaway from that article? The new FBS teams are located in the Southeast, one of the most popular regions for college football in the United States.
Finally, a larger student enrollment will help support the transition to FBS. Kennesaw State is home to approximately 43,000 students, a number that has tripled since 1990. Combine the population push to the southern US with the popularity of football in the region, and on paper there are plenty of reasons to move to the FBS.
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Now that we’ve outlined some of the reasons for the rally, we need to discuss some of the downsides to FBS’s proposed move.
Moving from FCS to FBS is not a sports officers dream. One of the biggest costs when moving to FBS is upgrading the facilities. At Kennesaw State, that wouldn’t be a big deal except for one key element: the athletic field.
The Owls play at the Fifth Third Bank Stadium, which has a maximum capacity of 8,300. FBS teams must have at least 15,000 in attendance over two years (p. 424). Doubling stadium capacity would waste money on any school’s operational potential and not meet needs. KSU may decide to go ahead with expansion to accommodate higher attendance numbers.
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Let’s use recent FCS to FBS examples to give an approximation of costs. After 2016, Coastal Carolina spent $32 million to expand the stadium from 9,200 seats to 18,000. In 2010, the Liberty expanded from a 12,000-seat stadium to 19,000 at a cost of $22 million. Accounting for inflation, Kennesaw’s $30-$35 million bill to double entry capacity for FBS needs shouldn’t be difficult.
One less likely option is to move some or all of the home games to Atlanta to accommodate the 15,000 students in attendance. The problem with this situation is that the city of Atlanta is about 25 miles from campus, which begs the question of how many students they need.