Twenty teams have joined the FBS ranks over the past two decades. Five more are on their way into the uppermost division of college football over the next three years. As the past month of case studies has illustrated, teams that have taken the leap in the modern era have experienced the full spectrum of successes and failures.
The benchmark of success is undoubtedly Boise State, the rags-to-riches juggernaut whose rise to perennial powerhouse status is the ambition of every team that makes the transition. But while every team wishes to emulate the meteoric progression of the Broncos, the truth is that success comes in many flavors for teams moving up.
In this final installment of the series, we will aim to help project the potential future paths of the next quintet of teams that will transition to the I-A level by 2015. Through the statistical data and anecdotal evidence, we can see which teams could be the next Boise or Marshall, and which are more likely to experience growing pains in the mold of Buffalo or Western Kentucky.
While projections of this nature are never a guarantee of performance, we can at least break down the most realistic benchmarks against which Georgia State, Old Dominion, Appalachian State, Charlotte and Georgia Southern can measure themselves as they move up a level in competition.
First we will break down the statistical data, and then review that the I-AA performance of the teams in the seasons leading up to their transitions to see if there is any correlation between I-AA performance and I-A potential.