If there wasn’t a conference change — or two or three or… — it wouldn’t be a college football season.

Conference realignment remains a living, breathing animal.

Five more changes will swirl across the FCS in 2019. Here’s a quick look at the schools involved:

Hampton Pirates
2018 Affiliation: FCS Independent

2019 Affiliation: Big South Conference

The HBCU program spent last season as an independent following a messy divorce from the MEAC. The Pirates, who went 7-3, are eligible for the conference title and an FCS playoff bid this year. They played five sub-Division I teams last season and have three more on this year’s non-conference schedule.

North Alabama Lions
2018 Affiliation: FCS independent

2019 Affiliation: Big South Conference

In its second season since moving up from Division II, UNA hopes to build off a 7-3 FCS debut, which included a win at 2017 Big Sky co-champ Southern Utah. The Lions will play a full Big South schedule but aren’t eligible for the title. A difficult non-conference schedule includes Western Illinois, Montana, and Jacksonville State.

Long Island University
2018 Affiliation: Division II

2019 Affiliation: Northeast Conference

Following an athletics merger of LIU’s Brooklyn and Post campuses beginning this fall, the school will move up to the FCS under 22-year head coach Bryan Collins. LIU, unbeaten in the regular season before falling in the Division II playoffs last season, is eligible for the NEC title, although a young squad figures to struggle with the transition.

Merrimack Warriors
2018 Affiliation: Division II

2019 Affiliation: Northeast Conference

The Warriors won four of their final five games to finish 5-5 last season. Eighth-year head coach Dan Curran has an experienced squad for their first FCS season, but it won’t be eligible for the NEC title or the FCS playoffs. Merrimack is attempting to fill a full conference schedule for 2020.

Savannah State Tigers
2018 Affiliation: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

2019 Affiliation: Division II

After nearly two full decades of futility on the FCS level, Savannah State will drop back down to Division II. The move means the MEAC will have nine teams in 2019.

Source: Athlon Sports

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