Skip to main content

Picking the FCS Playoff Bracket, 11/11/2014 edition

As I finalize the release of my book, I realize that something I really enjoyed doing, picking the FCS playoff field, I hadn't done yet this year.  With two weeks to go, below the flip, check out what I think the bracket will look like.



The following teams have clinched autobids to the playoffs and will definitely be in the 24-team field:

Clinched A Bid:

Fordham (no worse than co-champion of the Patriot League; wins tiebreaker for autobid)
Chattanooga (clinched sole possession of SoCon championship)

The following teams are my predictions as to who gets the autobids that have not been determined definitively yet:

Projected Autobids:

Eastern Washington (Big Sky)
Coastal Carolina (Big South)
New Hampshire (CAA)
South Carolina State (MEAC)
North Dakota State (Missouri Valley Football)
Sacred Heart (NEC)
Jacksonville State (OVC)
Jacksonville (Pioneer Football)
Southeastern Louisiana (Southland)

The following teams are my predictions as to who the at-large teams will be:

Illinois State (Missouri Valley Football)
Villanova (CAA)
Northern Arizona (Big Sky)
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley Football)
South Dakota State (Missouri Valley Football)
James Madison (CAA)
Idaho State (Big Sky)
Indiana State (Missouri Valley Football)
Bethune-Cookman (MEAC)
Sam Houston State (Southland)
Eastern Kentucky (OVC)
Richmond (CAA)
Liberty (Big South)

This could be the strongest at-large field we have ever seen in FCS, which does not bode well for Bucknell's chances should they finish the season at 9-2.

Bucknell's resume is complicated that they beat one of the contenders for the NEC autobid (Sacred Heart) while losing to the other (Bryant).  Either Sacred Heart or Bryant will be the NEC champion, but it's hard to judge how that affects the Bison's chances: whether a "win over a tournament team" weighs more than a "loss to potential another at-large team", or vice-versa.

Bucknell may be up against teams with an FBS win (Liberty, over Appalachian State, and Bethune-Cookman, over FIU) or wins over FCS Top 25 teams (Montana, Montana State, Youngstown State, Northern Iowa).  This works against the Bison, but the magic number to watch for is seven.  Teams that don't have six Division I wins will not be in that pool of possible at-large teams, and the fewer there are, the better Bucknell's chances are.

What works in Bucknell's favor is that multiple SoCon teams either finish with FBS teams (Western Carolina, vs. Florida) or can't get to more than six D-I wins (Wofford, Samford) because they've had to add sub-Division-I wins to their schedule once Appalachian State and Georgia Southern left the SoCon.  The SoCon looks a lot like a one-bid league, which helps schools like Bucknell and Liberty.

The short version is that Bucknell needs to absolutely win their last two games, and hope for some pandemonium in the Missouri Valley, Big Sky, and CAA the next few weeks.  Bison fans should rooting very hard for Western Illinois, for example, because if they win their last two games, that would open up more slots for sure.

Seeds:
1. UNH, 2, North Dakota State, 3. Eastern Washington, 4. Illinois State, 5. Jacksonville State, 6. Coastal Carolina, 7. Villanova, 8. Fordham

And here's a quick and dirty view of what a potential bracket might look like:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How The Ivy League Is Able To Break the NCAA's Scholarship Limits and Still Consider Themselves FCS

By now you've seen the results.  In 2018, the Ivy League has taken the FCS by storm. Perhaps it was Penn's 30-10 defeat of Lehigh a couple of weeks ago .  Or maybe it was Princeton's 50-9 drubbing of another team that made the FCS Playoffs last year, Monmouth.  Or maybe it was Yale's shockingly dominant 35-14 win over nationally-ranked Maine last weekend. The Ivy League has gone an astounding 12-4 so far in out-of-conference play, many of those wins coming against the Patriot League. But it's not just against the Patriot League where the Ivy League has excelled.  Every Ivy League school has at least one out-of-conference victory, which is remarkable since it is only three games into their football season.  The four losses - Rhode Island over Harvard, Holy Cross over Yale, Delaware over Cornell, and Cal Poly over Brown - were either close losses that could have gone either way or expected blowouts of teams picked to be at the bottom of the Ivy League. W

Made-Up Midseason Grades for Lehigh Football

 We are now officially midway through the 2023 Lehigh football season.  The Mountain Hawks sit at 1-5 overall, and 0-1 in the Patriot League. I thought I'd go ahead and make up some midseason grades, and set some "fan goals" for the second half. The 2023 Mountain Hawks were picked to finish fifth in the seven team Patriot League.  In order to meet or exceed that expectation, they'll probably have to go at least 3-2 the rest of the way in conference play.  Their remaining games are vs. Georgetown, at Bucknell, vs. Holy Cross, at Colgate, and vs. Lafayette in The Rivalry. Can they do it? Culture Changing: B+ .  I was there in the Bronx last week after the tough 38-35 defeat to Fordham, and there wasn't a single player emerging from the locker room that looked like they didn't care.  Every face was glum.  They didn't even seem sad.  More frustrated and angry. That may seem normal, considering the agonizing way the Mountain Hawks lost, but it was a marked chan

Eleven Guys Who Might Be Lafayette's Next Head Football Coach

It was a surprise.  Well, to me, anyway. Most people assumed that Lafayette head coach John Garrett was safe as the Leopards' head coach.  Though his five year record wasn't great, he had beaten bitter Rival Lehigh in two out of the last three Rivalry games, despite a tough 17-10 loss to Lehigh the final week of the year. Listening to the post-game press conference, I also didn't pick up on some of the signs that his job security might be in jeopardy.  Garrett was a bit prickly, but it was understandable - he had just lost a game to Lafayette's Rivals.  "The future is bright for Lafayette football," he said, not letting on that he might not be a part of that future. But by Monday, the announcement was made - after five years leading the Leopard football team, "Lafayette College will not renew the contract of head football coach John Garrett," a short press release stated.  "A national search for his replacement will begin immediately.  Defensive