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Picking the FCS Playoff Bracket, 11/19/2014

We're a week away from picking the field, so 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:

Chattanooga (clinched sole possession of SoCon championship)
Fordham (no worse than co-champion of the Patriot League; wins tiebreaker for autobid)
Sacred Heart (NEC, clinched this weekend with win over Bryant)
San Diego (in a strange twist, Jacksonville self-reported violations to the Pioneer Football League office and disqualified themselves, making San Diego the winner after they won this weekend)
Jacksonville State (OVC, undefeated in conference play and cannot be caught)

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)
North Carolina A&T (MEAC)
North Dakota State (Missouri Valley Football)
Sam Houston State (Southland)

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

Illinois State (Missouri Valley Football)
Villanova (CAA)
Montana State (Big Sky)
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley Football)
South Dakota State (Missouri Valley Football)
James Madison (CAA)
Northern Arizona (Big Sky)
Indiana State (Missouri Valley Football)
Southeastern Louisiana (Southland)
Eastern Kentucky (OVC)
Richmond (CAA)
Stephen F. Austin (Southland)
Bryant (NEC)

Bucknell's not in my projected playoff field, but they're a lot closer than they were last week, thanks to some upsets.

Like I said, Bucknell's resume is complicated that they beat a playoff team (Sacred Heart) while losing to an at-large team (Bryant).  It both works in Bucknells favor, and against them, and with other teams in the mix for the playoffs, it's not necessarily a good thing.

Things for the Bison to be rooting for this weekend, aside from a Bucknell victory over Colgate of course, is som combination of Montana State beating Montana (removing the Griz from the at-large pool), Northwestern State to upset their rivals Stephen F. Austin (to remove the Lumberjacks), Coastal Carolina defeating Liberty (eliminating the Flames), Wagner upsetting Bryant (removing the Bulldogs), maybe a Missouri Valley upset or two (without Youngstown upsetting North Dakota State being one of those upsets), and perhaps William and Mary upsetting Richmond.

Last week, a Bucknell at-large bid seemed remote.  Now, the Bison are firmly in the conversation, and with not all that much more help, they may have a chance to qualify for their first-ever FCS playoff appearance (and avenging their 1997 "snub").  Fordham putting a hurt on Army wouldn't hurt, either.

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

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


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