Skip to main content

Where Will Lehigh Play in the Playoffs?

Let's just put it this way: After looking at the mock brackets from around FCS Nation, mocking it out myself, trying to go over as many possible scenarios that I possibly can - I still have no idea.

That doesn't mean, dear Reader, that I won't try, and I won't try to explain to you what I think could happen.  But it's not easy, and you'll see why.

Put simply, I feel like this is the most wide-open playoff field ever, for two reasons.


The first consideration is seeding.  I feel like the No. 8 seed is a wide-open spot.

I think the top six seeds are set in stone in some indeterminate order (North Dakota State, Sam Houston State, The Citadel, James Madison, Jacksonville State, Eastern Washington), and the seventh seed (South Dakota State) was won on Saturday by them by beating Northern Iowa.

Whomever gets in the 8 seed, however, changes the entire travel structure of the playoff bracket.  Some have North Dakota of the Big Sky in there, but I don't think they're as strong a seed as Villanova for that final spot.

Getting a seed is a great competitive advantage for a team.  It gives the team a bye week before their playoff game, and essentially guarantees a home game.  It also changes the entire bracket.  If the 8th seed is, say, North Dakota, that changes possible bus trips into flights in the following rounds.

Q: Does Lehigh have a chance at a seed?  

Arbitrarily, I put the chances of Lehigh being selected as a seed at about 10%, and that's based on the fact that (in my opionon) they would be in competition with North Dakota (co-champion of the Big Sky) and Villanova (8-3 and beat Lehigh head-to-head).

The second consideration is filling out the field.   I think that there are almost a dozen teams fighting for the last six at-large spots.

Depending on the slender criteria that separate the teams, the entire bracket could be shifted.  If they pick Fordham and New Hampshire, that affects the bracket.  If they instead pick Southeastern Louisiana and Samford?  A completely different bracket emerges.

The reason is that whenever possible, the FCS committee tries (within reason) to keep brackets somewhat regionally, especially in the opening rounds.  The committee will try to avoid rematches, and will try to avoid sending (for example) Lehigh across the country on a week's notice to play at Cal Poly.

Q: Does Fordham have a chance to make it?

Arbitrarily, I put the chances of Fordham in the bracket at 50%.  This is based on the mock brackets I've seen and the two I've mocked out myself, one with Fordham in, and one without.  What Fordham has going for it is a couple of good wins and a good track record for making the playoffs, and some offensive superstars.  What works against them is a bad loss to Monmouth (though it was in overtime) and no wins over playoff-bound teams.

Q: If Lehigh is playing the weekend after Thanksgiving instead of being seeded, do they get a home game?

Getting a home game for the FCS playoffs is a complicated process.  All schools have to put in a blind bid for the home game, intended to be used by the NCAA to cover the costs of the game.  The higher the bid, the higher the chance, but it all depends on your opponent.

Suppose Lehigh were hypothetically trying to bid against Delaware.  The Hens, who routinely average more than 16,000 fans in attendance, would almost certainly bid more for a home game than Lehigh, who would be likely to attract somewhere in the 8,000-9,000 range for a home game.  However there are other schools where Lehigh would win that blind bid, for example, Sacred Heart.  So the answer is, it depends.

Q: Who are Lehigh's possible opponents, and what is the chance they host them?

Here's my breakdown:

Richmond: 
Do they make The Field? Highly Likely
% Lehigh Matchup: Slim
% Lehigh Hosts Them: Slim

Albany:
Do they make The Field? Deep Bubble Team
% Lehigh Matchup: Strong
% Lehigh Hosts Them: Strong

New Hampshire:
Do they make The Field? Bubble Team
% Lehigh Matchup: Strong
% Lehigh Hosts Them: 50/50

St. Francis (PA):
Do they make The Field? Definite (Autoqualufuer)
% Lehigh Matchup: 50/50
% Lehigh Hosts Them: Very Strong

Youngstown State:
Do they make The Field? Highly Likely 
% Lehigh Matchup: Medium
% Lehigh Hosts Them: Very Low

Villanova:
Do they make The Field? Very Likely, Possible Seed 
% Lehigh Matchup: Low (rematch)
% Lehigh Hosts Them: 50/50

Fordham:
Do they make The Field? Deep Bubble Team 
% Lehigh Matchup: Low (rematch)
% Lehigh Hosts Them: 50/50

Finally, here's how I think the bracket might shake out.  Home team in Caps.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fifteen Guys Who Might be Lehigh's Next Football Coach (and Five More)

If you've been following my Twitter account, you might have caught some "possibilities" as Lehigh's next head football coach like Lou Holtz, Brett Favre and Bo Pelini.  The chance that any of those three guys actually are offered and accept the Lehigh head coaching position are somewhere between zero and zero.  (The full list of my Twitter "possibilities" are all on this thread on the Lehigh Sports Forum.)

However the actual Lehigh head football coaching search is well underway, with real names and real possibilities.

I've come up with a list of fifteen possible names, some which I've heard whispered as candidates, others which might be good fits at Lehigh for a variety of reasons.

UPDATE: I have found five more names of possible head coaches that I am adding to this list below.

Who are the twenty people?  Here they are, in alphabetical order.

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.

Why the Ivy Le…

Remembering Andy Coen's Time As Head Coach As He Steps Down as Lehigh Football Head Coach To Address Health Issue

I read the announcement that head coach Andy Coen was stepping down as head football coach late Friday evening.

It was an announcement that I was expecting, to some degree. 

Those of use who have been following the program closely knew that something was amiss with Andy. 

And yet, the reason for him needing to step down was devastating.

"Life has thrown me a curveball," Coen said in the press release on Friday, December 7th, 2018. "I am in the early stages [of early onset Alzheimer's disease] and it is best for me to eliminate stress and concentrate on my health and well-being.  My wife, Laura, and my children, Molly, Nolan and Finn have supported me throughout my career and are my biggest fans.  This is a very difficult decision for all of us, but it is what is best at this time."

It was the gutting, pit-in-the-stomach diagnosis nobody wanted to be true.  Just like that, a bigger challenge than simply winning football games faces the man who has been heading …