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What To Look For On Sunday For the FCS Playoff Pairings

Lehigh are the Patriot League Football Champs, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.

The FCS Playoff Bracket is going to be revealed on ESPNU at 11:00AM on Sunday on a selection show.  The team will be watching the selections live at the Goosey Gander to find out who they will play, and where.

The chance that Lehigh will host a home playoff game appears to be very slim.  Though record is technically not in consideration for whether a team will host a first-round game, other considerations (the lack of lights, no Noon playoff starts) make it difficult if not impossible to host a playoff game at Murray Goodman unless temporary lights are brought in.

Being that's the case, it seems very likely that Lehigh will be playing somewhere on the road in the 1st round.  Below the flip, I will give the bracket predictions of the experts and three things I think you should watch for during the selection show.


STATS. INC Projects:

Lehigh at Central Connecticut State

HERO FCS Sports Projects:

Lehigh at Delaware

College Sports Madness Projects:

Lehigh at Stony Brook

NoBowls.com Projects:

Lehigh at Elon

College Sports Journal Projects:

Lehigh at Delaware

What am I looking for during the selection show?

  1. Will Stony Brook be seeded?  In terms of Lehigh, this could be one of the most critical pieces of information that will be revealed at the beginning.  Stony Brook, located on Long Island, would probably be the strongest regional opponent for Lehigh to play, but they are a possible seed.  If they are a seed, they will not host a 1st round game.
  2. If Lehigh doesn't show up early, look for Central Connecticut State.  If Lehigh isn't revealed early, one indication on where the FCS Playoff Committee may be going with their picks is the location of Central Connecticut State.  The Blue Devils, like Lehigh, are a regional, bus opponent that seem like a likely 1st round opponent for a CAA team.  When Central Connecticut State is revealed in the bracket, and if they're, say, shipped to play Samford in Alabama, that would make it a near-certainty that Lehigh is paired up with a nearby, East Coast team.
  3. Will Monmouth get in?  At 9-2, Monmouth had a shot to definitely make the FCS Playoff field had they beaten Kennesaw State this weekend for the Big South title, but they ended up losing by double digits, putting their status as squarely on the bubble.  Like Delaware and New Hampshire, they could be in or out, and if they show up in the bracket before Lehigh, it could be as a host to Central Connecticut State.  Assuming the FCS Committee may try to avoid a pure rematch, Monmouth's place in the field could either remove CCSU as an option or add another possible road team to a CAA squad.  
  4. Keep an eye on Elon, Delaware, and New Hampshire reveals.  The consensus around the country is that Elon is a near-certainty for an FCS playoff spot, while New Hampshire and Delaware are very much seen as bubble teams (of the expert brackets above, only 3/5 have Delaware in their brackets, and only 1/5 has New Hampshire).  If likely Lehigh opponents Delaware and New Hampshire are revealed and they're not facing the Mountain Hawks, there's a chance Lehigh might be going on a flight.
My final thoughts are these:  

I think, if Delaware is in the field, Lehigh will play at Delaware in the first round, and Stony Brook (if not seeded) would host Central Connecticut State.  

If Delaware is not in the field, but New Hampshire is, I think Lehigh will play at Stony Brook and Central Connecticut State will play at New Hampshire.

If both are in the field (which I think is unlikely), I think Delaware plays Lehigh, New Hampshire will host Central Connecticut State, and Stony Brook would almost certainly be the 8th seed.

If neither are in the field, I think the FCS Committee will do one of two things: have Central Connecticut State host Lehigh and face a seeded Stony Brook in the second round (unlikely), or Stony Brook will host either Lehigh or Central Connecticut in the first round, and put the other team on a flight somewhere - perhaps Elon, Northern Iowa, or maybe even Montana.


No matter what it's going to be interesting.  Tune in at 11:00 AM on ESPNU to find out what happens!

Comments

Unknown said…
I’ve observed this forum for 5 years. It’s sad to think there’s a possibility down the road that I’ll be so unhappy that i look to a forum online to berate a bunch of 18-21 year olds. There’s a select few that stuck with us this year, and i appreciate those that did. For the ones that bashed our defense, called for coach coen’s head and talked about our team like we’re nothing, this championship isn’t for you. Lehigh doesn’t need your support if you give up so easily. If you can’t weather the storm when things are bad, it shows how mentally weak you are. It’s unfortunate that people have used this forum in such a negative light. I bit my tongue over the course of the last 5 years. A lot of you are cowards for your words. We’re champs. This is for everyone that stuck with us. My email is zjd217@lehigh.edu. My Twitter is ZachDuffy72. Reach out to me if you have a problem and we’ll have a conversation about this Football program.
Albert said…
Zach - I have a few thoughts on your comments...

I don't think anyone on here attacks the student athletes. The attacks are on the athletic department and coaching staff for not having focus or being able to put out a team that is competitive in the FCS.

Lehigh football has such little support right now that at least some people on here care enough to comment. The games are empty - students do not go, and young alumni cannot be bothered to be engaged with the program for outside of the Lafayette game. That is a problem for the university and the future of the program.

While the PL title was fun watching yesterday, the team did go 5-6. If the AD and coaching staff are "happy" with this regular season because they rallied for a PL title that is a huge problem.

I think the athletic department needs to take a serious look in the mirror on what the future of this program is. Are they content with competing for PL championships, but not being able to compete outside the league?

Next week is going to say a lot more about this program than the back to back PL titles do. They get to play a top team in one of the top FCS conferences. People on here get upset because Lehigh should be able to compete with these teams, but just has not been able to. The old excuse was scholarships, but Lehigh can't use that anymore.

The future of Lehigh football in my opinion does not look good simply because the coaching staff and athletic department seem content with the state of the program, and that goes beyond just the team that is on the field, its the whole package of what Lehigh football is. As an alumni that cares about Lehigh football, that doesn't cut it for a program with such rich history and previous success.

I say keep the comments coming, but to your point they should not be attacking the athletes, they are out their giving their best for their school and seeing the smiles on their faces yesterday make you remember they are just kids doing what they like to do. I think the AD and coaching staff are fair game for criticism on this or any other outlet.
Steve said…
GO LEHIGH, Beat Stonybrook! I plan to be there as the dedicated fan that I am.
Anonymous said…
Go Lehigh! With our offensive firepower, LU can certainly pull off an upset next week. But to Zach, first- congratulations on another PL Title, a great last few weeks! And please noten that no one has ever bashed any individual, or singled anyone out by name on the Lehigh defense, except for Mr. Floyd who was showboating after getting away with a clear interference penalty in the HC game. LU got away with more than a few calls this year, that is a fact. And another fact remains the Mountain Hawk Defense was ranked 120th in FCS a mere few weeks back. There has been great improvement in coming up with big plays and having a positive turnover ratio in the last few games. And as Albert points out, the players should be thankful for the passionate fans on the Boards, people that fill out the 6K-odd and largely dispassionate humans at a typical 2017 home game (or would attend games if they lived closer and could go). I hope Chuck writes about this during the offseason, its a major issue for those of us who have seen the contrast. Going from 10K per game a few years back down to 6K per game is also troubling.

Beat Stony Brook!
Unknown said…
This was one of the most memorable games in the Series and one of the most memorable seasons for reason of the great turn around! They are part of a fine Lehigh Football tradition. It takes a special person to never give up and To keep coming back in the face of adversity. This is the mark of a true Champion. I remember the 1977 team struggling in the first 4 games of that season. They believed in themselves and never gave up. When we went to the first playoff game against U. Mass. Their local newspapers gave us no respect. They said we did not belong in the playoffs and should not have been given the Lambert Cup. The said our schedule was weak and we didn't play any strong teams. We had lost to Baldwin Wallace and they chided "Who or What is Baldwin Wallace". But The 1977 team believed in themselves and believed that No game is Won before it is played. They went out and beat the U. Mass team and they then went out and beat everyone. They Became national Champions. Don't doubt the Quality and potential of this Champion Lehigh Team..They can And will win!

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