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
Lehigh at Elon
College Sports Journal Projects:
Lehigh at Delaware
What am I looking for during the selection show?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!