An FCS team must play at least four games to be considered for an at-large berth into the 2021 spring playoffs. This does not apply to a conference’s auto-bid. A conference remains eligible for automatic qualification in 2020-21 if it has at least three teams playing against one another during the regular season.
The 4-game minimum was moved by the Division I Football Championship Committee and approved by the Division I Football Oversight Committee.
“With the potential for canceled games this fall and spring because of the pandemic, the Division I Football Championship Committee thought it was important to set the minimum number of games required for at-large consideration,” an NCAA press release stated. “Committee members believe that a minimum of four games should provide both maximum flexibility for teams while also producing adequate win-loss results for the committee to compare them against other deserving teams that played more games. The committee felt that evaluations will be difficult enough with only four games played. Three or fewer games played would make those evaluations exponentially more problematic.”
The spring playoff bracket will be reduced from 24 to 16 teams with 11 auto-bids from 11 conferences and five at-large bids. The MEAC, which usually participates in the Celebration Bowl, will receive an auto-bid in the spring.
Teams can play up to eight regular-season spring games in a 13-week period. Any games played this fall will also be included in playoff resumes.
So far, eight of the 13 FCS conferences have announced their spring plans.
The number of regular-season spring games these conferences plan on playing:
- Big Sky – 6 conference
- CAA – 6 conference, optional 2 non-con
- MEAC – 6 conference
- MVFC – 8 conference
- OVC – 7 conference, optional 1 non-con
- SoCon – 8 conference
- Southland – 6 conference, optional 2 non-con
*The SWAC is not participating in playoffs.