One more week of games remain until the FCS playoff field is announced.
The 24-team bracket has been reduced to 16 teams. The typical format is 10 auto-bids from 10 conferences and 14 at-large bids. This spring, there will be 10 auto-bids and six at-large bids.
Only four teams will be seeded compared to the usual eight.
Fall games are included in playoff resumes. And while teams can play up to eight regular-season spring games in a 13-week period, the amount of games conferences are playing ranges from four to eight. A minimum of four games must be played to qualify as an at-large bid.
In short, there is going to be a huge imbalance when evaluating playoff resumes. Nonetheless, we will give it a shot and provide weekly playoff predictions.
At-Large Bids(Ranked from most likely to least likely to get in) 11. EWU 12. Delaware 13. UND 14. SDSU 15. Richmond 16. Mercer
Bubble Teams Left Out 17. Missouri State 18. Villanova 19. SE Louisiana 20. Austin Peay
Bus trips (400 miles or less) are JMU-VMI, Delaware-Monmouth, JSU-Mercer, and Richmond-Sacred Heart at Villanova’s stadium.
The committee will avoid conference matchups in the first round if the two teams played each other in the regular season. However, if two conference teams did not play each other during the regular season, they may be paired up in the first round.
*Neither Richmond or Sacred Heart are host sites. But they are within a bus trip to play at Villanova’s stadium, which is a host site.
Movement From Last Week Explanations below, but a summary: Monmouth and Sacred Heart enter the field and take the place of Kennesaw State and Duquesne as their respective conference’s AQs. Mercer takes the last at-large bid, knocking East Tennessee State out of the field.
Seeds The seeds stayed the same as last week.
JMU may have been No. 1 on the committee’s Top 10 rankings reveal, but it’ll likely flip if NDSU beats SDSU. That would give the Bison five ranked wins compared to JMU’s one if the Dukes beat Richmond.
SHSU needs to handle business and beat UIW to finish undefeated and secure a seed. And Weber State finishes 5-0. While the Wildcats have had ugly wins lately, I still think they’ll get a seed over a second CAA or MVFC team.
At-Large Bids EWU secures an at-large bid with a 5-1 finish. There are scenarios where each team 12-16 could be left out if they lose. While it’s not likely for some, it also isn’t a guarantee any of those teams get in with a loss this weekend. Compared to EWU having a guaranteed spot, which is why EWU is No. 11, or the first at-large bid in.
Delaware is 4-0 with a massive game at Villanova this weekend. That should be a competitive game and will greatly impact the playoff picture. Nova is in with a win and left out with a loss. Delaware can be in the discussion for a seed with a win, all the way to being left out with a loss along with Richmond beating JMU.
North Dakota is ahead of South Dakota State because it owns the head-to-head, and I think UND will beat YSU and NDSU will beat SDSU, meaning the Fighting Hawks have a better shot at getting in. But the Jacks should still be in the field with a loss.
Richmond is in quite the position. A huge win over No. 1 JMU may give the Spiders a seed with a 4-0 finish. But with a loss, the Spiders will want Delaware to give Nova its second loss so the Spiders don’t get bumped out.
I really don’t know if Mercer will get in or not. I just have a hard time seeing the MVFC getting three at-large bids, so the Bears get the nod over Missouri State. If Mercer beats Samford, it finishes 6-5 overall but 6-2 in the SoCon with five straight wins, three of which came against ranked opponents at the time of the game. It’s a quality resume.
Bubble Teams Missouri State is the first team out. The why is explained in the paragraph above.
Villanova is on the outside looking in right now, but all it has to do is get a home win against Delaware to make the bracket. Easier said than done, though.
Southeastern Louisiana has two losses already, but it could end the season on a three-game winning streak with two straight ranked wins if it beats Southern Illinois on the road. The Lions would then be 5-2.
Austin Peay will be hoping its April 11 postponed game against EIU gets played this weekend. That should be a win, which would make the Govs 5-5 overall and 5-3 against FCS opponents. Not a great resume at first glance, but the Govs would finish on a three-game winning streak that includes wins against two ranked opponents, one being the OVC’s AQ Jacksonville State.
Sam’s coverage of the FCS began in 2012 as the sports editor and eventual editor-in-chief of NDSU’s The Spectrum. After graduating in 2015, he spent three years in the newspaper and magazine industry while starting his work for HERO Sports in the fall of 2016 as a freelancer. In May 2018, he joined the website full time as the Senior FCS Analyst.