The 2022 FCS playoff bubble looks to be more packed than last year’s.
Several teams look to hit at least the seven D1 wins mark, which will get you into the at-large pool. Sometimes, six D1 wins have gotten teams into the bracket. That seems more unlikely this year.
Here’s a look at teams who can hit seven or more D1 wins out of multi-bid conferences.
RELATED: FCS Bracketology 8.0
The ASUN and the WAC announced they were combining for one auto-bid after their schedules were already announced. Due to the lack of crossover games, the auto-bid will be selected by each individual league having a conference champ, and whichever of those two has a higher computerized power ranking will be the AQ.
Multiple teams still have a shot to finish with seven or more D1 wins, which will at least get them talked about in the selection process. The ASUN-WAC may turn out to be a one-bid league due to its lack of ranked teams, although getting one at-large bid is a possibility.
EKU is 6-4 overall, featuring a close FBS loss, a close FBS win (Bowling Green), two losses to FBS-transitioning Sam Houston and Jacksonville State, and a ranked win over now-No. 17 SEMO. EKU is currently 2-2 in the ASUN standings. If the ASUN-WAC were to get two bids, the most likely scenario of that happening would be ACU getting the AQ out of the WAC and EKU getting an at-large bid at seven wins (FBS win, ranked win) by beating Kennesaw State.
Last game: vs. Kennesaw State
Austin Peay (7-3, 7-2 vs. the FCS) hit seven wins last week by beating Kennesaw. It does already have two losses in the ASUN, but is still in contention for AQ consideration if UCA (3-1) loses to Jacksonville State. It has beaten EKU in a key head-to-head. Seven D1 wins will at least get Austin Peay into the big at-large pool for consideration.
Last game: at Alabama
If the season ended today, ACU would be the AQ out of the ASUN-WAC, according to the latest computerized ranking. ACU is 3-0 in the WAC and 7-3 overall (7-2 vs. the FCS). The regular-season finale vs. SFA (2-1 in the WAC) will help shake all of this out.
Last game: vs. Stephen F. Austin
Stephen F. Austin is still in consideration as the WAC champion to then stack its power ranking up against the ASUN champ. SFA is 2-1 in the WAC standings and goes to ACU this weekend, who is 3-0 in the WAC. SFA is 5-5 overall, so it won’t get an at-large bid if it doesn’t get the AQ.
Central Arkansas is 5-5 overall but 3-1 in the ASUN standings, behind Jacksonville State (4-0 but ineligible for the playoffs as it transition to the FBS), and ahead of Austin Peay (3-2) and EKU (2-2). UCA, who hosts JSU, won’t get an at-large bid with five losses but is still in play for the auto-bid.
The Big Sky looks like it’s shaping up to be a five-bid league with a shot of six teams getting in.
No. 2 Sacramento State
Sac State is in contention for a top seed. It is currently 10-0 with an FBS win (Colorado State) and three now-ranked wins (No. 13 Montana, No. 21 Idaho, No. 7 Weber).
Last game: vs. No. 24 UC Davis
No. 3 Montana State
Montana State is also in the high-seeds conversation. The Bobcats are 9-1 overall and 9-0 vs. the FCS with two now-ranked wins (No. 7 Weber, No. 24 UC Davis).
Last game: vs. No. 13 Montana
No. 7 Weber State
Weber is another Big Sky team looking to get a seed. Weber is now 8-2 overall with seven D1 wins. The wins are highlighted by beating FBS Utah State, No. 24 UC Davis, and No. 13 Montana. The losses are to No. 3 Montana State and No. 2 Sac State.
Last game: at Northern Arizona
No. 13 Montana
The Grizzlies are 7-3 with losses to No. 21 Idaho, No. 2 Sac State, and No. 7 Weber State. They do not currently own any ranked wins and play at No. 3 Montana State on Saturday. Montana hit the seven-D1-win mark this last week.
Last game: at No. 3 Montana State
No. 21 Idaho
Idaho is 6-4 overall but 6-2 vs. the FCS. The Vandals have one now-ranked win over No. 13 Montana, and its FCS losses are to No. 2 Sac State and No. 24 UC Davis. It can hit seven D1 wins this week.
Last game: at Idaho State
No. 24 UC Davis
Once 1-4, UC Davis has won five straight, including winning at ranked Idaho 44-26 in Week 11. The losses are to FBS Cal, No. 1 SDSU, No. 7 Weber, and No. 3 Montana State. UC Davis can hit seven D1 wins this week by knocking off another ranked opponent on the road.
Last game: at No. 2 Sac State
The Big South will be a one-bid league. NC A&T and Gardner-Webb are 4-0 at the top of the standings. NC A&T goes to Gardner-Webb in the regular-season finale with the AQ on the line.
The CAA looks likely to have 4-5 total bids with an outside shot of getting a sixth team in.
No. 8 William & Mary
W&M is 9-1 overall, featuring an FBS win (Charlotte) and one now-ranked win (No. 20 Delaware). Its loss is to No. 14 Elon. At nine D1 wins and a ranked matchup at Richmond coming, W&M is in the running for a seed.
Last game: at No. 11 Richmond
No. 11 Richmond
Richmond is 8-2 overall and 8-1 vs. the FCS. It owns two now-ranked wins over No. 18 UNH and No. 20 Delaware, and the loss is to No. 14 Elon. The game vs. W&M this week has a seed on the line.
Last game: vs. No. 8 William & Mary
No. 14 Elon
Elon has a bye this week to finish the regular season 8-3 overall and 8-2 vs. the FCS. It has three now-ranked wins (No. 8 W&M, No. 11 Richmond, No. 20 Delaware). The two FCS losses are to Rhody and No. 18 UNH. At eight D1 wins and three ranked victories, Elon’s resume should stand out in the at-large pool.
No. 18 New Hampshire
UNH is 7-3 overall and 7-2 vs. the FCS. It has one now-ranked win over No. 14 Elon and just knocked Rhody out of the rankings. The FCS losses are to NC Central and No. 11 Richmond. UNH eyes its eighth D1 win this week at unranked Maine.
Last game: at Maine
No. 20 Delaware
The Blue Hens are 7-3 overall, featuring an FBS win (Navy). The losses are to No. 8 W&M, No. 14 Elon, and No. 11 Richmond. Delaware’s best FCS win is over Rhody, who fell out of the rankings this week. The Blue Hens look to hit eight D1 wins this week at unranked Villanova.
Last game: at Villanova
Rhody is 6-4 overall and 6-3 vs. the FCS. It has FCS losses to No. 20 Delaware, No. 8 W&M, and No. 18 UNH. And it has one now-ranked win over No. 14 Elon. Rhody can hit seven D1 wins this week vs. UAlbany but may need a Delaware loss and some bubble help to get in.
Last game: vs. UAlbany
The MVFC will have anywhere from 2-4 teams in the bracket.
No. 1 South Dakota State
SDSU has a Week 12 bye and finishes 10-1 overall and 10-0 vs. the FCS with three now-ranked wins (No. 4 NDSU, No. 16 UND, No. 24 UC Davis). With a Top 5 strength of schedule, the Jacks will have home-field advantage.
No. 4 North Dakota State
The Bison are in the conversation for a Top 4 seed if it beats No. 16 UND. They are 8-2 overall and 8-1 vs. the FCS (loss to No. 1 SDSU). NDSU does not own any currently-ranked wins.
Last game: vs. No. 16 North Dakota
No. 16 North Dakota
UND hit seven D1 wins in Week 11 and is 7-3 overall and 7-2 vs. the FCS. The FCS losses are to SIU and No. 1 SDSU. The Fighting Hawks do not own any currently-ranked wins but do have a Top 10 strength of schedule.
Last game: at No. 4 North Dakota State
YSU lost a key game to Missouri State (who is below .500) in Week 11 to stay at six D1 wins. At 6-4 overall and 6-3 vs. the FCS (other FCS losses to No. 4 NDSU and No. 16 UND), YSU needs to beat SIU to keep any playoff hopes alive.
Last game: vs. Southern Illinois
Saint Francis has clinched the AQ out of the one-bid NEC.
The OVC will be a 1-2-bid league. No. 17 SEMO and No. 25 UT Martin do not play each other due to the late addition of Lindenwood, which knocked a conference game off of each team’s schedule. If both finish undefeated in league play, the AQ tiebreaker would be a coin flip.
No. 17 SEMO
SEMO is 8-2 overall and 8-1 vs. the FCS, losing to EKU. It does not own any now-ranked wins. SEMO will have a case for an at-large bid if they and UT Martin win out and UT Martin wins the AQ coin flip as SEMO would have nine D1 wins.
Last game: vs. Murray State
No. 25 UT Martin
UT Martin would not have as strong of an argument for an at-large bid if it lost a tiebreaker coin flip to SEMO. The Skyhawks are currently 6-4 overall and 6-2 vs. the FCS with losses to unranked Missouri State and Kennesaw State.
Last game: vs. Eastern Illinois
The Patriot could earn two bids for the first time since 2015.
No. 5 Holy Cross
Holy Cross has already secured the auto-bid at 10-0 overall with an FBS win (Buffalo) and a win over No. 21 Fordham. It will be in the seeding discussion as long as it beats Georgetown.
Last game: at Georgetown
No. 21 Fordham
Fordham is 8-2 overall with close losses to FBS Ohio and No. 5 Holy Cross. If it beats Colgate, Fordham will have nine D1 wins but no now-ranked wins. Those nine wins may stick out enough compared to the several bubble teams with seven D1 wins.
Last game: vs. Colgate
The Pioneer will be a one-bid conference. St. Thomas is 7-0 in league play, but it is ineligible for the playoffs as it transitions from D3. Dayton is 6-1 and Davidson and Butler are 5-2 in the standings. Davidson beat Butler and hosts Dayton this week, so the winner there will get the AQ.
The SoCon looks like a 3-4-bid conference this season with four teams separating themselves from the rest of the league.
No. 9 Samford
Samford is 9-1 overall and 9-0 vs. the FCS. It has two now-ranked wins against No. 12 Furman and No. 15 Chattanooga. With one more ranked opponent to come vs. No. 19 Mercer, Samford will have an argument for a Top 4 seed if it wins.
Last game: vs. No. 19 Mercer
No. 12 Furman
Furman is 8-2 overall with seven D1 wins and one FCS loss (No. 9 Samford). It owns two now-ranked wins over No. 15 Chattanooga and No. 19 Mercer. Furman looks to hit eight D1 wins by beating Wofford (3-7).
Last game: vs. Wofford
No. 15 Chattanooga
Chattanooga is 7-3 overall and 7-2 vs. the FCS. The FCS losses are to No. 12 Furman and No. 9 Samford. The Mocs have one now-ranked win over No. 19 Mercer. They look to hit eight D1 wins by beating WCU (5-5).
Last game: at Western Carolina
No. 19 Mercer
Mercer is 7-3 overall and 7-2 vs the FCS. Its FCS losses are to No. 15 Chattanooga and No. 12 Furman. At seven D1 wins but no currently-ranked victories, Mercer is in a win-and-in situation this weekend at No. 9 Samford. If the Bears lose, their 7-4 resume will be stacked up against several 7-4 teams.
Last game: at No. 9 Samford
The Southland looks like it will get two total bids.
No. 5 Incarnate Word
UIW is 9-1 overall with eight D1 wins. It owns an FBS win over Nevada and no now-ranked wins. The lone loss is to Southland foe No. 23 Southeastern. UIW will be in the conversation for a seed if it wins at Northwestern State despite its non-counter win and potentially not getting the Southland’s AQ.
Last game: at Northwestern State
No. 23 Southeastern Louisiana University
Southeastern is 7-3 overall and 7-1 vs. the FCS. It has one FCS loss in Southland play against Texas A&M-Commerce, but it has the head-to-head nod in the AQ scenario over No. 5 UIW.
Last game: at Nicholls
Northwestern State is 0-5 in the non-conference but is currently 4-1 in the Southland alongside Southeastern and UIW. The Demons just lost to Southeastern. It won’t get an at-large bid at a current record of 4-6, but the chance of getting the Southland AQ is not dead yet. They would have to beat No. 5 UIW and hope Nicholls beats Southeastern to finish 5-1 in league play while UIW and Southeastern finished 4-2. All of that is a long-shot considering Southeastern beat Northwestern State 23-7, and Nicholls is 3-7.
Last game: vs. No. 5 UIW
The SWAC’s title game between its two Division champs is during the playoffs. The winner of the SWAC title game meets the MEAC champ in the Celebration Bowl. A team in the SWAC that finishes below first place in its Division can be selected for an at-large bid if deemed worthy.
FAMU is 8-2 overall with seven D1 wins. The losses are to Jackson State and FBS UNC. If the Rattlers win this week, they would have the same-looking resume as last year’s team that got an at-large bid: 9-2 record, eight D1 wins, FBS loss, loss to Jackson State.
Last game: vs. Bethune-Cookman