Every week of action in the FCS shapes the playoff picture. While coaches and players will give you the cliche answer of wanting to compete for a conference championship, the long-term goal is always to set yourself up for a playoff seed or a playoff bid.
As more games are played and conference foes eat each other up, the 24-team bracket is going to change. But our FCS staff of Brian McLaughlin and Sam Herder are going to make weekly predictions on what they think the playoff field is going to look like.
The first few weeks will be projections. But as the season progresses and more games are played, this will turn into a "what the playoff field would look like if the season ended today."
The guys break down their seeds, first-round teams, the last three in and the first three left out in the table below.
|8||Mont. St.||Mont. St.|
|PAT||H. Cross||H. Cross|
|Last 3 in||Sac. St.||UNI|
|Last 3 in||SIU||Stony B.|
|Last 3 in||Dela.||EWU|
|1st 3 out||Stony B.||Maine|
|1st 3 out||Maine||SIU|
|1st 3 out||TennTech||The Citadel|
(*) – Non-seed automatic bid teams
- “1-8” – The seeds.
- “NEC, PAT AND PIO” – The automatic berths for the NEC, Patriot and Pioneer conferences.
- “Near-seed 1,2,3” – These are 3 teams right on the verge of being a seed, ranked 1-3.
- “Non-seed” – These are the next batch teams that will play in the 1st round (in alphabetical order).
- “Last 3 in” – The last three teams we think squeak in.
- “1st 3 out – The first three schools left out of the bracket.
Seeds: I will continue to make the case for what I see as a dominant FCS team on both sides of the line — James Madison. The Dukes aren't getting the love they deserve in the national poll. Maybe that will change somewhat this week. I moved both Montana schools into seeding position based on what we saw this weekend. Montana jumped up big time after a dominating win and MSU rallied, but rallied big-time to win by a landslide.
Where's The Movement?: The biggest movement was with the Montana duo, though they'd crucify me if I tried to group them together. But both looked impressive as mentioned above. I did bump up Villanova a notch as the 'Cats became the first Nova team to start 5-0 since the 2009 national title team. Tell you anything? Pay attention, folks. Also, SE Louisiana is another that we should be bumping up. Bumped them up a bit.
Conference Count: (Not including bubble teams): MVFC – 6, Big Sky – 5, CAA – 4, Southland – 3, SoCon – 1 OVC – 1
Seeds – UC Davis and JSU moved out of my seeds and taking those spots are Towson and Montana. I have Montana one spot ahead of Montana State because its playoff resume looks better right now. I came very close to moving Villanova ahead of SDSU because of the playoff resume argument, but I think SDSU will start to stack its resume with MVFC play beginning.
Where's The Movement?: JSU went from a high seed to all the way out of my playoff field. I just don't trust that team right now to say it'll be in the playoffs. The other teams to exit the field are Elon and Maine after ugly losses to CAA foes along with The Citadel. Entering the field are two CAA teams: Delaware and Stony Brook. Both have done well against FCS opponents with a combined record of 7-1, the one loss being Delaware versus NDSU. SEMO also entered the field because I have them winning the OVC auto-bid as of right now. I also added EWU back into the field. We'll see if that performance against UND is the turning point. EWU's schedule suggests it could go on a decent run and make the playoffs.
Conference Count: (Not including bubble teams) CAA – 5, MVFC – 5, Big Sky – 5, Southland – 3, SoCon – 1 OVC – 1
NEXT: Top 15 Favorites To Win The National Title After Week 5
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