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 half of the season 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.
|7||Mont. St.||Mont. St.|
|PAT||H. Cross||H. Cross|
|Near-seed-3||Nicholls||Kenn. St. (*)|
|Non-seed||Ill. St.||Sac. St.|
|Non-seed||Kenn. St. (*)||SEMO (*)|
|Non-seed||Sac. St.||Stony B.|
|Last 3 in||UNH||UND|
|Last 3 in||UND||Ill. St.|
|Last 3 in||SHSU||SHSU|
|1st 3 out||Wofford||Maine|
|1st 3 out||Maine||UNH|
|1st 3 out||Austin Peay||Wofford|
(*) – 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: My seeding situation changed drastically this weekend. Based on what I've seen so far? I think NDSU has slid into the No. 1 seeding spot and for the time being, belongs there. Can that change? Of course. In this situation I don't think the Dukes of JMU have done anything wrong, I just think the Bison have done something right with a big win on the road. Also, Montana makes a big jump to No. 4, but there are several potential roadblocks for the Griz. How they handle that is a determinant to whether they get this many home games up in the Rockies.
Where's The Movement?: Outside of the seeding situation I'd say UNI moving up to a fringe seed and Nicholls earning the right to be right on the fringe too. Both programs deserve respect thus far. As far as the scrum beneath the Top 10? Goodness gracious that is a crazy caldron of FCS movement to dissect. We won't even try to tell you how crazy it is because it would take the next week. Let's face it … we are in middle October and this has been the precedent. The truth is? The door is open for a lot of teams to reverse course and enter the playoff picture.
Conference Count: (Not including bubble teams or 1-bid leagues): CAA – 5, MVFC – 5, Big Sky – 4, Southland – 3, SoCon – 1, OVC – 1
Seeds – Central Arkansas moved out of my seeds after a big blowout loss to Nicholls, allowing Montana and Montana State to move up one spot. The Griz still have the edge on their rival with a better overall resume. My top five seeds remained the same. Sliding into the No. 8 seed is Furman, who is 4-0 against FCS opponents and had a big win on an improving Samford team.
Where's The Movement?: Three teams left my playoff field from last week: Southeastern Louisiana, UC Davis and Eastern Washington. McNeese defeated SE Louisiana on Saturday, but I slid Sam Houston State into the field with SHSU's 28-17 win over McNeese the week prior. North Dakota is in after defeating UC Davis and Sacramento State is also in after beating EWU. Both have good-enough resumes right now. Nicholls moved up from a non-seed to a near-seed with the win against UCA. I booted Southern Illinois and The Citadel off of my bubble after losses. Taking their spots are New Hampshire and Wofford, two teams who are starting to get hot but just need to keep improving their resumes.
Conference Count: (Not including bubble teams or 1-bid leagues) CAA – 5, MVFC – 5, Big Sky – 4, Southland – 3, SoCon – 1, OVC – 1
NEXT: Top 15 Favorites To Win The National Title After Week 6
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