So as of Nov. 4, who is in the FCS Playoffs if the season ended today? Who is on the bubble, by the hair of their chinny chin chins? We take a look at the bubble teams that are on the positive side and give you a feel for what they need to do to stay in this position, or maybe even ascend to hosting a game in the first round.
THE FULL BRACKET PROJECTION – NOV. 4: Projected Bracket, Matchups, Seeds, 1st Round Hosts
FCS PLAYOFF BUBBLE – OUT: The teams that are out, barely
[divider]COMPARE: Any CFB Team | Any CFB Player[divider]
Right now it feels like there are two dozen teams in the mix for about 10 or so not-so-rock-solid spots.
NOTE: We don't consider automatic bids (Big South, NEC, Patriot, Pioneer) in any of the picks below, as we see them as one-bid leagues as of this week. That may change soon for the Big South (Monmouth and Charleston Southern are still in the mix), but as of this weekend? We'll go with the group below. Also, keep an eye on the HBCU programs that have stellar records but don't make the Celebration Bowl. They are eligible for the FCS Playoffs and a 9-win or 10-win runner up could nab a bid too.
AT LARGES – LAST ONES IN …
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: Samford is perplexing as hell. The Bulldogs have knocked off two conference favorites at this point (handing Wofford and Kennesaw State their only losses) but dropped a tough one to Chattanooga. One of their losses is to Georgia — who looks like a pretty strong contender to take the SEC East. If Samford can bounce back the final two weeks against East Tennessee State and at Furman, it will be in the mix for a first-round hosting situation. An 8-3 finish and the Bulldogs are at home, at 7-4 they should still be in good shape to make the playoffs.[divider]
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: The Griz needed a big win this weekend, because they really didn't have a signature win until today. Knocking off Big Sky undefeated Northern Arizona is a signature win. Finishing the season on a three-game win streak will look very good in the eyes of the playoff committee, too. The next two games are two winnable games to finish the season — Northern Colorado and at Montana State. If the Griz are 8-3, they're in for sure. If they are 7-4, they'll have to worry about what other teams are doing.[divider]
NORTHERN IOWA (5-4)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: The Panthers are perplexing, just like their conference. They've beaten two teams we feel will be seeded as of this week — South Dakota State and South Dakota. On the flip side they've lost four games, even though they're good. The good news for UNI is that the next two weeks are winnable games at Missouri State and at home against Valley last place Indiana State. If the Panthers are 7-4, they're solidly in the playoffs. Period.[divider]
NEW HAMPSHIRE (6-3)
THE STRAIGHT DOPE: What hurts New Hampshire's resume is that Holy Cross loss. It wasn't just a loss, it was an implosion to a Patriot League team that is 4-6 this season. It just doesn't fit. But beyond that, the Wildcats have an FBS win (Georgia Southern) and the other two losses are to very strong CAA teams (James Madison and Stony Brook). The Wildcats are still very much in control of whether they play in to the playoffs, but they really need to prove themselves the next two games to finish 8-3.[divider]