On Wednesday night, when many children were trick-or-treating, the FCS Playoff Committee released its very first Top 10 ranking that will give us a three-week leadup to the final decision on FCS Selection Sunday on Nov. 18. Consider it a first rough draft of the rough draft, but it may give you a glimpse of what may come later.
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So we decided to break it all down. First, you get the chart. Secondly, you get our take.
THE COMMITTEE'S TAKE
|SEED||WEEK 9||REC||KEY WINS||LOSSES||KEY GAME LEFT|
|1||NDSU||8-0||IllSt., SDSU, Delaware, UNI||None||at Mo. St.|
|2||JMU||6-2||Stony Brook, blowouts||P5 N.C. St. by 11, Elon by 3||Towson|
|3||UC DAVIS||7-1||FBS San Jose St., IdState, SanD||P5 Stanford||at EWU|
|4||WEBER ST.||6-2||EWU, Montana St., USD, UND||P5 Utah, NAU by 4||at Idaho St.|
|5||ELON||5-2||JMU, Furman by 38||FBS South Florida, Delaw. By 12||Towson|
|6||KENNESAW||7-1||Samford||FBS Ga. State||J-ville State|
|7||SDSU||5-2||Illinois St., Montana St., YSU||NDSU by 4, UNI by 15||vs. SoDak|
|8||WOFFORD||6-2||Chattanooga, ETSU, Mercer||FBS Wyoming by 3, Furman by 20||Samford|
|9||EWU||6-2||NAU, Mont. St.||P5 Wazzu, Weber St.||UC Davis|
|10||DELAWARE||6-2||Towson, Elon, Cornell||NDSU by 28, URI by 2||at Stony B.|
BMAC'S TOP 10 THIS WEEK: 1. NDSU; 2. UC Davis; 3. JMU; 4. KSU; 5. Weber State; 6. SDSU; 7. Delaware; 8. Colgate; 9. Eastern Wash.; 10. Wofford
NAILED IT: With North Dakota State being a no brainer, I'm going to go with the committee's respect of what UC Davis is doing this year. Sometimes in the past it has seemed the committee gets stuck in the past and doesn't recognize the here and now — the new blood. Not in this week's poll. They recognized exactly what the Aggies are doing. Kudos.
SWING AND A MISS: There really are no massive mistakes, in my opinion, which is different from what I've felt in past seasons. Elon at No. 5 is a bit too high for me, considering the Phoenix lost to No. 10 Delaware by 12 recently. That might be my biggest beef but obviously Delaware's ugly loss at NDSU and its season-opening loss to Rhode Island hurt the Blue Hens for now. Elon is legit, way tougher than it was last year. Now, Elon does have some injury issues, but these rankings are based on the here and now, not projecting what happens with a team that may struggle some because of injuries. If injury issues hurt them later, so be it, but they've earned respect up to this point.
SPLITTING HAIRS: I had Colgate seeded this week, but the Raiders are nowhere to be found in this poll. Here's the thing: If Colgate goes undefeated in the FCS this year — which means winning the next two weeks — it deserves a seed. Period. And if the Raiders can somehow go up and knock off Army at West Point in the season finale, they'd better be seeded higher than No. 8. For now, I can let it go that Colgate isn't in this Top 10, but if it wins this weekend and next, it needs to be in this list in the final report prior to the Army game. And remember, if Colgate loses to Army, that gets thrown out. It only matters if it wins.
IF THIS STOOD …: It would be set up that NDSU and JMU would be in line to host semifinals, and UC Davis and Weber State would be set up to join the first two in hosting quarterfinal games. The truth is, UC Davis and Weber State being in position to host quarterfinals is more than realistic based on how they've played of late.
WHAT WILL CHANGE IN NOV.: I think injury issues may catch up to Elon and Eastern Washington. Both teams should still make the FCS Playoffs as at-large teams, but I fear they may slip out of the Top 10 realm because they have key players out and the results may follow. I think that opens the door for a team like Colgate, potentially, and maybe a McNeese or Jacksonville State if those two teams are perfect in November and also capture their leagues. But both of those teams have been up-and-down at times in 2018. Keep an eye on them.
SUMMARY: Overall? Kudos to the committee. This isn't a bad start and it seems well thought out and that they are trying to evaluate all the key components here. It's a good start, far better than last year's opening salvo. We'll see if it continues, but I'd give it a B+ so far, whereas last years was more like a D+, but it improved the final two weeks.
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