EDITOR'S NOTE: For a post-Selection Sunday reaction podcast with APSU head coach Will Healy, please scroll to the bottom of the page
There were some disappointed FCS coaches on Sunday, and HERO Sports caught up with two of them — Eastern Washington coach Aaron Best and Austin Peay coach Will Healy — to get their feelings on being left out of the FCS Playoffs after 'scheduling up' this year.
REACTION: To the 2017 FCS Playoff Bracket
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Eastern Washington had the best argument for being in, but wasn't — and Delaware and Austin Peay were right behind the Eags in terms of having a case.
EWU won 7 of its last 9 games and the only losses were to Big Sky co-champs Southern Utah and Weber State. The only other FCS loss was to No. 2 playoff seed North Dakota State, and the FBS loss was to Texas Tech in week one. It scheduled Fordham thinking the Rams would be a playoff contender with Chase Edmonds leading the way, but this season was a struggle. The truth is, the Eags scheduled up and it did them no good.
EWU's three FCS losses were to opponents that were 28-5 this year, and all three won conference titles. Best said he wouldn't change a thing, that they want to be tested.
"We thought our resume was sturdy enough," Best told HERO Sports on Sunday, about an hour after the FCS Selection Show wrapped. "It's my firm belief that we're one of the top 24 teams in the land in the FCS … I don't think any of those teams (on the bracket) would like to see us pop up. I'm emotional for these kids, especially those seniors."
For Austin Peay, head coach Will Healy (listen to Healy's podcast below this story) felt like his team's 8-1 record against the FCS and the resume of three FBS opponents would be enough to put a playoff-berth cherry on the top of what is clearly the best story in the FCS this year. The Governors broke a 29-game losing streak earlier this year, then plowed their way to a second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference.
"Our kids won 8 out of 9 FCS football games … they won 6 of their last 8," Healy told HERO Sports after getting the disappointing news. "Their loss is to a seeded team in Jacksonville State that is really, really, really good. And we got beat by three other FBS teams. We tried to get out of the Miami (Ohio) game but we couldn't do it. So we played the best that we could with the schedule we were dealt. We had an unbelievable year. There is not another team in college football that deserves more than us to continue to play. But at the end of the day we left it up to a committee to decide because we didn't win the conference (for the automatic bid). So that's a lesson that we've got to learn."
AUSTIN PEAY: Moves on after disappointment
Head coach Danny Rocco at Delaware was less than pleased, also. He's in his first year coaching the Blue Hens (7-4) and winning a lot of games at Richmond, and already has the usual FCS powerhouse on the verge of being back in the playoff after years of being outside.
"This is an injustice," Rocco told The News Journal out of Wilmington, Del. "I cannot find any logical, sensible reason that New Hampshire trumps Delaware. There isn't one statistical, data-driven reason … This one here is very difficult to understand. It's baffling."
A Post Selection Sunday conversation with Austin Peay head coach Will Healy: