The eight seeded teams in the FCS playoffs enjoyed a week off to get their bodies and minds right with some turkey, stuffing and gravy on the side. Now it's go time as the second round begins and everyone having the ultimate goal of winning the national title.
There are reasons to believe each of the seeds have a chance at the ultimate prize. There are also reasons to believe it's not going to happen.
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So just like we did for the 2017 seeds, this is why teams 1-8 can and can't win the national championship:
Why the Raiders can: Defense and running the ball. Colgate has that with an amazingly ridiculous 5.7 points allowed per game and James Holland rushing for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns with an average of 6.2 yards a carry. The Raiders stuck with a 9-2 FBS Army team in the regular-season finale with the score 21-14 in the fourth quarter until Army scored late to seal it.
Colgate might be from the Patriot League, which is toward the bottom of the FCS conference power rankings. But playoff success isn't foreign to this program. The Raiders appeared in the 2003 national title game and made the quarterfinals in 2015, beating seeded James Madison in the second round to get there.
Why they can't: Weak strength of schedules always seems to come back and bite teams in the playoffs. The Raiders did not play a single FCS team with a winning record this season. They have to beat a hungry JMU team at home this weekend and then head to No. 1 North Dakota State next week just to make the semifinals. That's a tall order.
Why the Black Bears can: Although they won the CAA scheduling lottery, the Black Bears still went 7-1 in the toughest conference in the FCS this year. That's certain to set a team up well for the postseason. Maine has the black-and-blue style of play that bodes well with Jacksonville State coming to play in the cold. Then it'd be a trip to No. 2 Weber State, a physical matchup that can go either way. The Black Bears got a good draw in the fact they are on the weaker side of the bracket.
Why they can't: Quarterback Chris Ferguson has missed parts of the previous two games because of an ongoing injury to his throwing shoulder. He is expected to play, but it's still always a concern to have a beat-up QB. Plus, JSU is playing confident right now and is one of the more dangerous non-seeded teams. While Maine had a good conference record, a lot of those wins were close ones against teams that either didn't make the playoffs or got bounced in the first round.
Why the Aggies can: UC Davis has the offense to outscore anyone in the FCS. When this team is rolling, it's hard to stop. The Aggies have a couple Big Sky foes as seeds on the same side of the bracket, but that familiarity could be spun into a positive. While there is the clear-cut favorite to make it to Frisco on the top half of the field, the bottom half is a bit more open. If UC Davis catches fire, the path is easier on its side.
Why they can't: Playoff experience, or lack thereof, is a real thing in the FCS. The Aggies host the program's first-ever FCS playoff game Saturday and play Northern Iowa, a veteran team who's consistently in the postseason. A win means a return trip to Eastern Washington, where they lost 59-20 just a month ago. The defense overall has some question marks, and we all know a strong defense is needed to make a long playoff run.
Why the Jackrabbits can: The program continues to make jumps every year, from appearing in the quarterfinals for the first time in 2016 and then making the semifinals last year. Recruiting and depth have paid off with the Jacks not taking a step back after losing some elite pass catchers to the NFL.
The defense remains solid, the passing attack is still explosive and the running game is at its best in years. SDSU is likely looking at a quarterfinal trip to Kennesaw State, a team with a questionable pass defense.
Then it's probably a semifinal game at the Fargodome, a place SDSU knows how to win and has won at before. Quarterback Taryn Christion and this program are too good not to play in a national championship game.
Why they can't: That might just be the thing standing in SDSU's way, is NDSU. The Bison have had the Jacks' number in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 playoffs. The 2016 quarterfinal game was supposed to be a good one after SDSU won the regular-season encounter. But the Bison blew the game open and won 36-10.
NDSU is known for cranking it to a new level in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Jackrabbits have suffered blowout losses the last two years to exit the bracket. Can they get over that hump?
Why the Owls can: This team is much better than some doubter think. The entire offense is back from a team that was a score away from reaching the semifinals in its first year eligible for the playoffs. And the team plays fast and physical defense. As has been pointed out for the last several years, running the ball and playing good defense will get you playoff wins.
The Owls have the advantage of playing at home until the semifinals, where it's likely going to be against an NDSU team coming off a physical game. KSU has made the type of strides that suggests its ready to compete for a national title right now with this senior class.
Why they can't: As stated in Colgate's case, weak strength of schedules come back to hurt teams in the playoffs. In the two toughest KSU games, the Owls lost 24-20 to Georgia State, a 2-10 FBS team, and edged Jacksonville State 60-52 in five overtimes, a team that barely made it to the second round of the playoffs. That doesn't necessarily scream national title threat.
In the JSU game, the Owls allowed 417 passing yards. If they get by Wofford, a team who knows how to stop the option, they'll face a much stronger passing attack with SDSU. With a win, then it's probably on to face No. 1 NDSU, who has the speed at all positions to defend the option attack and has not let a one-dimensional offense beat them during this run of titles.
Why the Eagles can: Balance. That's what's been lacking for a program that's lost multiple times in the semifinals since winning the national title in 2010. Well, the Eagles have that now with a strong defense and run game to compliment their explosive passing offense.
EWU has a loaded senior class that wants to go out on top. And as odd as it sounds, the Eagles might be even more difficult to defend with All-American senior quarterback Gage Gubrud out for the season. Sophomore Eric Barriere is a true dual-threat quarterback who might be the fastest guy on the team with a cannon right arm.
Why they can't: You can also look on the flip side of that QB argument. It's hard to confuse a quarterback as a defense when he's a multi-year starter. You can bet if EWU faces a defense like Weber in the semifinals or NDSU in Frisco, they're going to do a lot to try and confuse a quarterback with limited starts.
Does Barriere have the freedom, ability and comfort to change calls, protections, etc. at the line of scrimmage as a senior would? Or is the play call from the sidelines going to be exactly what the Eagles run, which benefits strong defenses? It'll be interesting to see how much that has improved if EWU and Weber meet in the semifinals after the Wildcats won 14-6 in Barriere's second career start.
Why the Wildcats can: The defense and special teams are among the best in the FCS. And with the offense getting better and better, the Wildcats are turning into a complete team. We saw how dangerous they can be last year by almost upsetting No. 1 JMU in the quarterfinals. Weber is rounding into a team that resembles that one.
The Wildcats have home-field advantage all the way to the title game. And the highest seed next to them on their side of the bracket is a team they already beat earlier this year.
Why they can't: The question still remains on if this team can score when it really needs to. The quarterback play has gotten better, but is it enough once the later rounds hit? The Wildcats are going to need to score points to beat SEMO, Maine/JSU and especially EWU, who looks to be on a roll to the semifinals. The Eagles are a much better team than the one Weber beat 14-6 earlier.
Why the Bison can: 24 seniors. 18 juniors. Home-field advantage until Frisco. The most talented and deep NDSU team since 2013, which puts this one in the conversation for best FCS/Division 1-AA team of all time. It'll take a rare bad playoff performance and a spirited effort from the opposition to deny the Bison another national title.
Why they can't: Two teams who have knocked off the Bison in the Fargodome in recent years are on the same side of the bracket. Now, it's not a guarantee JMU and SDSU will visit in the quarterfinals and semifinals. But odds say they will.
While JMU might not be at the level of the 2016 and 2017 teams, the talent is still there to beat NDSU in a one-game scenario. And as for the Jacks, one of these years they'll get over the hump and get past the Bison in the postseason. As stated above, quarterback Taryn Christion and this program are too good not to play in a national championship game.
NEXT: Betting Favorites In The 2nd Round