Each week, GridIrion Heroics FCS writer Brian McLaughlin gives his FCS football postseason outlook heading into the next week’s action. BMac breaks down his projection on the eight-team seeding, who is just outside the seeding, who will get the at-large bids, and who will nab an automatic bid after winning its conferences.
And last but not least? Which teams just missed this week’s 24-team postseason outlook but could be in it soon?
By each Tuesday, this will publish, and it will be updated each week through FCS Selection Sunday on Nov. 20. The final FCS football postseason stab will come just after action wraps on Nov. 19 (late Saturday/early Sunday). The FCS playoffs and postseason will begin on Nov. 26.
The weekly FCS football postseason predictions will always be pinned at the top of my Twitter acct (@BrianMacWriter) by Tuesdays.
This week’s postseason explanation is below. Enjoy!
WEEK EIGHT FCS REACTION: How did this weekend affect the playoff picture?
FCS OVER FBS DATABASE: Looking back 20 years — How Often Does it Happen?
FCS PODCAST – BMAC AND THE NACH – ON APPLE PODCASTS
FCS FOOTBALL POSTSEASON EXPLANATION
We really didn’t have that many big surprises this past weekend (Oct. 22th weekend). Sacramento State beating Montana at home was a game where either program could have come away with a win (thus the overtime ending). Montana State knocking off Weber State in a barnburner in Bozeman by five points also was a coin toss. Those games will play a big part in the seeding selection in a couple of weeks.
As for the rest of the seeds? Today, we have four Big Sky teams in the seeding report. That won’t last, and Montana was bumped out after two consecutive losses. I do think three Big Sky teams will be seeds no matter what happens in the next few weeks. SDSU, NDSU, and Incarnate Word likely will not slip up again and would be seeding locks if that holds up, and I mention Holy Cross lower in this column.
Southern Illinois’ loss at South Dakota by three was probably the biggest surprise and is teetering on knocking the Salukis out of the playoff picture, depending on what happens around the country. SIU’s big poker chip though, remember, is knocking off the Big 10’s Northwestern — the only P5 win for an FCS team this year.
WEEK EIGHT FCS REACTION: How did this weekend affect the playoff picture?
SIU (5-3) wraps with Northern Iowa at home (very winnable), NDSU at home (well, you know the likely result here — though SIU has surprised in the past), and a tough trip to Youngstown in the finale. SIU really needs two wins here out of three to guarantee a 7-4 record and a playoff spot. A 6-5 mark puts SIU dangerously close, though the P5 win could be what it takes to nab that rare berth at 6-5.
The SoCon is finally beginning to sort itself out, and so far, it appears Chattanooga is the team to beat after its 20-point home win over Mercer. Samford continues to rise though but has to go to Chattanooga next week and plays host to Mercer in the finale. Furman is still lingering, but has the toughest SoCon schedule remaining — but the Paladins do control their own destiny.
The CAA has seen Elon slip a lot in the past two weeks, falling to New Hampshire and Rhode Island. UNH still holds the CAA’s top record, though the Elon win this past week is the only league game so far where the Wildcats have played a top-half CAA team. League schedule rotation in 2022 has been very kind to UNH (no William & Mary, no Delaware). UNH’s 18-point loss to the MEAC’s North Carolina Central will hurt it come playoff time.
Fordham visits Holy Cross this weekend, and a win in the Boston area likely means both these teams make the FCS playoffs out of the Patriot League if they both win out after this weekend. If Holy Cross knocks Fordham around, the Rams will be biting their fingernails on FCS Selection Sunday, even at 9-2.
Questions? Debate? Hit BMac up on Twitter (@BrianMacWriter) and let’s discuss.
REMEMBER: The FCS selection committee will ignore all FBS losses and all lower-division wins in its playoff consideration. So on the chart below, you’ll see the overall team record and the FCS record. Most of these teams have played FBS opponents this year — and seven have won against FBS teams (which is indicated). BEATING an FBS team is a big poker chip come playoff time, and could be the ultimate tiebreaker when it’s not obvious any other way.
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FCS NUTS AND BOLTS: All of the key facts for the 2022 FCS season
THE HBCU AND IVY LEAGUE PICTURES
MEAC CHAMPION: North Carolina Central (though S.C. State may supplant soon)
SWAC TITLE GAME (Dec. 3, site TBD): Jackson State (East) vs. Southern U. (West)
IVY LEAGUE CHAMPION: Princeton
CELEBRATION BOWL (Dec. 17, Atlanta): Jackson State (SWAC) vs. North Carolina Central (MEAC)
FCS FOOTBALL POSTSEASON PREDICTION – AFTER 7 WEEKS
THE VOTE: (note that FCS REC (record vs. FCS) is what the playoff committee will look at — unless the FCS school has an FBS win or a lower-division loss).
|SEED||AS OF OCT. 22||CONF.||REC||FCS||STREAK||LOSSES|
|1||SDSU||MVFC||7-1||7-0||W7||P5 Iowa by 4 (AWAY)|
|2||Sac. State||BIG SKY||7-0||6-0+||W6||NONE|
|3||Montana State||BIG SKY||7-1||7-0||W5||P5 Oregon State by 40|
|4||NDSU||MVFC||5-2||5-1||L1||P5 Arizona by 3, SDSU|
|5||Weber State||BIG SKY||6-1||4-1+||L1||at Montana State by 5|
|6||Idaho||BIG SKY||5-2||5-0||W5||P5 Indiana by 13, Wazzu by 8|
|7||Incarnate Word||SOUTHLAND||7-1||6-1+||W4||SE Louisiana by 6|
|9||Montana||BIG SKY||5-2||5-2||L2||Idaho, Sac. State|
|10||Chattanooga||SOCON||6-1||6-0||W3||P5 Illinois by 31|
|11||William & Mary||CAA||6-1||5-1+||W4||Elon by 3 (home)|
|ASN-WAC||Austin Peay||ASUN-WAC||5-2||5-1||W1||FBS West. Ky by 11|
|BIG STH||Campbell||BIG SOUTH||4-3||4-2||L1||FBS ECU, rk W&M, Jackson St|
|NEC||St. Francis (Pa.)||NEC||5-2||5-1||W5||FBS Akron by 7, Richmond|
|OVC||SEMO||OVC||6-1||6-0||W6||P5 Iowa St by 32|
|PIONEER||Davidson||PIONEER||6-2||4-1||W2||FBS Jville St. by 17|
|AT-LGE||Delaware||CAA||6-1||5-1+||W1||William & Mary by 6 (road)|
|AT-LGE||Southern Illinois||MVFC||5-3||4-3&||L1||UIW, SEMO, SoDak|
|AT-LGE||Samford||SOCON||6-1||6-0||W5||P5 Georgia by 33|
|AT-LGE||Mercer||SOCON||6-2||6-1||L1||P5 Auburn, ‘Nooga by 20|
|AT-LGE||Rhode Island||CAA||5-2||5-1||W3||P5 Pitt, Delaware|
|LAST THREE IN|
|LAST 3 IN||New Hampshire||CAA||6-2||6-1||W3||FBS West Mich, NC Central|
|LAST 3 IN||Furman||SOCON||6-2||5-1||W3||P5 Clemson by 23, Samford|
|LAST 3 IN||Illinois State||MVFC||5-2||5-1||W3||P5 Wisconsin, SIU by 5|
|OUTSIDE||Elon||CAA||5-3||5-2||L2||P5 Vandy by 11, Rhody, UNH|
|OUTSIDE||Fordham||PATRIOT||6-1||6-0||W3||FBS Ohio U. by 7|
|OUTSIDE||SE Louisiana||SOUTHLAND||4-3||3-1||W1||FBS FAU, LaLaf, TAMU Comm|
|OUTSIDE||Stephen F. Austin||ASUN-WAC||5-3||4-0||W3||3 FBS – JvilleSt, LaTech, SHSU|
|OUTSIDE||Richmond||CAA||5-2||5-1||W2||LOST P5 Virginia by 17, Elon|
A (+) indicates the team has beaten a Group of Five Conference FBS team (EX: Weber State’s big win over Utah State), and a (&) indicates the team has beaten a Power Five Conference FBS team (EX: Southern Illinois’ win over the Big Ten’s Northwestern). FBS wins are key “poker chips” come postseason selection time.
Certain programs are ineligible for the FCS football postseason yet are playing in one of the playoff-bound conferences (EXAMPLES: Pioneer League and NEC leaders St. Thomas (MN) and Merrimack respectively, as well as FBS transitional teams like Sam Houston and Jacksonville State). Also, the ASUN-WAC combination will award one automatic bid on behalf of two conferences that are still in the forming stages.
NOTE: Brian McLaughlin has been a voter on the STATS/PERFORM FCS football poll since 2016, and has written FCS postseason predictions since the same year. He also votes on the FCS postseason awards — the Walter Payton Award (top offensive player), the Buck Buchanan Award (top defensive player), the Jerry Rice Award (the top freshman in FCS football), and the Eddie Robinson Award (top coach that year).
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