FCS Football Playoffs: Final Bracket Prediction

Oh boy… this is where the madness begins, and believe me… it doesn’t end. The FCS committee? Right now (about 10pm ET on Saturday, November 19th)? The committee gulps down coffee and data, not necessarily in that order. And you know what? pity about her. Don’t yell at her.

Want to take the world’s biggest ball of yarn and be told you have to untangle it by 12:30pm ET the next day? Yes, unenviable. So have some sympathy – but ask them to make sure they don’t make obvious mistakes. But there are certainly some “quibbles” here.

The biggest question I get asked about the bigger picture this time of year? Does my favorite team, TEAM A, stand a better chance than hated rival TEAM B from the front?

Trouble is, great FCS fan? Is that your favorite team A isn’t just up against this school you hate on the street – your favorite team is up against about 10 teams and you’re asking me to compare yours to just one other you loathe? what you don’t understand is …this California school you’ve never heard of (are you saying you’re in the South or New England?) is a bigger threat than your rival to stealing your playoff spot from you. You need to rewire the brain and start thinking that way – there are more dynamics to consider.

You have to accept that. This is never a two-dimensional argument. Hell, it’s like seven or eight dimensional. But again…at least we have a playoff system, right?

Below is the general debate – as best I can put dates – and the final list is below:

ALSO: Technically these schools are “at large,” but there’s no question that they’re in the bracket: Montana State, NDSU, Weber State, Furman, Incarnate Word, Elon, and Richmond. So put this in your bracket, in pen. The rest of the head scratching is below.

The ‘at large’ “bubble” teams below are ranked in order of where I think they will fall in the bubble picture. UNH avoided many good teams in the CAA (schedule rotation) but finished 7-1 in the CAA. Delaware has the poker chip to beat an FBS (Navy). North Dakota played a hard sked, going 7-3 against FCS with some key wins, and YSU is right behind AND. Fordham is 9-2, knocked out three CAA teams, came within 1 point on the road at the best Holy Cross team (11-0) since the leather helmet days, and knocked out an FBS (Ohio U.) team with under one minute left. And UC Davis? I give the Aggies the nod over two 7-4 Big Sky teams — Idaho and Montana.

Why the nod? because UCD beat Idaho on the road at 18 and Idaho Montana on the road at 7. I didn’t care about the 6-5 record — UCD played a brutal schedule, and the schedule rotation wasn’t kind to this big-sky school. UCD has been 5-1 since Oct. 1, played SDSU “for fun” and lost by 2 at Brookings and came within a minute of beating No. 1 Sacramento State tonight. Do we want the best teams in the playoffs? Or do we want window dressing?

I realize the FCS committee might omit the Aggies because there are still a lot of 7-4s left at the bottom – but my opinion? It would be wrong.

New fine art. 8-3 8-2 W2 4-1 W&M & Delaw Elon (vs) at 18, Rhody (vs) 3
Delaware 7-4 6-3+ L2 2-3 UNH & Maine FBS, Rhody (gone) 21,
North Dakota 7-4 7-3 L1 3-2 IllSt & WIU YSU (away) at 5, Abilene at 3
Youngstown 7-4 7-3 w1 4-1 SDSU & UNI SIU, Illinois St., Dayton
Fordham 9-2 9-1 W3 4-1 none 3 CAAs
U.C. Davis 6-5 6-4 L1 4-1 Montana & UWU Idaho (away) to 18
Rhode Island 7-4 7-3 w1 3-2 Rich & Nova Elon (against) at 7
Idaho 7-4 7-2 w1 3-2 MontSt & Weber Montana (away) at 7
Montana 7-4 7-4 L1 2-3 UCD and NAU none
Chattanooga 7-4 7-3 L2 2-3 none Mercer (vs) to 20
mercer 7-4 7-3 L2 2-3 none GWU until 31
Austin Peay 7-4 6-2 L1 3-2 SFA & Abilene East Ky to 11
north iowa 6-5 6-4 w1 4-1 NDSU and YSU SUI to 1
Florida A&M 9-2 9-1 W9 5-0 none very weak sked (Alab St is top)

Questions? Debate? Hit BMac on Twitter (@BrianMacWriter) and let’s figuratively line up our dukes.

REMEMBER: The FCS selection committee ignores all FBS losses and all minor league wins in its playoff consideration. So in the table below you can see the overall team record and FCS record. Most of these teams have played against FBS opponents this year – and eight have won against FBS teams (as indicated in the table below). Beating an FBS team is a big poker chip in playoff time and could be the ultimate tiebreaker if it’s not otherwise obvious.

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