Chuck’s Final Playoff Predictions

By Chuck Burton

Publisher/Managing Editor

College Sports Journal

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA. — All the regular season games have been played by all the teams that will be selected into the 20 team field – and it wasn’t an easy Week 12 to determine who’s in and who’s out, either.

 

Who have I determined to be the seeds, and the twenty teams for the FCS playoffs?  Before ESPNU televises the selection show tomorrow at 10:00AM EST, look below the flip as to who’s in my sample bracket, and why.

 

Who are the Auto bids

In the FCS, there are 10 conferences that have autobids to the playoffs — in other words, the conference champion has one team that qualifies for the postseason tournament.

 

The winners are:

 

Big Sky Conference: Montana

Big South Conference: Stony Brook

Colonial Athletic Association: Towson

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Norfolk State

Missouri Valley Football Conference: North Dakota State

Northeast Conference: Albany

Ohio Valley Conference: Tennessee Tech

Patriot League: Lehigh

Southland Conference: Sam Houston State

Southern Conference: Georgia Southern

 

For the at-large bids, and who’s on the outside looking in? In my opinion, those teams are:

 

In: Montana State (Big Sky), James Madison (CAA), Maine (CAA), New Hampshire (CAA), Old Dominion (CAA), Illinois State (Missouri Valley), Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), Appalachian State (SoCon), Wofford (SoCon), Central Arkansas (Southland).

 

Next Four: Bethune-Cookman (MEAC), South Carolina State (MEAC), Duquesne (NEC), Georgetown (Patriot)

 

With Youngstown State and Indiana State losing, ultimately it came down to Wofford and James Madison winning their games this Saturday and getting the 7 D-I teams to make the field.  Bethune-Cookman needed just one more upset to make it, and they didn’t seem to get it in my opinion.

Here’s my revamped sample bracket this week:

 

Seeds: No. 1 North Dakota State, No. 2 Montana, No. 3 Georgia Southern, No. 4 Sam Houston State, No. 5 Northern Iowa

 

Why these five teams?

 

Of all the seeds, North Dakota State, despite the loss to Youngstown State last weekend, seems to have the best overall resume when everything is considered.  If there’s a tiebreaker, it’s that 37-24 win over FBS Minnesota this year.

 

Sam Houston State, the only undefeated team in FCS, also has an FBS win to their credit.  Despite not playing in as tough a conference as the Missouri Valley, they seem to slot in perfectly as the No. 2 seed.

 

Montana, who impressively dispatched Montana State 36-10 in the “Brawl of the Wild” this weekend, likely played themselves into a seed with their win.

 

Georgia Southern, despite a loss to Appalachian State, still win one of the toughest conferences in FCS and thus are a deserving No. 4 seed.

 

Finally, Northern Iowa, with a gutty come-from-behind win at Illinois State, seems to be a solid pick for the No. 5 seed, as their only FCS loss came to the No. 1 seed in the playoffs this year.

 

Here’s my final stab at a bracket.

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