Playoff Eligibility, Week 11

By Chuck Burton

Publisher/Managing Editor

College Sports Journal

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Everyone wants to know this time of year: Can my team make the FCS playoffs?

 

Rather than let confusion reign, I decided to spell it all out in black and white: which teams are eligible for the postseason, and which are not.

 

In order for a team to be play in the FCS playoffs, there are two possible paths to make it into the 20 team playoff field:

 

* Be in a conference with an autobid (Big Sky, Big South, CAA, MEAC, Missouri Valley, NEC, OVC, Patriot, Southland, SoCon), and win that autobid based on the criteria spelled out by each conference.

 

* Do not win the autobid, but achieve at least 7 wins against Division I opponents in order to qualify as one of ten at large teams to the tournament. The official NCAA playoff handbook says that having less than seven “may” jeopardize a teams chances, leaving a little wiggle room for inclusion with less wins, but practical experience tells us that the NCAA Division I Football Committee isn’t likely to go there.

 

A case in point from last season. Montana had a record string of 17 consecutive playoff bids and the financial clout that comes from annually leading all post-season teams in attendance. But with an overall record of 7-4, a third-place finish in the Big Sky Conference and just six D-I wins, the Grizzlies were left out of the 20-team field.

 

All Division I FCS teams are eligible to potentially qualify as an at-large team, provided they meet the 7 D-I win criteria. The list below puts teams without seven wins in the ineligible category, because the NCAA has never taken an at-large team with less than seven D-I wins to the postseason.

 

The Ivy League specifically prohibits any of its teams to qualify for the postseason due to league rules.

 

Certain SWAC teams also choose not to play in the postseason since it conflicts with traditional Thanksgiving weekend games, and the winners of both SWAC divisions are contractually obligated to play in the SWAC Championship Game instead of the playoffs as well.

 

Already eligible

9-0 North Dakota State

9-0 Sam Houston State (clinched Southland title and autobid)

9-1 Montana State

8-1 Lehigh

8-2 Georgetown

8-2 Old Dominion

8-1 Georgia Southern (7 D-I wins)

8-2 Montana (7 D-I wins)

8-2 Norfolk State (7 D-I wins)

7-2 Duquesne

7-2 Maine

7-2 New Hampshire

7-2 Northern Iowa

7-2 Towson

7-3 Illinois State

 

Can still win conference autobid but cannot qualify for at-large:

7-3 Liberty (Big South)

6-3 Stony Brook (Big South)

5-3 Tennessee Tech (OVC)

5-4 UT-Martin (OVC)

Eligible At-Large Teams with 6 D-I wins:

8-2 Drake (can become at-large eligible with a win over Dayton this weekend)

 

7-2 Alabama A&M (can become at-large eligible, yet finish second in SWAC East with a loss to Jackson State and a win over Prairie View A&M)

 

7-2 Wofford (can win SoCon autobid, and also become at-large eligible with one win in its last two games)

 

7-3 Central Arkansas (will become at-large eligible with a win over Texas State this weekend)

 

6-3 Albany (can win the NEC autobid by winning its last two games, will become at-large eligible with one win in their last two games)

 

6-3 Appalachian State (can win the SoCon autobid if the conference has a tie with multiple two-loss teams, or become at-large eligible win one win in their last two games)

 

6-3 Eastern Kentucky (can win the OVC autobid, or become at-large eligible with one win in their last two games)

 

6-3 Furman (can win the SoCon autobid, or become at-large eligible win one win in their last two games)

 

Eligible At-Large Teams with 5 D-I wins

7-2 San Diego (must win last two games)

 

6-3 Bethune Cookman (can win the MEAC autobid, or must win last two games for at-large eligibility)

 

6-3 Campbell (must win last two games)

 

6-3 Florida A&M (can win the MEAC autobid, or must win last two games for at-large eligibility)

 

6-3 Jacksonville (must win last two games)

 

4-4 Bucknell (must win last two games)

 

5-4 Hampton (must win last two games)

 

5-4 Indiana State (must win last two games)

 

5-4 Jacksonville State (can win OVC autobid, must win last two games)

 

5-4 James Madison (must win last two games)

 

5-4 Monmouth (can win NEC autobid, or must win last two games for at-large eligibility)

 

5-4 Morgan State (can win the MEAC autobid, or must win last two games for at-large eligibility)

 

5-4 Murray State (must win last two games)

 

5-4 Sacred Heart (must win last two games)

 

5-4 South Carolina State (can win the MEAC autobid, or must win last two games for at-large eligibility)

 

5-4 Southern Utah (must win last two games)

 

5-4 Youngstown State (must win last two games)

Ineligible teams

7-1 Harvard (Ivy league chooses not to participate)

 

7-1 Brown (Ivy League chooses not to participate)

 

7-2 Alabama State (SWAC, plays on Thanksgiving Day)

 

7-2 Jackson State (ineligible for the NCAA postseason due to APR penalties)

 

6-4 Texas State (ineligible since they are transitioning to FBS)

 

6-3 Bryant (ineligible, transitioning to D-I status)

 

6-3 North Dakota (ineligible, transitioning to D-I status)

 

6-3 Portland State (4 D-I wins, cannot achieve 7 D-I win threshold)

 

6-3 South Alabama (ineligble, transitioning to D-I status)

 

5-3 Penn (Ivy League chooses not to participate)

 

5-4 Cal Poly (4 D-I wins, cannot achieve 7 D-I win threshold, cannot win an autobid since the Great West football conference is not an autobid conference)

 

5-4 Delaware (4 D-I wins, cannot achieve 7 D-I win threshold)

 

5-4 Samford (4 D-I wins, cannot achieve 7 D-I threshold)

 

5-4 South Dakota (ineligible, transitioning to D-I status)

 

5-4 Northwestern State (4 D-I wins, cannot achieve 7 D-I win threshold)

 

5-4 UMass (ineligible since it is transitioning to FBS)

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