College Sports Journal Sagarin 2021 Spring Division I FCS Playoff Predictions–Mar. 15

Using the Sagarin ratings from this week alone to project the 2021 Spring Division I FCS playoffs, along with the automatic bid for the conferences that receive a bid, the following would be the playoff teams. These teams are seeded 1 through 16 for the 16 teams that make the FCS playoffs for this spring season.

The actual playoff selections will take place after the spring regular season is complete on Sunday, April 18th. The first round playoff games will take place the weekend of of April 25th and the playoffs will end with the final two teams competing in the national championship game on May 16th; in a game played again for the tenth straight season in Frisco, Texas.

As a reminder, the following ten conferences will receive an automatic bid this spring season.

Big Sky Conference
Big South Conference
Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA)
Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC)
Northeast Conference (NEC)
Ohio Valley Conference (OVC)
Patriot League
Pioneer Football League 
Southern Conference
Southland Conference

There are three other FCS leagues but all three will not have an automatic selection this spring. The Ivy League has not historically participated in the playoffs and is also not participating in the 2021 spring football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mid-Eastern (MEAC) teams were planning to give an automatic bid this spring but the league as a whole could not field enough teams to support a conference schedule this spring. Also, the Southwestern (SWAC) Conference will only have its non-title game schools available for the playoffs as that conference’s championship game is slated after the playoffs begin.

After the ten automatic bid qualifiers, six additional at-large teams will be selected for this spring’s playoffs. This is down from the traditional 24-teams to shorten the spring schedule yet still accomplish the ten automatic bid qualifiers.

Top 16 Rankings based on the Sagarin rankings and taking into consideration the top rated team for each of the ten automatic bid conferences are highlighted in yellow below. The six schools not highlighted are the six at-large selection based as the best non-automatic bid qualifiers using the current Sagarin rankings.   See this week’s full Dvision I FCS Sagarin Top 25 rankings with this hyperlink.

Below is a look from a bracket perspective with the assumption that no regionalization of first round games would take place and all match-ups would be paired per seeds:

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