Just like that, we are down to the last week of the regular season. Selection Sunday comes to your airwaves thus Sunday November 24th at 11:30 AM on ESPNU. This past week, six of the ten automatic bids were sewn up. Those bids went to Monmouth (Big South), James Madison (CAA), North Dakota State (MVFC), Central Connecticut State (NEC), San Diego (Pioneer), Wofford (Southern). The Southland will be decided on Thursday night, while the Big Sky, Patriot and Ohio Valley will be decided on Saturday. The top 25 this week will look at each team from the prism of the playoffs.
- North Dakota State Bison (11-0)
The Bison are in and will be the favorites to win the whole thing again. Trey Lance is playing at an All American level. Oh, and he is a freshman. The Bison can finish off another perfect regular season, and tie their own FCS record for consecutive wins with a victory over Southern Illinois this weekend.
- James Madison Dukes (10-1)
The Dukes keep rolling and should slot in as the #2 seed. Its Frisco or Bust for this senior led roster.
- Montana Grizzlies (9-2)
Its Brawl of the Wild week and the Grizzlies will be looking to break a losing streak against their most hated rivals. A win is a seed, and a loss is a first round home game – no one is outbidding the Griz.
- Sacramento State Hornets (8-3)
The Big Sky auto bid is within reach for Sacramento State. A win will get the Hornets, potentially, a top four seed and hosting rights for two games.
- Illinois State Redbirds (8-3)
The Redbirds can grab a back half seed if they can beat Youngstown State on the road this weekend.
- Weber State Wildcats (8-3)
Weber went into Washington-Grizzly and did what many before have done, they lost. But the Wildcats are still a lock for a playoff berth and potential seed.
- South Dakota State Jackrabbits (8-3)
The Jackrabbits bounced back against UNI and put themselves in position to avoid NDSU’s side of the bracket if they can beat South Dakota.
- Montana State Bobcats (8-3)
The Bobcats are in the playoffs. A home win in the Brawl of the Wild could get them into the seeds.
- Northern Iowa Panthers (7-4)
The Panthers let their shot at a seed slip away in a big loss against South Dakota State. They are still a playoff team and should host a first round game.
- Central Arkansas Bears (8-3)
Central Arkansas won’t win the Southland, but with a win they get to 9 wins, including a win over an FBS team that is currently sitting at 6-4. That may be enough to earn the Bears a seed.
- Wofford Terriers (7-3)
The Terriers have rolled off seven straight FCS wins after starting 0-2 to win the Southern Conference. If things break their way, they could have a shot at the 8 seed.
- Austin Peay Governors (8-3)
A win against a bad Eastern Illinois is all that stands in the way of the Governors and an OVC title. They will most likely be on the road in the first round depending on opponent and FCS bidding.
- Florida A&M Rattlers (9-1)
No playoffs for the Rattlers, but a perfect FCS season awaits if they can win the Florida Classic against bitter rivals Bethune-Cookman.
- Villanova Wildcats (8-3)
Villanova may have an outside shot at a seed with a win over Delaware. But the Wildcats are solidly in the field where a matchup against the Patriot League or NEC champion.
- Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (8-3)
The Redhawks need a win to secure a playoff berth. A win and a loss by Austin Peay gets them the OVC title. Look for SEMO in the first round against a Southland or CAA team.
- Monmouth Hawks (9-2)
Monmouth secured the Big South automatic bid and the playoff spot that accompanies it. Look for the Hawks to be matched up against a CAA opponent in the first round.
- Furman Paladins (7-4)
The Paladins have to sweat. They’re going to be right on the bubble after losing to Wofford. With just a game against a non-D1 opponent left, they’re going to need some help to get in. But 7-2 against the FCS is a solid record.
- Southeastern Louisiana Lions (7-3)
The Lions can win the Southland on Thursday night with a win over Nicholls. A loss puts them on the bubble and nervously watching the selection show.
- Kennesaw State Owls (9-2)
The Owls need to win on Saturday and potentially get some help for the committee to put them in the field. 10 wins will be impressive, but the committee will only see it as 8. This is a bubble team no doubt.
- Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (9-1)
Central Connecticut hosts won the NEC title. They will give fits to whoever draws them in the opening round of the playoffs – a team like Albany or Villanova..
- Towson Tigers (7-4)
A win over Elon will give Towson eight wins and a sure playoff berth. Theres a chance it will be at home because the most geographically reasonable opponents are Central Connecticut, Monmouth or the Patriot League champion.
- Southern Illinois Salukis (7-4)
The Salukis are right on the bubble. If they pull off the upset of all upsets and beat the Bison, they are in, no questions asked. If they lose, they do have an FBS win to lean on, but it may not be enough.
- Yale Bulldogs (8-1)
Yale thumped Princeton to pull into a tie in the Ivy with Dartmouth, but the Big Green have the tiebreaker.
- North Dakota Fighting Hawks (6-4)
The Fighting Hawks are clearly on the bubble. They need a win and help to get into the playoffs.
- San Diego Toreros (8-2)
As usual the Toreros won the Pioneer league. They’ll be matched up with a Big Sky team in the first round where they have pulled off upsets before.
Others Receiving Votes: Nicholls, Dartmouth, North Carolina A&T , Albany
Voter Panel: Charles Burton, Kent Schmidt, Jamie Williams, Preston Adams, Ben Schleiger, Ray Maloney
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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