CSJ Sagarin 2021 NCAA FCS Playoff Projection-Oct. 11

Using the Sagarin ranking this week, the following would be the field of 24 teams for the Division I FCS Football Playoffs. South Dakota State despite suffering their first loss of the season is predicted to be the top seed, followed by MVFC mate North Dakota State as the #2 seed.

James Madison, who is also coming off a loss this week is projected the #3 seed with Northern Iowa being the #4.

There are currently 11 conferences that get their champion into the field as an automatic qualifier. The remaining 13 positions are at-large selections. NOTE: the MEAC, SWAC, and Ivy League do not send their conference champions to the playoff field. The MEAC and SWAC non-winners of either their division or the conference could be selected so these teams were taken into consideration.

Below is a list of all 24 teams with the ones in bold and highlighted in orange as the automatic qualifier from their respective conference (again, using the Sagarin rating to determine that team). The teams highlighted in yellow and not bolded represent the at-large selections:

The seeds would be as follows using the Sagarin rankings:

1. South Dakota State
2. North Dakota State
3. James Madison
4. Northern Iowa
5. Southern Illinois
6. Eastern Washington
7. Montana
8. Sam Houston State

Below would the be bracket using fully the 24-seeds. NOTE: conference members can not meet in the first round of the playoffs unless those two teams did not play in the regular season, Youngstown State and South Dakota will not play each other this year in the MVFC so they would be eligible to play each other in the first round. No regionalization was considered for the 24-team field and the bracket was solely made by the Sagarin rankings.

Conference Breakdown with Number of Teams

Missouri Valley Football Conference 8
Big Sky Conference 5
Colonial Athletic Association 2
Southland Conference 2
AQ7 (Western Athletic/Atlantic Sun) 1
Big South Conference 1
Northeast Conference 1
Ohio Valley Conference 1
Patriot League 1
Pioneer Football League 1
Southern Conference 1

I will create a weekly projection until the playoff selections are made on Nov. 21st and will later take into account playoff criteria such as consideration for 7-wins being the minimum required to be included into the playoff field and will also take the automatic qualifiers when they are declared conference champions over what the Sagarin rankings show as the top team in a conference.