CSJ Sagarin 2022 NCAA FCS Playoff Projection-Nov. 13

Using the Sagarin rankings for this week of Nov. 13th, the following would be the field of 24 teams for the 2022/23 Division I FCS Football Playoffs.

South Dakota State would be the top seed using the rankings for this week, while Montana would be the second seed.

Sacramento State is the #3, while North Dakota State and Weber State are the #4 and #5 respectively.

Four schools have already clinched their league’s automatic qualifying position with Saint Francis capturing the Northeast Conference, although they have not clinched the league championship as the other contender of Merrimack is ineligible for the playoffs due to it transitioning from Division II.

The other three qualifiers have won at least a share of their leagues with South Dakota State capturing the Missouri Valley Football Conference, Holy Cross capturing the Patriot League and Samford winning the Southern Conference.

Overall for this year, there are 11 conferences that get their champion into the field as an automatic qualifier. The remaining 13 positions are at-large selections. The following are the 11 automatic qualifying leagues:

A-SUN / WAC Alliance
Big Sky
Big South
Missouri Valley
Ohio Valley


The Atlantic Sun and Western Athletic Conferences will each have their own ‘seasons’, but a tie-breaking scenario will determine one AQ bid recipient from the alliance at the end of the season. These two conferences operated as the AQ7 last year so it will be similar for this season.

The same above scenario will be in effect for the Ohio Valley/Southland Conference Alliance next season but both conferences will have their own bids for this season.

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 such as Florida A&M last year was selected for the 24-team field.

Also, transitioning FCS to FBS teams are not eligible for the FCS playoffs, which includes Jacksonville State, Sam Houston, and James Madison this season.

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). Those in bold and orange and italicized have already clinched their league’s automatic bid. The teams highlighted in yellow and not bolded represent the at-large selections:

The seeds (and first round byes) would be as follows using the Sagarin rankings:

1. South Dakota State
2. Montana
3. Sacramento State
4. North Dakota State
5. Weber State
6. UC Davis
7. Incarnate Word
8. Montana State

Below would the be bracket using a fully 24-seeded field. 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 Conference5
Big Sky Conference6
Colonial Athletic Association2
Southern Conference4
Southland Conference1
Western Athletic/Atlantic Sun Alliance1
Big South Conference1
Ohio Valley Conference1
Patriot League1
Pioneer Football League1
Northeast Conference1

I will create a weekly projection until the playoff selections are made on Nov. 20th and will take into account playoff criteria such as consideration for the possibility of 6-wins 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.

I will also take into account that two teams from the same conference that played in the regular season can not play in the first round per NCAA playoff rules. If this does occur, teams will be reseeded to avoid these first round match-ups. No issue with this rule occurred in this week.