Using the Sagarin rankings for this week of Nov. 7th, 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 Sacramento State would be the second seed.
North Dakota State is the #3, while Montana and Weber State are the #4 and #5 respectively.
Three 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 two qualifiers have won at least a share of their leagues with South Dakota State capturing the Missouri Valley Football Conference and Holy Cross capturing the Patriot League.
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
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. Sacramento State|
|3. North Dakota State|
|5. Weber State|
|6. Incarnate Word|
|8. UC Davis|
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 Conference||5|
|Big Sky Conference||6|
|Colonial Athletic Association||1|
|Western Athletic/Atlantic Sun Alliance||1|
|Big South Conference||1|
|Ohio Valley Conference||1|
|Pioneer Football League||1|
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.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
Reach him at this email or click below:
I wish people that have been in the industry “since 2012” would know the difference between Montana and Montana State