CSJ Sagarin 2023 NCAA FCS Playoff Projection-Nov. 13

Using the Sagarin rankings for this week of Nov. 11th, the following would be the field of 24 teams for the 2023/24 Division I FCS Football Playoffs.

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

North Dakota State is the #3, while Montana and Idaho would be the #4 and #5 seeds respectively.

Overall for this year, there are 10 conferences that get their champion into the field as an automatic qualifier. The remaining 14 positions are at-large selections. The following are the 10 automatic qualifying leagues:

Big Sky
Big South/Ohio Valley
Coastal Athletic
Missouri Valley



United Athletic

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 two years ago was selected for the 24-team field.

Also, transitioning FCS to FBS teams are not eligible for the FCS playoffs, which includes Kennesaw State.

Three teams have already won their conferences and automatic bids to the 24-team field with South Dakota State winning the Missouri Valley Football Conference, Furman winning the Southern Conference, and Nicholls winning the Southland Conference.

Below is a list of all 24 teams with the ones highlighted in orange are the automatic qualifier from their respective conference (again, using the Sagarin rating to determine that team) with those bolded having already clinched their league title. The teams highlighted in yellow 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 State
3. North Dakota State
4. Montana
5. Idaho
6. Southern Illinois
7. Furman
8. Northern Iowa

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 Conference7
Big Sky Conference5
Coastal Athletic Association3
Southern Conference2
Southland Conference1
United Athletic2
Big South/OVC1
Patriot League1
Pioneer Football League1
Northeast Conference1

I will create a weekly projection until the playoff selections are made on Nov. 19th 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.