CSJ Sagarin 2023 NCAA FCS Playoff Projection-Nov. 6

Using the Sagarin rankings for this week of Nov. 4th, 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 Idaho and Southern Illinois are the #4 and #5 respectively.

Overall for this year, there are 10 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:

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.

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). 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. Idaho
5. Southern Illinois
6. Montana
7. Northern Iowa
8. Youngstown 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 Conference8
Big Sky Conference5
Coastal Athletic Association3
Southern Conference1
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. 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.