Playoffs ‘Til I Die: Playoff Projections, 10/25/2016

Eastern Washington vs. Montana State, 2016 (Kellyt Gorham/Montana State Athletics)
Eastern Washington vs. Montana State, 2016 (Kellyt Gorham/Montana State Athletics)


It’s that time of year again!

This year, we are picking a consensus bracket based on staff picks, Sagarin Ratings, and the FCS Coaches’ Poll to determine who we think will be in the playoff field, who is seeded, who is in, who is out.

In the FCS playoffs, there are 10 conferences that get autobids, the Big Sky, Big South, CAA, Northeast, Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Pioneer Football League, Southern, and Southland Conferences.

Two conferences, the SWAC and MEAC, choose to send their champions to a different non-sanctioned postseason separate from the NCAA’s official playoffs. A third, the Ivy League, chooses to not send its members.

Per Sagarin, the Coaches’ Poll, and our expert picks, the possible playoff participants are below:

North Dakota State *Sam Houston State *Eastern Washington *Eastern Washington *
Northern IowaJacksonville State *Sam Houston State *Sam Houston State *
South Dakota StateEastern Washington *Jacksonville State *Jacksonville State *
Eastern Washington *North Dakota State *The Citadel *South Dakota State *
Youngstown StateJames Madison *James Madison *North Dakota State
Jacksonville State *RichmondRichmondJames Madison *
Chattanooga *The Citadel *North Dakota State *Richmond
Montana ChattanoogaChattanoogaThe Citadel *
Richmond *Charleston Southern *Charleston Southern *Chattanooga
James MadisonSouth Dakota StateSouth Dakota StateCharleston Southern *
Sam Houston State *North DakotaVillanovaMontana
Central ArkansasVillanovaSamfordVillanova
Charleston Southern *Youngstown StateCentral ArkansasSamford
The CitadelWestern IllinoisCal PolyCentral Arkansas
Western IllinoisMontanaWestern IllinoisCal Poly
VillanovaCal PolyLehigh *Western Illinois
Cal PolyCentral ArkansasStony BrookLehigh *
SamfordSamfordNorth DakotaStony Brook
Lehigh *Stony BrookTennessee StateNorth Dakota
Northern ArizonaEastern IllinoisMontanaYoungstown State
Illinois StateLehigh *Youngstown StateLiberty
LibertySouth DakotaSacred Heart *Sacred Heart *
San Diego *Sacred Heart *FordhamTennessee State
St. Francis (PA) *San Diego *San Diego *San Diego *

The CSJ Consensus Bracket:

Conference Champions:

  • Big Sky: Eastern Washington
  • Big South: Charleston Southern
  • CAA: James Madison
  • Northeast: Sacred Heart
  • Missouri Valley: South Dakota State
  • Ohio Valley: Jacksonville State
  • Patriot League: Lehigh
  • Pioneer: San Diego
  • Southern: The Citadel
  • Southland: Sam Houston State


  1. Eastern Washington
  2. Jacksonville State
  3. Sam Houston State
  4. North Dakota State
  5. James Madison
  6. South Dakota State
  7. Richmond
  8. Chattanooga

Rest of the field: The Citadel, Charleston Southern, Villanova, Montana, Central Arkansas, Youngstown State, Western Illinois, Samford, Cal Poly, Lehigh, North Dakota, UNI, Stony Brook, Tennessee State, Sacred Heart, San Diego

Last Four In: North Dakota, UNI, Stony Brook, Tennessee State
First Four Out: Liberty, Eastern Illinois, Northern Arizona, South Dakota