Playoffs ‘Til I Die: Playoff Projections, 11/10/2016



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:

SagarinCoachesChuckKentCommittee Seeds
North Dakota State *Sam Houston State *Eastern Washington *North Dakota State *North Dakota State
Eastern Washington *Jacksonville State *Sam Houston State *Eastern Washington *Eastern Washington
James Madison *Eastern Washington *Jacksonville State *Jacksonville State *Jacksonville State
Jacksonville State *North Dakota State *The Citadel *Sam Houston State *James Madison
South Dakota StateJames Madison *James Madison *The Citadel *Sam Houston State
Youngstown StateThe Citadel *North Dakota State *James Madison *The Citadel
Sam Houston State * RichmondCentral ArkansasCentral ArkansasCentral Arkansas
Central ArkansasNorth DakotaCharleston Southern *North DakotaRichmond
ChattanoogaSouth Dakota StateNorth DakotaRichmondNorth Dakota
RichmondChattanoogaRichmondSouth Dakota StateSouth Dakota State
Illinois StateCentral ArkansasChattanoogaChattanooga
The Citadel *Charleston Southern *VillanovaVillanova
MontanaYoungstown StateLehigh *Lehigh *
SamfordVillanovaSouth Dakota StateCharleston Southern *
WoffordLehigh *WoffordSamford
VillanovaSamfordYoungstown StateYoungstown State
Charleston Southern *WoffordSamfordMaine
Western IllinoisMontanaCal PolyWestern Illinois
Lehigh *Cal PolyMaineLiberty
North DakotaWestern IllinoisMontanaCal Poly
Northern ArizonaIllinois StateIllinois StateWofford
Cal PolyUT-MartinFordhamNC-Central/NCA&T
San Diego *San Diego *St. Francis (PA) *St. Francis (PA) *
St. Francis (PA) *St. Francis (PA) *San Diego *San Diego *

The CSJ Consensus Bracket:

Conference Champions:

  • Big Sky: Eastern Washington
  • Big South: Charleston Southern
  • CAA: James Madison
  • Northeast: St Francis (PA)
  • Missouri Valley: North Dakota State
  • Ohio Valley: Jacksonville State
  • Patriot League: Lehigh (clinched)
  • Pioneer: San Diego
  • Southern: The Citadel (clinched)
  • Southland: Sam Houston State


  1. Eastern Washington
  2. Jacksonville State
  3. North Dakota State
  4. Sam Houston State
  5. James Madison
  6. The Citadel
  7. Chattanooga
  8. Central Arkansas

Rest of the field: Cal Poly, Charleston Southern, Lehigh, Liberty, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Richmond, St. Francis (PA), Samford, San Diego, South Dakota State, Villanova, Western Illinois, Wofford, Youngstown State.

Last Four In: Cal Poly, Liberty, Wofford, New Hampshire
First Four Out: Northern Arizona, Illinois State, Southern Utah, Albany