Playoffs ‘Til I Die: Playoff Projections, 11/1/2016


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:

North Dakota State *Sam Houston State *Eastern Washington *Eastern Washington *
Eastern Washington *Jacksonville State *Sam Houston State *Sam Houston State *
Jacksonville State *Eastern Washington *Jacksonville State *Jacksonville State *
South Dakota StateNorth Dakota State *The Citadel *North Dakota State *
Youngstown StateJames Madison *Richmond *James Madison *
James Madison *RichmondNorth Dakota StateRichmond
Chattanooga *The Citadel *James MadisonThe Citadel *
Central Arkansas *ChattanoogaChattanoogaChattanooga
Sam Houston StateCharleston Southern *Charleston Southern *South Dakota State
MontanaNorth DakotaSamfordCharleston Southern *
RichmondVillanovaVillanovaCentral Arkansas
The CitadelYoungstown StateCentral ArkansasVillanova
SamfordWestern IllinoisCal PolySamford
Charleston Southern *South Dakota StateWestern IllinoisCal Poly
Western IllinoisCal PolySouth Dakota StateMontana
VillanovaCentral ArkansasLehigh *Western Illinois
LehighSamfordNorth DakotaLehigh *
Northern ArizonaMontanaYoungstown StateNorth Dakota
Cal PolyLehighMaineYoungstown State
WoffordNew HampshireLibertyLiberty
North DakotaEastern IllinoisWoffordNew Hampshire
LibertyStony BrookMontanaWofford
San Diego *San Diego *St. Francis (PA) *St. Francis (PA)
St. Francis (PA) *Sacred Heart *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
  • 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. Richmond
  7. The Citadel
  8. Chattanooga

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

Last Four In: North Dakota, Liberty, Wofford, New Hampshire
First Four Out: Northern Arizona, Maine, Eastern Illinois, Stony Brook