Week 7, FCS Bracketology

Last Four In: North Dakota, Villanova, Cal Poly, Stony Brook
First Four Out: Albany, New Hampshire, Lehigh, Tennessee State
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Three drop out and three jump in.  Northern Iowa dropped a second consecutive road game and fell to 2-4. The margin for error is now zero. That’s not to say they can’t get back into the bracket by the end of the season, they have done it before.  But considering the problems they’ve had finishing games, we can’t keep them in the bracket right now.  This season’s Cinderella, Albany, has suddenly dropped back-to-back games and is looking less likely as being around at the very end.  They’re just off the radar right now and could hop on and off until the end, but they were on a short leash before.  New Hampshire is the third dropper.  So close against James Madison this week and a win there may have cemented their resume, but taking a third loss with four more to play, they join a growing list of teams with little margin for error.
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Joining this week are a pair from the Big Sky.  North Dakota has been hot and the schedule actually sets up very nicely for them.  They should only become more solid as the final weeks progress.  Cal Poly is the other Big Sky team to join us this week.  Having beaten Montana earlier, they’ve built to a 4-2 record with very winnable games on the immediate docket.  The final party crasher is Stony Brook.  A Colonial team that basically swaps out for one of the two that fell out. Having wins over Richmond and North Dakota are looking more and more impressive as the season moves along.
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Let’s not forget the elephant in the room.  Defending National Champion, North Dakota State lost this week.  Despite dropping a couple spots in the Top 25, their resume keeps them on the top line of the bracket.  It’s close between the Bison and Jacksonville State, but the non-conference win over Iowa looms a little too large.  Sam Houston State was also in consideration, but their overall very weak schedule hurts them.  For reference, an undefeated McNeese State won the Southland Conference last year and ended up as the #4 seed in the playoffs.  It might happen again.
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Big Sky (4): Eastern Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Cal Poly
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Big South (1): Charleston Southern
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Colonial (4): Richmond, James Madison, Villanova, Stony Brook
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Missouri Valley (4): North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Western Illinois, Youngstown State
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Northeast (1): Sacred Heart
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Ohio Valley (2): Jacksonville State, Eastern Illinois
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Patriot (1): Fordham
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Pioneer (1): San Diego
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Southern (4): Chattanooga, The Citadel, Samford, Wofford
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Southland (2): Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas
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To see the bracket in tree form, you can go to http://www.collegesportsmadness.com/fcs-football/bracketology