Bracketology Bonus, Week 10

Malloy-vs-MSU

Bracketology Bonus, Post-Week 10 Games…

Oh, what a tangled web the FCS playoff bracketology is currently in.  Actually, web might not even be the best description.  A Cambodian minefield might actually be the better terminology.

 

What we’ll address first, are the teams leading their respective conferences.  The winners of each of these conferences will receive an automatic bid to the playoffs.  Not going to get into speculation as to who will win in the end, just an indication of who’s holding the spot now and in a couple of instances, who’s clinched.

 

CONFERENCE LEADERS, record overall / record in conference…

Big Sky: * North Dakota, 8-2 / 7-0

Big South: Liberty, 6-3 / 4-0

Colonial: * James Madison, 8-1 / 6-0

Missouri Valley: * North Dakota State, 8-1 / 5-1

Northeast: St. Francis(PA), 6-3 / 4-0

Ohio Valley: * Jacksonville State, 8-1 / 5-0

Patriot: Lehigh, 8-2 / 5-0 (CLINCHED AUTO-BID)

Pioneer: San Diego, 7-1 / 6-0

Southern: The Citadel, 9-0 / 7-0 (CLINCHED AUTO-BID)

Southland: * Central Arkansas, 8-1 / 7-0

* – denotes a team that hasn’t clinched an auto-bid, but should have an at least an at-large bid wrapped up

 

Of the ten conferences, you can see that two of those have been clinched, Patriot and Southern. Of the remaining eight conference leaders, five of those teams should have at-large bids wrapped up.  Three of the conference leaders can clinch this coming week; St. Francis(PA) and San Diego only need to win one of their last two games, Liberty has a head-to-head match-up with Charleston Southern, where the winner is the likely automatic qualifier.

 

Next, we’ll look at the other teams who should already have at-large bids locked up.  Even losing out, they should have done enough for their resume.

 

AT-LARGE LOCKS, record overall

Sam Houston State, 9-0

Eastern Washington, 8-1

Chattanooga, 8-1

Richmond, 7-2

Villanova, 7-2

 

That right there, gives us half of the field, 12 of the 24.  And when you throw in the other three conferences that are unaccounted for with a current team in the field, the list grows to 15.  That means there are 9 spots available, from the list below for the remaining at-large bids.  Many of these teams are only one win from locking up a bid.  They’ll be listed in the first part of this list.  If a team from the first list loses out to end the season, they will fall into the second list and be high promoters of prayer on Selection Sunday.  The second list will be teams that need to win out, then get some help.

 

AT-LARGE CONTENDERS, record overall (remaining opponents)

Cal Poly, 6-3 (@ Weber State, vs. Northern Colorado)

South Dakota State, 6-3 (vs. South Dakota, @ Northern Iowa)

Western Illinois, 6-3 (vs. Northern Iowa, @ Southern Illinois)

Youngstown State, 6-3 (vs. Southern Illinois, @ Missouri State)

Montana, 6-3 (@ Northern Colorado, vs. Montana State)

New Hampshire, 6-3 (vs. Albany, @ Maine)

 

AT-LARGE HOPEFULS, record overall (remaining opponents)

Tennessee State, 6-3 (vs. Tennessee Tech, @ Southeast Missouri State)

Samford, 6-3 (vs. Mercer, @ East Tennessee State)

Wofford, 6-3 (@ Chattanooga, vs. Virginia Military)

Fordham, 6-3 (vs. Holy Cross, @ Bucknell)

Charleston Southern, 5-3 (@ Liberty, vs. Kennesaw State)

North Carolina A&T, 8-1 (@ Delaware State, @ North Carolina Central)

North Carolina Central, 7-2 (vs. Howard, vs. North Carolina A&T)

Weber State, 5-4 (vs. Cal Poly, @ Idaho State)

Southern Utah, 5-4 (@ Brigham Young, @ Northern Arizona)

Stony Brook, 5-4 (vs. Maine, @ Albany)

Maine, 5-4 (@ Stony Brook, vs. New Hampshire)

Albany, 5-4 (@ New Hampshire, vs. Stony Brook)

Mercer, 5-4 (@ Samford, vs. Furman)

Southeastern Louisiana, 5-4 (vs. Abilene Christian, @ Nicholls State)

Nicholls State, 5-4 (@ Central Arkansas, vs. Southeastern Louisiana)

Tennessee-Martin, 6-4 (vs. Southeast Missouri State, @ Jacksonville State)

Illinois State, 5-5 (vs. Missouri State, – BYE -)

Eastern Illinois, 5-5 (- BYE -, @ Eastern Kentucky)

Northern Arizona, 5-4 (@ North Dakota, vs. Southern Utah)

Northern Colorado, 5-4 (vs. Montana, @ Cal Poly)

Kennesaw State, 7-2 (vs. Presbyterian, @ Charleston Southern)

South Dakota, 4-5 (@ South Dakota State, vs. North Dakota State)

Northern Iowa, 4-5 (@ Western Illinois, vs. South Dakota State)

 

Was it mentioned before that this is a mess?  Yikes!  Obviously, there’s a lot of moving parts with two weeks still to be played and it would take about as much time explain every scenario than it would to just let the first half of games pass.  But here’s a couple of quick hitters.

== Four teams from the Colonial all square off with each other the last two weeks, just from the At-Large lists.

== The winner of the final game of the season between North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T will win the MEAC and get a Celebrations Bowl bid.  The loser would be eligible for an at-large bid.  North Carolina Central would be 8-3 in this instance and probably be left out because of their very weak schedule.  North Carolina A&T also has a very weak schedule, but would be 9-2 and one of those wins would be over FBS Kent State.  And The Committee likes to reward wins against the FBS.

== Tennessee State has a very shiny record, but their three non-conference wins are against the SWAC, which isn’t impressive.  If they won out to 8-3, they’re probably in, but a slip up and they’re probably gone.

== Kennesaw State also has a shiny record, but three of their non-conference wins are against lower division opponents, which don’t count as Division I wins.  There is still a chance they could win the Big South automatic, so they’re listed.

== If Charleston Southern wins out, they win the Big South automatic.  But if they lose either, they’re probably out.

== Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado each have one lower division win, which means winning out might not be enough.  Others with a lower division win include; Samford, Wofford, Charleston Southern, Tennessee-Martin and Fordham.

 

In the end, it’s important that The Committee doesn’t have a strict win total threshold that has to be passed.  But in the past, six Division I wins has been a loose prerequisite, seven has been the magic number for at-large bids.  It also seems like losses to FBS teams are looked at as only half a loss and FBS wins are seen as double value.  This is why teams like Illinois State, Eastern Illinois and Northern Iowa still have an outside shot at making the field.