FCS Playoff Watch 2008 #1
FCS Playoff Watch 2008 #2
FCS Playoff Watch 2008 #3
FCS Playoff Watch 2008 #4
FCS Afternoon: Countdown to the 2008 Playoffs
FCS Playoffs 2008: Bracket Projection
FCS Bracket Announced: Comment and Predictions
FCS Playoffs 2008: Results and Quarterfinals Predictions
FCS Playoffs 2008: Results and Semifinals Predictions
FCS Playoffs 2008: Results, Final Prediction, and FBS comment
Click here for a printable bracket.
Wofford (9-2, At-Large)
#1 James Madison (10-1, CAA Auto-Bid)
Colgate (9-2, Patriot Auto-Bid)
Villanova (9-2, At-Large)
Texas State (8-4, Southland Auto-Bid)
#4 Montana (11-1, At-Large)
Weber State (9-3, Big Sky Auto-Bid)
Cal Poly (8-2, At-Large)
South Carolina State (10-2, MEAC Auto-Bid)
#2 Appalachian State (10-2, SOCON Auto-Bid)
Eastern Kentucky (8-3, OVC Auto-Bid)
Richmond (9-3, At-Large)
Maine (8-4, At-Large)
Northern Iowa (10-2, At-Large)
New Hampshire (9-2, At-Large)
Southern Illinois (9-2, MVFC Auto-Bid)
At-Large Bids: 7/8 (8/8 last year)
Seeds: 3/4 (4/4 last year)
Home Teams: 6/8 (8/8 last year)
Pairings: 1/8 (4/8 last year)
This was not the finest hour of the FCS Selection Committee. Did they jump the shark? No, but that said, they made a number of perplexing decisions:
The Maine At-Large Bid
[Note to Black Bears fans, I am one of you, although my primary loyalties are now directed towards Southern Illinois. I grew up in Maine, and am delighted to see them in the field, but do not think the bid was deserved.]
If Maine excelled at anything this year, it was in racking up losses against the top teams. Maine lost to FBS Iowa, and went a perfect 0-3 against FCS teams in the field, losing at Richmond, and to James Madison and New Hampshire at home. They also posted only 2 wins against teams with winning records: a narrow 21-17 win at 7-4 Monmouth of the NEC, and a one point win at Massachusetts, a team which was not itself this year. There is nothing in their resume which suggests playoff success. If the goal was to reward the tough CAA with a fifth bid, there was a better choice - William & Mary. Like Maine, they lost to an FBS team, and to three FCS teams in the field, Villanova, James Madison, and Richmond. Unlike Maine, they proved they could defeat a top team, when they took down New Hampshire.
It is not, however, William & Mary who should be upset but rather Liberty. They dominated an Elon team, which would have gone to the playoffs with a win, in the final game of the regular season. They posted 8 FCS wins, including two over teams from automatic qualifying conferences. They rose to #14 in the final poll of the year. And they got left out. The Committee has alot of explaining to do.
[Update 3:05 PM Tuesday
Liberty finished #14 in the Sports Network poll, #15 in the coaches poll, and an average of #22 in the computer rankings (Massey #24; Wolf #22; Asburn #21; Self #25; #17 Laz). This averages out to #17, which shows you how close the committee came to expressly violating its own rules.]
The UNI #3 Seed
Did UNI deserve the #4 seed? Maybe. Did they deserve the #3 seed? Absolutely not. This is best illustrated by a comparison with unseeded Villanova. In quality of losses, Villanova does slightly better. Both teams lost to FBS opponents and their conference champion, but, although I bleed Saluki maroon, I must acknowledge that James Madison is the better team this year than Southern Illinois. Villanova, however, posted two wins against teams in the field, Richmond and New Hampshire. UNI defeated no teams which are in the field, with their best win coming at home against South Dakota State. Villanova was clearly more deserving.
The Central East Coast Pairings
While I thought it made more sense to send Eastern Kentucky to Southern Illinois, I can see why they went east instead, as it gave the committee six teams in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to produce three pairings. What the committee ending up doing, however, was producing the longest trips possible utilizing those six teams. It would have made far more sense to send Wofford to South Carolina State, Eastern Kentucky to James Madison, and Richmond to Appalachian State. In all likelihood, money trumped these common sense pairings, and it means that Eastern Kentucky must make a very long trip to Richmond for the second year running.
But enough bellyaching already.
James Madison makes the home field advantage stick and takes down Wofford in a tough battle.
Villanova shows the FCS world why they should have received a seed, and dismantles Colgate
Montana happily disposes of Texas State, while Central Arkansas sits at home dreaming of years to come.
Cal Poly shows that it is good enough to defeat most FCS teams, including Weber State, with or without successful PATs.
Appalachian State engages in a live-fire scrimmage versus South Carolina State.
Richmond proves to be way too strong for Eastern Kentucky, the best of the OVC in a down year.
Northern Iowa ends Maine's season one week after it should have ground to a halt.
New Hampshire storms the Mac and ends the season for the overachieving Salukis. *SNIFF*