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
Liberty (10-2, At-Large)
#1 James Madison (10-1, CAA Auto-Bid)
Eastern Kentucky (8-3, OVC Auto-Bid)
Southern Illinois (9-2, MVFC Auto-Bid)
Colgate (9-2, Patriot Auto-Bid)
#4 Villanova (9-2, At-Large)
Texas State (8-4, Southland Auto-Bid)
New Hampshire (9-2, At-Large)
Richmond (9-3, At-Large)
#2 Appalachian State (10-2, SOCON Auto-Bid)
Wofford (9-2, At-Large)
South Carolina State (10-2, MEAC Auto-Bid)
[EDIT 11:02 Sunday. From my time living in South Carolina, I should have remembered that SCSU can seat 9000 more fans than Wofford, so I am guessing that the game will go there.]
Cal Poly (8-2, At-Large)
#3 Montana (11-1, At-Large)
Weber State (9-3, Big Sky Auto-Bid)
Northern Iowa (10-2, At-Large)
There are a number of things not to like here, perhaps most notably the pairing of Richmond and Appalachian State in the first round, and both seeds from the CAA ending up on the same side of the bracket (as did SIU and UNI last year). It must be remembered, however, that beyond choosing seeds, the most significant consideration in pairings is geographic location. I did not write the rules, I am just doing my best top interpret them, and it remains to be seen whether the selection committee does anything similar. For seeding rationale, see update #4.
Bids by conference
Big Sky: 2
Big South: 1
Great West: 1
At Large Rationale
Seven of the eight at-large bids were easy to choose this year, those of Montana, Northern Iowa, Villanova, Wofford, Cal Poly, New Hampshire, and Richmond.
The final spot is a bit more difficult. How about a team from the OVC or Patriot League? The computer numbers of Jacksonville State, Tennessee State, Holy Cross, and Lafayette are weak. Tennessee-Martin failed to post seven DI wins. So what are we left with? Three teams from top conferences, Elon, Maine, and William & Mary, and a wild card, Liberty, to whom I have given my final choice. Why?
Elon (8-4), Maine (8-4), and William & Mary (7-4) each had several chances over the course of the season to beat top opposition. They are, however, a collective 1-9 versus teams I already have in the field; only William & Mary picked up a win against elite opposition, at New Hampshire.
Liberty (10-2) finished as undefeated champions of the Big South, a conference which will, shortly, receive an auto-bid to the playoffs. They have also met two of the three conditions for automatic inclusion in the field: they have eight Division I wins, and have won two games against teams from automatic qualifying conferences. They MIGHT fulfill the third requirement, an average of 16 or better in the Sports Network Poll, the FCS Coaches Poll, and the computer numbers, but that is information which I am not privy to. But, ultimately, I do not think it matters. One could argue endlessly about whether Liberty is a better team than Elon, Maine, and William & Mary. What matters is that they are the better choice to fill out the field.
Update (1) 3:54 PM Sunday
Liberty came in at #14 in the Sports Network poll.