Saturday, November 22, 2008

FCS Playoffs 2008: Bracket Projection

Series:
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

Bracket


Liberty (10-2, At-Large)
at
#1 James Madison (10-1, CAA Auto-Bid)

Eastern Kentucky (8-3, OVC Auto-Bid)
at
Southern Illinois (9-2, MVFC Auto-Bid)


Colgate (9-2, Patriot Auto-Bid)
at
#4 Villanova (9-2, At-Large)

Texas State (8-4, Southland Auto-Bid)

at
New Hampshire (9-2, At-Large)


Richmond (9-3, At-Large)
at
#2 Appalachian State (10-2, SOCON Auto-Bid)

Wofford (9-2, At-Large)
at
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)

at
#3 Montana (11-1, At-Large)

Weber State (9-3, Big Sky Auto-Bid)
at
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

CAA: 4
Big Sky: 2
MVFC: 2
SOCON: 2
Big South: 1
Great West: 1
MEAC: 1
OVC: 1
Patriot: 1
Southlands: 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.


11 comments:

Andrew said...

Profane, you have any prediction on what second round will look like?? 8->

Profane said...

Heh heh - not yet Andrew. I will post some predictions after the official bracket is released.

Chad said...

I sure hope you're right about LU making the playoffs, even if they come in as the lowest seed! :)

Anonymous said...

What is your rationelle for Richmond not receiving a home game- They were ranked 7, (5GPI) and won!! Also Cal Poly surely gets a home game as well. They just barely lost to Wisconsin and were top 4.

Andrew said...

Because both Cal Poly and Richmond were predicted to play one of the top four seeded teams which automatically receive home field advantage. As Profane mentioned, and does not agree with, they tend to pair teams which are close to each other. They are still in school...

Profane said...

Anonymous 8:40,

Beyond seeding (there is a case to be made for Cal Poly as a seed) the strength of teams has nothing to do with who receives a home game. What matters? Geography, attendance potential, revenue potential, and facility quality.

Along these lines, I realize after sleeping on it that I have made one significant error. Wofford should be going to South Carolina State, and not vice versa, since SCSU can seat 22000 as opposed to 13000.

Brian said...

I agree that it's down to those four teams (Liberty, Elon, WM and Maine) for the final spot. Elon would be an easy switch pegging them into the spot against JMU, but what would the selection of either of the four-loss CAA teams do to the bracket. That looks like major bedlam with somebody, Wofford perhaps, being slotted against JMU to avoid an intra-conference matchup in the first round.

Liberty is the easier pick, but I think the strength of the CAA gets them a fifth bid.

Anonymous said...

Go Villanova! It's Playoff Time Once Again!

James said...

Is there a website I can go to tonight for the official pairings?

Anonymous said...

http://www.ncaa.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/ncaa/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2008-FCSFBBracket

Go there to see the brackets

mike troxel said...

I think it's absurd Liberty did not get in the playoffs.

They finished 10-2 and soundly beat elon 26-3. They held elon without a touchdown for the first time on 3 years. (not even Appy state can say that). Sure they had two losses to weak teams, but the fact is that anybody can have an off week and they soundly thumped an Elon team that has been ranked highly all year.

Maine gets in at 7-4 after losing to drop to number 20? Rediculous! The committee which selects the brackets should just announce that they dream of riding the CAA's balls all year and would've denied the only 10-2 FCS team in the country entry into the playoffs even if they'd gone 12-0.