Sunday, November 22, 2009

FCS Bracket Announced: Comment and Predictions

Bracket

Click here for a printable bracket.

South Dakoka State (8-3, At-Large)
at
#1 Montana (11-0, Big Sky Auto-Bid)

Eastern Washington (8-3, At-Large)
at
Stephen F. Austin (9-2, Southland Auto-Bid)


Elon (9-2, At-Large)

at
#4 Richmond (10-1, At-Large)

South Carolina State (10-1, MEAC Auto-Bid)
at
Appalachian State (9-2, At-Large SOCON Auto-Bid)


Holy Cross (9-2, Patriot Auto-Bid)
at
#2 Villanova (10-1, CAA Auto-Bid)

New Hampshire (9-2, At-Large)

at
McNeese State (9-2, At-Large)


Eastern Illinois (8-3, OVC Auto-Bid)
at
#3 Southern Illinois (10-1, MVFC Auto-Bid)

Weber State (7-4, At-Large)
at
William and Mary (9-2, At-Large)

Prediction success:
At-Large Bids: 8/8 (7/8 last year)
Seeds: 4/4 (3/4 last year)
Home Teams: 8/8 (6/8 last year)
Pairings: 6/8 (1/8 last year)

Criticism

Congratulations to the selection committee for a job well done. Unlike last year, my criticisms are very much of the nit-picking variety.

Seeding

Rather than focusing on schedule strength, or how a team actually won, the committee chose to focus on Montana's gaudy record. In the words of John McCutcheon, the selection chair: "By virtue of Montana's undefeated record, it gave them a slight edge for the top seed." That is one way to go, but, it my opinion, it meant seeding Montana over two superior teams, Villanova and Southern Illinois. Villanova by far had the best combination of strength of schedule and wins in the FCS. No team other than Southern Illinois had any FCS team get any closer than a touchdown.

At-Large Bids

I only bring this up because the selection chat, while mostly devoid of any useful information, gave us this important insight:
There were actually eleven teams under consideration for the final two spots in the field, so it would be difficult to single out any specific school as being the last team out.
What were those eleven teams? I would posit Butler, Central Connecticut State, Colgate, Dayton, Eastern Washington, Florida A&M, Lafayette, Liberty, Northern Iowa, Prairie View A&M, Weber State. This is why I keep those teams "Livin' on a Prayer" under consideration right up through my final updates.

Geographic Fudging?

Unlike last year, that seems to have been absent, with one possible exception. I asked the following question during the selection chat. Naturally, it is a question which was not answered:
I note that the teams that would have probably been #5 and #6 if the field was fully seeded, Appalachian State and William and Mary, have potential second round matchups with the #4 and #3 seeds, Richmond and Southern Illinois respectively. Was this deliberate or happenstance?
In the case of Richmond/Appalachian State this was dictated by the pairing rules. But by those same pairing rules, it would have made more sense to place New Hampshire/McNeese State in the same pod as Southern Illinois, and William and Mary/Weber State in the same pod as Villanova.

But these criticisms are about as minor as they come. Congratulations, again, to the committee.

Predictions

The Jackrabbits run Montana ragged, but the home field advantage sticks.

The Lumberjacks face an air raid, successfully pulled off by Eastern Washington.

The fortunes of the Phoenix turn to ashes, and Richmond begins its defense of the title.

The Bulldogs are not stubborn enough to prevent a victory by Appalachian State, setting up a quarterfinal made-for-TV.

The Crusade somehow fails to convert anyone at Villanova.

The Cowboys are shredded by New Hampshire.

Panthers of any stripe show themselves unable to deal with Southern Illinois this year.

The Wildcats face jet lag, and a team too tough to handle in William and Mary.

Series:
FCS Playoff Watch 2009 #1
FCS Playoff Watch 2009 #2
FCS Playoff Watch 2009 #3: Midweek Update and Predictions
FCS Afternoon: Countdown to the 2009 Playoffs
FCS Playoffs 2009: Bracket Projection
FCS Bracket Announced: Comment and Predictions

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tell me how SC State plays on the road this year? Lack of respect for the team/conference??

Profane said...

Anonymous 3:38,

It comes down to pairing rules and bids. SCSU and Appalachian State were close to each other geographically, and the Mountaineers apparently put in a higher bid.

Joe said...

Isn't Appy State an auto-bid from the Southern Conference?

Profane said...

Joe,

Yep - corrected.

Pmonster said...

The West cannot complain this year about an East Coast bias. The problem is the Regional set up leaves Montana with a cake walk while the top teams bang each other up.

Can't the FCS cough up a few bucks and seed the teams 1-16?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more here.

Seems the So Con has the athletes and the CAA has the toughness.

Not sure what the Bug Sky has.

Profane said...

The #1 seed.

Anonymous said...

The Big Sky is always underrated. I think Montana and EWU will both win their first round games and Weber has a good shot at an upset if they play to their potential. Problem for Weber is they have been very up and down this year.

And if Montana and EWU both win first round games then we will have a BSC team in the Semis again.

Anonymous said...

I've not followed the FCS to any great extent until this year. What is obvious to me is this: everyone thinks their team, conference, etc., is a victim of some sort of bias and that they are underratted...east v. west, etc. Well, whatever floats yer boat...I just make the observation.

Profane said...

Anonymous 11:59,

How many other sports at how many other levels would that phenomenon desccribe?

Headline: "Dog Bites Man"

Melody said...

Happy new year to you and all of your readers!

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