Thursday, November 12, 2009

FCS Playoff Watch 2009 #1

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

This will be a weekly feature until selection day. Comments, corrections, and (constructive) criticism are most welcome. Be mindful of the rules of engagement at this blog.

Locks (7): Elon; Montana; New Hampshire; Richmond; Southern Illinois; Villanova; William & Mary

In the Hunt (14) (13): Appalachian State; Eastern Illinois; Eastern Washington; Holy Cross; Jacksonville State; Lafayette; McNeese State; Montana State; Northern Iowa; South Carolina State; South Dakota State; Southeastern Louisiana; Stephen F. Austin; Texas State

Livin’ on a Prayer (14): Butler; Central Connecticut State; Colgate; Delaware; Eastern Kentucky; Florida A&M; Illinois State; Liberty; Massachusetts; Missouri State; Northern Arizona; Prairie View A&M; Tennessee Tech; Weber State


Auto Bid Conferences


Big Sky Conference

Montana (9-0; 6-0)

Montana survived a scare on Saturday, winning on a last second field goal versus an 0-9 Idaho State team that should not have even been in the same stadium. Despite this, they still find themselves on top of the Coaches Poll, and are now all but assured of taking the Big Sky auto-bid. Should that not occur, losing out would still leave them with an at-large bid given their 8 DI wins. Winning out should yield a seed.
Status: Lock

Eastern Washington (6-3; 5-2)

A narrow loss at Montana on October 17 took Eastern Washington out of the picture for an auto-bid, but winning out would leave them at 8-3, and, in all likelihood, with a at-large bid. The crunch game will occur on the final day of the season when they travel to Northern Arizona.
Status: In The Hunt

Montana State (6-3; 4-2)

As usual, Montana State’s playoff chances will come down to the final day of the season, when Montana comes knocking. Winning out would leave them at 8-3, and a shoe-in for an at-large spot. The auto-bid is still a possibility, but is highly unlikely.
Status: In the Hunt

Weber State (5-4; 5-2) and Northern Arizona (5-4; 4-2)

One thing is certain, One of these two teams will be out of the playoff picture after they play each other on Saturday. Winning out would leave each of these teams at 7-4, and not out of the picture given that 4 loss teams have received at-large bids in each of the last two seasons. Given close losses to FBS teams, Weber State would have a reasonable case.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Key games this week:

Northern Colorado at Montana
Montana takes the auto-bid with a win.

Northern Arizona at Weber State
Elimination game.


Colonial Athletic Association

Richmond (8-1; 6-1)

Final-drive heroics by Villanova have spoiled the Spiders perfect season, but with eight DI wins under their belt, including the FBS scalp of Duke, the defending National Champions are assured of a playoff spot. They are one of four CAA teams with a serious shot at both the auto-bid and a seed.
Status: Lock

New Hampshire (8-1; 5-1)

Only a loss at long-time nemesis Massachusetts marks the record of the Wildcats, who, like Richmond, took down an FBS team, Ball State. If they win out, they have a chance at the auto-bid and seed, and would still back in to a at-large spot with two losses to close the season. The crunch game comes on Saturday versus William and Mary.
Status: Lock

Villanova (8-1; 5-1)

With the win over Richmond, most of Villanova’s heavy lifting is done for the season. They face a weak Towson team next week, and a tougher Delaware team on the final day. As with Richmond and New Hampshire, winning out yields the possibility of an auto-bid and seed, and losing out would still leave them with an at-large.
Status: Lock

William & Mary (8-1; 5-1)

William & Mary’s chances of perfect season came to an end versus Villanova in October, and now face the unenviable task of facing down New Hampshire and Richmond in their final two games of the season. Winning out would yield the possibility of an auto-bid and seed, but losing out would still them leave with an at-large, given the win against FBS Virginia.
Status: Lock

Delaware (6-3; 4-3)

Delaware’s chances for a playoff spot may have ended on the second weekend of the season, when they lost by a point against Richmond. To have a chance, they must now defeat both FBS Navy and Villanova on the road, and then hope that its seven DI wins are enough.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Masschusetts (5-4; 3-3)

What if Massachusetts had sealed the deal at Kansas State? What if Maine had not turned them Black and Blue? They would be optimistic about their hopes at a playoff spot. As it is, they must hope that they take care of business against James Madison and Hofstra, and that the committee will once again take a four-loss CAA team.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Key games this week:

James Madison at Massachusetts
Massachusetts needs the win to stay alive.

UNH at William & Mary
On paper, the best FCS game of the week.

Delaware at Navy
Delaware needs an unlikely win to stay alive.


Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference


South Carolina State (6-0; 8-1)

The Bulldogs victory against Florida A&M on October 17 leaves them in the drivers seat for the MEAC auto-bid, which can be clinched with a win in either of their last two games.
Status: In the Hunt

Florida A&M (7-2; 5-1)

The Rattlers chances are all but cooked. They could still take the auto-bid if they win out, and South Carolina loses out. Winning out would leave them at 9-2, but probably without the computer numbers to warrant an at-large bid.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Key games this week:

Morgan State at South Carolina State
South Carolina State takes the auto-bid with a win

Florida A&M at Hampton
Florida A&M keeps its slim hopes alive with a win.


Missouri Valley Football Conference


Southern Illinois (8-1; 7-0)

WOO HOO SALUKIS! The convincing win at South Dakota State earns Southern Illinois at least a share of the conference title, and also clinches the auto-bid by virtue of head-to-head record. Should they take down a good Missouri State on Saturday, and take care of business on the final day of the season, a seed awaits.
Status: Lock

South Dakota State (7-2; 6-1)

The loss to Southern Illinois still leaves two paths forward for South Dakota State to reach their first FCS playoffs. The first would involve an unlikely victory versus FBS Minnesota on Saturday. The second would involve taking down one-win Western Illinois on the road on the final day of the season. Brace yourself for dancing Jackrabbits!
Status: In the Hunt

Northern Iowa (6-3; 4-2)

This is not the season that would have been expected after nearly taking down a ranked FBS opponent on the first day of the season. Despite missteps, Northern Iowa can, however, book a spot in the playoffs should they take down a hapless Western Illinois team this weekend, and a tougher Illinois State team on the final day of the season.
Status: In the Hunt

Missouri State (6-4; 4-3) and Illinois State (5-4; 4-2)

A perfect end to the season for both these teams would leave them with a 7-4 record which, given the past two selections, would not leave them out of the picture entirely. Even that scenario seems unlikely, however, as Missouri State must travel to Southern Illinois, and Illinois State must host a Northern Iowa team which will be hungry.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Key games this week:

South Dakota State at Minnesota
The Jackrabbits dance with a win.

Illinois State at Youngstown State
Illinois State is off the board with a loss.

Missouri State at Southern Illinois
Missouri State is off the board with a loss. A Southern Illinois win puts them one step closer to a seed.



Ohio Valley Conference

Eastern Illinois (7-2; 5-1)

Eastern Illinois is in the drivers seat in the OVC, thanks to their win at Jacksonville State on October 24. At least a share of the title, but, more importantly, the auto-bid, is theirs for the taking should they win out against middling opposition on the last two days of the season. Computer numbers are good enough to warrant at-large consideration with one more win.
Status: In the Hunt

Jacksonville State (6-3; 4-1)

The bad news for Jacksonville State is that their chances for the auto-bid are slim, and that they must face two tough opponents, Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tech, in their final two games of the season. The good news is that winning out would leave them at 8-3, with computer numbers even stronger than they are now, and an at-large bid.
Correction: Jacksonville State is ineligible for postseason play this year as a result of academic failures. Thanks to William for the Tip.
Status: In the Hunt Off the Board

Eastern Kentucky (5-4; 5-2) and Tennessee Tech (5-4; 4-2)

Both of these two teams would have to both win out, and have all stars align in their favor to take the OVC auto-bid. And lets face it, the OVC is not strong enough that 7-4 teams will be seriously considered for an at-large bid by the committee.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Key games this week:

Tennessee Tech at Jacksonville State
Tech is off the board with a loss. This is step one of taking care of business for Jacksonville State

Western Carolina at Eastern Kentucky
Eastern is off the board with a loss.


Patriot League

Holy Cross (8-1; 4-0) and Lafayette (8-1; 4-0)
This is pretty simple. Win on Saturday, and take the auto-bid. Lose, and find yourself praying that the committee will overlook your weak schedule and let you in as a potentially 9-2 at-large team.
Status: In the Hunt

Colgate (8-2; 3-2)
The die for Colgate has essentially been cast by its weak OOC schedule, and the losses to Holy Cross and Lafayette. Winning against Bucknell on Saturday will do little to improve their computer numbers.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Key game this week:

Lafayette at Holy Cross
Patriot League bragging rights on the line, not to mention an auto-bid.


Southern Conference

Elon (8-1; 6-0)
Elon missed the playoffs last season only because of their final day loss at Liberty. Whatever the results of their last two games this season, we should see them dancing this year. Winning out would leave them with a strong case for a seed.
Status: Lock

Appalachian State (7-2; 6-0)
With the exception of an uncharacteristic loss to McNeese State, it has been business as usual for Appalachian State this season. A seed may be out of reach even if they win out, winning on Saturday yields them an auto-bid, while losing but winning in their final game of the season would yield them an at-large bid.
Status: In the Hunt

Key game this week:
Appalachian State at Elon
SOCON bragging rights and an auto-bid on the line.


Southland Conference

Stephen F. Austin (7-2; 4-1) and McNeese State (7-2; 4-1)
Is the Southland Conference good this year? It could be. They are certainly showing enough signs of life that it could be a two-bid league. That would likely happen should both of these teams win out, which would give Stephen F. Austin the auto-bid based on head-to-head record, and McNeese State an at-large, mostly on the strength of their early-season victory over Appalachian State.
Status: In the Hunt

Southeastern Louisiana (6-3; 4-1) and Texas State (6-3; 4-1)
While at-large bids are likely out of reach for both these teams, both can keep their chances for an auto-bid alive with a win this weekend. Their opponents? Stephen F. Austin and McNeese State respectively.
Status: In the Hunt

Key games this week:

Stephen F. Austin at Southern Louisiana and McNeese State at Texas State
Louisiana and Texas go off the board with losses, while McNeese State and Stephen F. Austin march towards the playoffs with wins.


Other At-large Contenders

Liberty (7-2; 4-0)
Liberty were unjustly left out of the playoffs last year, despite a 10-2 record and a final game demolition of Elon. Unfortunately, their prospects are worse this year, given that they will only have one truly quality win, Lafayette, on their resume. Time to start praying for a make up call by the committee.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Central Connecticut State (7-2; 4-1)
Scheduling an all DI schedule, including Lehigh and William & Mary was a signal that the Blue Devils were not willing to wait for the NEC to get an auto-bid in order for them to make the playoffs. The loss to William & Mary dented those hopes, and the loss to Wagner on Saturday probably destroyed them.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

Prairie View A&M (6-0; 6-1)
While the Panthers, and SWAC, will likely be left out again due to an incomplete schedule and lack of quality wins, it should be noted that they produced a FBS near miss, losing by only three points at New Mexico State.
Status: Livin' on a Prayer

Butler (9-0; 6-0)
Pioneer League representation in the playoffs? Better hope for an 11-0 record. And meaningful scheduling.
Status: Livin’ on a Prayer

5 comments:

William said...

Jacksonville State is ineligible for the FCS playoffs because of ongoing APR issues.

Mark said...

Profane,

I am thinking if SIU, Villanova, Richmond, and Montana win out those will be your seeds in no particular order. What are your thoughts?

Profane said...

That is certainly one scenario, but it is important to note that SIU, Villanova, Richmond, Montana, AND Elon, AND New Hampshire, could all win out. If the committee can, they will take seeds from four conferences, which would leave us to consider which CAA team to take - a problem given that Richmond beat Massachusetts, who beat New Hampshire, who beat Villanova, who beat Richmond. . .

Anonymous said...

You left WM out of you're above message. WM should be seeded if they win out. They would have wins over UVA, UNH, UR, JMU and UD. A "good" loss to VU. And, most likely a top 1-3 computer ranking (currently t4th in the GPI with games left against # 8 and #4). Certainly a better resume than Elon or even Montana.

Good read overall, I disagree (as do most objective observers) that Liberty was robbed last year. If anybody was jobbed by the committee it was WM, which had a win against a top 5 UNH, no bad losses, good computer ratings and better overall SOS.

Profane said...

Anonymous,

I am on record as noting that, if Liberty was to be left out, that WM was the better choice than Maine last year. For 'most objective observers' should I read 'most CAA partisans' 8-)?

The only reason I left WM out of the message above is that WM AND NH and Richmond are not able to win out simultaneously. As I noted in the main post, WM will be in the running for a seed should they win out.