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    Week 8 Playoff Prognostication

    I thought with only 4 weeks to go in the regular season it was time to get some discussion going about prognosticating the playoffs now that we've got a pretty good idea of how the conferences are shaping. I've broken it down by conference and grouped teams together based on how good or not good I think their playoff chances are. The "Should be in" category is teams I think will be in unless they have an upset or two down the road. The "Work left to do" category is teams that have some margin for error but not a lot. I based my favored by on Massey's win percentage listed under each team at https://masseyratings.com/cf2021/fcs/ratings


    MVFC
    The top 3 look to be in if they don't take multiple upsets. Of those with work left to do UNI is sitting the best but Missouri St is in decent shape as well. South Dakota might have a rough go of it. Of the group that must win out only UND has a shot IMO. 5 seems the likeliest number of playoff teams from the MVFC.

    Should be in (3):
    NDSU (7-0, 4-0) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4
    SIU (6-1, 4-0) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4
    SDSU (5-2, 2-2) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Work left to do (3):
    South Dakota (5-3, 3-2) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 3
    Missouri St (4-3, 3-2) - Favored in 2 of their reamining 4
    UNI (4-3, 2-2) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Must win out (4):
    Indiana St (4-4, 2-3) - Favored in none of their remaining 3
    UND (3-4, 1-3) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4
    Illinois St (3-4, 1-3) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 4
    YSU (2-4, 1-3) - Favored in none of their remaining 4


    Big Sky
    The Big Sky looks like they'll get 5 easily unless some craziness happens down the streth. I think Weber St has a chance to make it even at 6-5 given how tough their schedule is but they could/should win out. The two that must win out are almost certainly not going to. I still think the Big Sky probably gets 6.

    Should be in (5):
    Montana St (7-1, 5-0) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 3
    EWU (7-1, 4-1) - Favored in all of their remaining 3
    UC Davis (7-1, 4-1) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 3
    Sacramento St (5-2, 4-0) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4
    Montana (5-2, 2-2) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Work left to do (1):
    Weber St (3-4, 2-2) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Must win out (2):
    Northern Arizona (3-4, 2-2) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 4
    Portland St (3-4, 2-2) - Favored in 1 of thir remaining 4


    CAA
    Only looks like 2 for sure in the CAA and those 2 could be wrecking crews for the group in the work left to do category. Rhode Island is sitting in the best shape of that group with a very winnable FBS game (UMass) that could really bolster their chances. It seems highly unlikely anyone in the group that must win out will get there. I'm going to say the CAA only gets 3 as of now.

    Should be in (2):
    Villanova (6-1, 4-0) - Favored in all of their remaining 4
    JMU (6-1, 4-1) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Work left to do (3):
    William & Mary (5-2, 3-1) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 4
    Elon (4-3, 3-1) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 4
    Rhode Island (5-2, 3-2) - Favored in 2 of their last 4

    Must win out (4):
    New Hampshire (3-4, 2-2) - Favored in 2 of their last 4
    Towson (3-4, 2-2) - Favored in 2 of their last 4
    Delaware (3-4, 2-3) - Favored in 2 of their last 4
    Maine (3-4, 2-3) - Favored in none of their last 4


    SOCON
    ETSU is the only SOCON team that can feel very comfortable. Chattanooga is probably sitting in the best shapen in the group of teams with work left to do but VMI also has a decent shot. Samford still has to play Florida so it's unlikely they'll hang around. I would guess 2 or 3 bids out of the SOCON depending on what happens elsewhere.

    Should be in (1):
    ETSU (7-1, 4-1) - Favored in all of their remaining 3

    Work left to do (4):
    Mercer (5-2, 4-1) - Favored in 1 of their remaining 3
    VMI (5-2, 3-1) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4
    Chattanooga (4-3, 3-1) - Favored in all of their remaining 4
    Furman (4-3, 2-2) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4

    Must win out (1):
    Samford (3-4, 2-3) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4


    AQ7
    Sam Houston should waltz in as the autobid. EKU will be an interesting team if they finish 8-3 (assuming that final loss is to SHSU). SFA has a decent shot to win out as well (ACU does not). I think it's definitely possible that the AQ7 swipes an at-large.

    Should be in (1):
    SHSU (6-0, 4-0) - Favored in all of the remaining 4

    Work left to do (1):
    EKU (5-2, 2-0) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4

    Must win out (2):
    ACU (4-3, 1-2) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4
    SFA (3-3, 0-2) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4


    Southland
    The autobid likely comes down to who wins the [email protected] matchup in a couple weeks but Nicholls could still make a mess of things. I'm not even sure McNeese makes it if they win out with that D2 loss but they'd have stacked up some impressive wins at the end of the season.

    Should be in (1):
    SLU (6-1, 4-0) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Work left to do (1):
    UIW (5-2, 3-1) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4

    Must win out (2):
    McNeese (3-4, 2-2) - Favored in 2 of their remaining 4
    Nicholls (3-4, 1-3) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4


    Others (likely autobid denoted by an *)
    The bubble could tighten if KSU and UTM don't win their respective league autos as both would definitely get an at-large at 9-2 and could get one at 8-3 even. I'd say there's an outside chance that the Patriot League could get an at-large if Fordham gets the auto and Holy Cross wins out other than their game with Fordham. I think we could also see a SWAC team or two contend for an at-large as well but with so many unknowns around who will play in the SWAC title game at this point I didn't include any of them yet.

    Should be in (2):
    Big South - KSU* (6-1, 3-0) - Favored in all of their remaining 4
    OVC - UTM* (6-1, 2-0) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Work left to do (1):
    Patriot - Holy Cross* (5-2, 2-0) - Favored in all of their remaining 4

    Must win out (3):
    Big South - Monmouth (4-3, 3-0) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4
    OVC - Tennessee St (4-3, 2-1) - Favored in none of their remaining 4
    OVC - APSU (3-4, 1-1) - Favored in 3 of their remaining 4


    So I'm going to say with 13 at-large up for grabs that the Big Sky gets 5, the MVFC gets 4, and CAA gets 2, and the SOCON gets 1. After that the last one could also go the SOCON, the AQ7, the SLC, or one of the leagues mentioned in the others group. If the bubble tightens that might knock the Big Sky down to 4 at-large or the CAA down all the way to 1. Of course the MVFC meat grinder could claim some victims as well which would soften the bubble up.

    I'm not going to put together a projected field or bracket beyond this but I'd be interested to see one if anyone wanted to or has put one together. Otherwise, discuss away what you think I missed or messed up here.
    Last edited by Professor Chaos; October 24th, 2021 at 02:07 PM.
    Professor Chaos is a proud supporter of the 8-time NCAA Division 1 Football National Champion North Dakota State Bison.

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