Week 9 FCS Football Bracketology Breakdown

Bracketology Breakdown
Last Four In: Montana, Virginia Military, Incarnate Word, South Dakota
First Four Out: Mercer, Missouri State, Monmouth, Chattanooga
A pretty stable week after continual weeks of chaos and mayhem. There was only one replacement this week and that was no fault of their own. That casualty is Mercer. I know it’s unfair. I threw them a bone last week, but I also mentioned that their spot just as easily could have belonged to William & Mary. Both teams went out and won Saturday, but while Mercer beat The Citadel, William & Mary went on the road and tamed the Wildcats of Villanova. Just impossible to look the other way from a 6-2 Colonial team at this point. Again, is this fair? Probably not. But the realization is a 6-2 Colonial team will almost always get the benefit of the doubt over a 6-2 SoCon team. Especially when one of Mercer’s victories was against Division II Point to open the season.
Said loss by Villanova sent them tumbling just off the seed lines. They’re in a group of six or seven teams just outside banging on the door, looking to come in from the cold. Southern Illinois’ loss to Northern Iowa almost did the same for them. Their saving grace was a win at South Dakota State a few weeks ago, pushing the Salukis just ahead of the Jackrabbits for that final bye.
Final bye? Southern Illinois is the current #7 and Montana State is #8. Wouldn’t the Bobcats be the final seeded team? Yes and no. Numerically, yes. But in an effort to keep balance to the bracket, their seeds are being swapped to keep a more even distribution of Big Sky and Missouri Valley teams on each half of the bracket. And since there’s no seeding level difference between seeds #5 to #8, these kinds of maneuvers are frequently done. Though, there’s a lot of armchair bracketologists out there who just look at the numbers and complain.
That being addressed, the exact same situation happens a little further up the seed lines at #3 and #4. James Madison, the rightful #3 and Eastern Washington, the rightful #4 are swapped. Again, these teams are on the same seeding level, so there’s no real harm in the swap. In this case, it keeps Eastern Washington and #5 UC-Davis from being on the same side of the bracket. It also sets up a potential quarterfinal scoreboard meltdown match-up between EWU and Southeastern Louisiana (first team to 60 wins).
Bids By Conference
AQ7 (2): *Sam Houston State, Eastern Kentucky
Big Sky (5): *Eastern Washington, UC-Davis, Montana State, Sacramento State, Montana
Big South (1): *Kennesaw State
Colonial (3): *James Madison, Villanova, William & Mary
Missouri Valley (5): *North Dakota State, Southern Illinois, South Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota
Northeast (1): *Bryant
Ohio Valley (1): *Tennessee-Martin
Patriot (1): *Holy Cross
Pioneer (1): *Davidson
Southern (2): *East Tennessee State, Virginia Military
Southland (2): *Southeastern Louisiana, Incarnate Word
* denotes projected conference’s automatic qualifier