Preseason FCS Football Bracketology Breakdown



Bracketology Breakdown
Last Four In: Eastern Washington, Mercer, Northern Iowa, Southeastern Louisiana
First Six Out: South Dakota, UC-Davis, Rhode Island, Richmond, William & Mary, Eastern Kentucky
What an initial overloaded western-centric bracket and map! Five of the preseason’s eight National seeds belong to schools located west of the great river (the Mississippi). One of those other three belongs to the Missouri Valley Football Conference, which resides mostly west on the country’s center line. A real case could have been made to have the split be seven to one, but I made an executive decision to balance the country out a little. Come season’s end and looking strictly at team resumes, that won’t be a factor.
This is why you see a team ranked at #7 playing in the First Round. Of course, it’s not impossible for four teams from one conference to receive National Seeds, the Big Sky pulled that off just two seasons ago. Still, I wanted to keep a little east/west balance, even if that’s completely thrown out the window in November.
As you may have guessed or seen, if you’re paying attention to the team capsule reveals that CSM’s Joel Welser has done a very good job on, the top of the rankings and National Seeds belong to the Missouri Valley and Big Sky. These two have made real strides in separating themselves from the rest of the FCS as far as overall conference strength goes. So extra playoff consideration is credited to them when it comes to bids and seeds. Even the once mighty Colonial is a distant third now fighting with the Southern and ASUN/WAC joint venture for that spot. Even the Southland can make a case, but they’re more top-heavy, honestly.
You will also notice in the Top 25 Rankings, Sam Houston and, possibly later, Jacksonville State appear despite their current transition up to the FBS. We’re including them only because they are playing the vast majority of their games against FCS teams and in FCS conferences in 2022. This is the reason you will NOT see James Madison. They are transitioning up also, but they’re playing the majority of their games at the FBS level.
As always, remember the First and Second Rounds of the Bracketology, AND the NCAA’s official pairings in November, are slanted towards regional match-ups. Conference opponents can be paired together if they’d not played in the regular season. There’s no such stipulation for non-conference rematches. Also, the year-to-year playoff  rematches are avoided, if at all possible.
Most importantly, if you don’t like where your team is right now, it doesn’t matter. There’s three months for this all to change and it will at least twelve times. I’ll take your adulations, congratulations and one-fingered salutations, if that’s how you really feel. I typically respond to all questions and hate mail. So feel free to drop a line. There’ll be no update after Week Zero, so the next installment will be coming on the night/morning after Week One.
Bids By Conference
Atlantic Sun (1): *Kennesaw State
Big Sky (5): *Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State, Weber State, Eastern Washington
Big South (1): *North Carolina A&T
Colonial (2): *Villanova, Delaware
Missouri Valley (5): *North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Missouri State, Northern Iowa
Northeast (1): *Sacred Heart
Ohio Valley (1): *Tennessee-Martin
Patriot (1): *Holy Cross
Pioneer (1): *Davidson
Southern (3): *East Tennessee State, Chattanooga, Mercer
Southland (2): *Incarnate Word, Southeastern Louisiana
Western (1): Stephen F. Austin
* denotes an automatic qualifier
** one of the champions between the Atlantic Sun and Western combined, will also receive an automatic bid