Week 12 Final FCS Football Bracketology Breakdown

Last Four In: Idaho, Fordham, Chattanooga, Delaware
First Four Out: Mercer, Austin Peay, Montana, Rhode Island
This year’s bracketology was probably the hardest I’ve ever done. The final three or four spots for at-large teams is a total mess. And there are, at least, six or eight more teams that can have a legitimate case made to get one of those spots. The seeding wasn’t much easier, after the first three spots. Which is where I’m going to start.
Sacramento State is the clear #1. And for me, it’s not even close. They finished undefeated overall, not just in FCS, they destroyed an FBS school and they were a co-champion of the toughest conference this year. On top of that, they had two common opponents as the #2 seed and beat both of them by more points.
South Dakota State gets the #2. 10-1 overall, 10-0 vs. FCS. Their loss to FBS Iowa is looking a little stronger, now that the Hawkeyes are 7-4. Wins over UC-Davis, North Dakota and North Dakota State highlight the resume. Many years, this would be a #1 resume. Just not this year.
Montana State is a slam dunk #3 seed. And the case could be made to be the #2, but I really can’t see The Committee giving the top two seeds to the Big Sky. Still, it’s that good of a resume. Undefeated in FCS, 10-1 overall and wins over Weber State, UC-Davis and today’s obliteration of Montana. Easy pick here.
North Dakota State is getting the #4 and, to be honest, I don’t feel good about it. 9-2 overall with a 3 point loss to FBS Arizona and the loss to South Dakota State. The biggest wins are North Carolina A&T, Youngstown State and North Dakota. But the name recognition and history, I think, will pull a little more weight and take this spot. By pure resume, they could be #6 or #7.
Samford is getting the #5. Undefeated in FCS play, with wins over Furman, Chattanooga and Mercer. The lone loss? To FBS Georgia. Ever heard of them? I would not be surprised to see them at #4 tomorrow.
William & Mary is getting my #6. 10-1 overall and 9-1 in the FCS. The lone loss was to Elon, who’s no slouch and easily in the at-large field themselves. Also toting an FBS win over Charlotte. Not the strongest FBS win, but it carries weight.
Holy Cross is taking the #7. Undefeated, including an FBS win over Buffalo. Also have wins over solid Fordham and Merrimack squads. The schedule strength isn’t impressive, but they’ve pretty much dominated everyone they’ve played.
Weber State is going to get the final seed at #8. 9-2 overall, 7-2 vs. FCS. Not as good as Incarnate Word, but their strength of schedule was much tougher. Plus, Weber had wins over Montana, UC-Davis and an FBS win over Utah State. Their only losses came to teams seeded #1 and #3. Seems fair to give them that last spot.
Incarnate Word was very close to seeding. 10-1 overall while holding a destructive FBS win over Nevada. Also pummeled Southern Illinois to open the season. That win has taken on less significance as SIU has slumped through the season. It was so close. Been weighing this spot all weekend.
The remaining automatic bids: Eastern Kentucky, Gardner-Webb, St. Francis, Southeast Missouri, Davidson and Southeastern Louisiana don’t really need explanation why they’re in the field. Though, Southeast Missouri might be the first team to ever take an actual spot via the coin flip, over Tennessee-Martin. They would have been an at-large team anyway.
You can see the list of eight of the teams battling it out for the final four at-large berths. This doesn’t include Tennessee-Martin, Youngstown State, Abilene Christian, UC-Davis, Florida A&M and a few other 6-5 schools. The last two bids went to Chattanooga and Delaware. I would not be surprised to see either of these teams miss when the official pairings are released. That’s just how fluid the final bubble was. Chattanooga had the win over Mercer, who was also in the final pool. Delaware was very similarly given a spot by virtue of their win over Rhode Island, earlier in the year. Delaware also had a win over FBS Navy, which carried some weight.
Bids By Conference
#Atlantic Sun (1): *Eastern Kentucky*
Big Sky (4): *Sacramento State*, Montana State, Weber State, Idaho
Big South (1): *Gardner-Webb*
Colonial (5): *William & Mary*, Elon, Richmond, New Hampshire, Delaware
Missouri Valley (3): *South Dakota State*, North Dakota State, North Dakota
Northeast (1): *St. Francis*
Ohio Valley (1): *Southeast Missouri*
Patriot (2): *Holy Cross*, Fordham
Pioneer (1): *Davidson*
Southern (3): *Samford*, Furman, Chattanooga
Southland (2): *Southeastern Louisiana*, Incarnate Word
#Western (0):
* denotes automatic qualifier
# one of the champions between the Atlantic Sun and Western combined, will also receive an automatic bid