Week 13 FCS Football Bracketology Breakdown

New Hampshire FCS Football
George Hammond

Last Four In: Tennessee State, Northern Iowa, Youngstown State, New Hampshire

First Four Out: Southern Utah, Jacksonville State, South Carolina State, Montana State

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes and New Hampshire making the FCS playoffs. The Wildcats knocked off Maine, 24-3, to finish 7-4 and likely earn their 10th consecutive trip to the FCS playoffs, which would be the longest streak in the nation. With William & Mary and Delaware losing today, the Wildcats should become the third CAA team to earn a bid when the tournament field is announced at 11 a.m. (EDT) Sunday on ESPNU as Maine and Towson had already punched their tickets.


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Meanwhile, there will be complaints, but expect the MVFC to garner five bids: North Dakota State, Youngstown State, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa. North Dakota State gets the league’s automatic bid as champion and South Dakota State solidified its spot with a convincing 42-13 victory over Youngstown State today. The Penguins (8-4) finished with three straight losses, but their body of work is too strong to leave out. The same can be said for Southern Illinois (7-5), which beat Northern Iowa and South Dakota, and Northern Iowa (7-5) gets the final spot. Northern Iowa didn’t even have a .500 record in conference, but its results speak volumes. It beat McNeese State, 41-6; it lost to North Dakota State, 24-23; and it lost three games in OT, plus the Panthers beat FBS Iowa State. They’re the best 7-5 team in the nation and play in the best conference.

Five teams that figure to be on the outside looking in Sunday when the FCS playoff field is announced are Southern Utah, South Carolina State, Chattanooga, Jacksonville State and Montana State. Southern Utah (8-4), which lost to Northern Arizona, 20-10, today is likely No. 25 in the 24-team field. It didn’t play Montana this year and had a bad loss to UC-Davis.

South Carolina State (9-3) lost to MEAC auto bid winner Bethune-Cookman. Couple that with the MEAC’s standing compared with other FCS conferences and the Bulldogs’ overall record falls short.

Chattanooga (8-4) earned a share of the Southern Conference this year, but the Mocs lost the league’s tie-breaker to Furman. And because Samford beat the Mocs during the regular season, Chattanooga is behind Furman and Samford in the pecking order. Interestingly, had Samford not rallied to beat Elon today in the closing seconds, Chattanooga would have won the SoCon’s auto bid. The other loss that really hurt the Mocs came in the season opener when they bowed to Tennessee-Martin. That loss took away Chattanooga’s margin of error and it came back to haunt them.

Jacksonville State’s (9-3) loss to Tennessee State probably did it in. The Ohio Valley Conference figures to send two teams – Eastern Illinois and Tennessee State – but three teams would be a reach.

Finally, Montana State (7-5) is the other team that just missed out, but it needed to beat rival Montana to have a chance. A 52-38 loss at Stephen F. Austin this year, really hurt.


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*auto bid

Big Sky: *Eastern Washington, Montana, Northern Arizona

Big South: *Coastal Carolina

CAA: *Maine, Towson, New Hampshire

MEAC: *Bethune-Cookman

MVFC: *North Dakota State, Youngstown State, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa

NEC: *Sacred Heart

OVC: *Eastern Illinois, Tennessee State

Patriot: *Lafayette, Fordham

Pioneer: *Butler

Southern: *Furman, Samford

Southland: *SE Louisiana, Sam Houston State, McNeese State


See the FCS Football Projected Bracket