Sep 15, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Sam Houston State Bearkats quarterback Brian Bell (11) hands off to running back Tim Flanders (20) during the game against the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears defeated the Bearkats 48-23. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

FCS Roundtable: Making Sense of Playoff Madness

Week 12 marks the conclusion of the Championship Subdivision season. Selection Sunday is looming, making this Judgment Saturday. There are just 20 slots available: 10 automatic bids to conference champions, and 10 at-large bids.

This year’s playoff landscape is one of the most difficult to navigate this late into the season. So many conference title races are left undecided, which means more at-large bubbles than usual are still floating. The FCS Roundtable tries to make sense of the madness in the final week.

Todd Davis, JMUSportsBlog.com

Craziest year we can recall. The committee is going to be severely tested (and many of us diehard FCS fans will most likely be severely disappointed that the field will reflect the fact some of us are more familiar with these teams and conferences than they are) this year, especially by questions like “how much is an inflated resume in a bottom-feeder league” worth (Lehigh, Stony Brook)?

No doubt if two teams from the NEC and Patriot make it the whole bracket will appear ripe for the picking for those that get in. What if two of your losses are to FBS schools, but you really have no big wins (Sam Houston)? And maybe most importantly, how the heck do you distinguish between multiple teams with the same records, but not the same schedules, in a single conference (BSC, CAA)?!

And that doesn’t even ask how to seed teams if you think GSU or ODU is actually better than the AQ/Champ of their own conference (ASU, UNH).

Russell Varner, SouthernPigskin.com

Obviously, I’m keeping my eye on the Southern Conference title race, which technically is already over and sees Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and Wofford all sharing the championship. The only thing left to decide is who gets the automatic bid, which will be decided by a game that none of the three teams are playing in. It all comes down to this weekend’s Furman-Citadel matchup. If Furman wins, then the Mountaineers earn the automatic bid. Should the Citadel come out victorious, then the Eagles will have the auto bid. The Terriers have no shot at the automatic bid and Coach Mike Ayers is worried that a poor performance against South Carolina this weekend, combined with the seven Division I wins the team has, could leave the Terriers on the outside looking in come playoff time. It seems very unlikely and would be a travesty if it happened, but it has happened before…

Also worth keeping an eye on are Samford and the Citadel. Samford holds a 7-3 record (six Division I wins) and, with a victory against Kentucky this weekend, could move themselves into a playoff spot – and with Kentucky football in its current state, an upset isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. The Citadel has cooled off considerably since their hot start to the season, but a victory against the rival Paladins would not just give Georgia Southern an auto bid, but would give the Citadel seven D-I wins, including victories against Georgia Southern at Appalachian State.

As for my predictions on how the playoff picture pans out, I say the Eagles get the auto bid and are joined in the postseason by Appalachian State and Wofford, with the Citadel just missing the cut.

Shaun Bummer, Griz Nation Blog

It’s been a great FCS college football season so far and it’s about to get even better in the final week of the regular season with playoff implications all across the country. I’m particularly interested in how the playoff picture in the Big Sky Conference shakes out. Eastern Washington and Montana State are in solidly, but both teams could fall from the seed-line with a loss this Saturday. The third bid from the Big Sky will come down between Northern Arizona and Cal Poly, and sure enough, the Lumberjacks and Mustangs will battle it out in Flagstaff this Saturday. While both teams are currently 8-2 and 6-1 in Big Sky play, I think Northern Arizona will win at home behind RB Zach Bauman and a defense that should match up fine against Cal Poly’s strong ground attack. The winner will secure a spot in the playoffs while the loser will be on the bubble, likely on the outside looking in thanks to potential bid-stealers from the Big South and the Patriot League.

Speaking of bid-stealers, how about Colgate? The Raiders practically came out of nowhere to upset previously undefeated Lehigh 35-24. Now, Colgate sits 5-0 in the Patriot League and have secured their first trip to the FCS playoffs since 2008.

Tags: FCS Playoffs Football

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