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Nov. 18 Playoff Projections

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In this last projection, I will go through what I think the committee will do. I see the last spot the one up for the most debate and we will see several 8 win teams not get in the field this year.

The following are the automatic bids in alphabetical order:
Bethune-Cookman--MEAC
Central Arkansas--Southland
Coastal Carolina--Big South
Colgate--Patriot
Eastern Illinois--IOhio Valley
Eastern Washington--Big Sky
Georgia Southern--Southern
North Dakota State--Missouri Valley
Villanova--CAA
Wagner--NEC

Here are the possible at-large teams (teams that got to the 7-win total) and my opinion on their status to get into the playoffs (GPI rankings prior to last week's games)
2. Montana State won 16-7 at Montana--in the playoffs without question at 10-1 overall (At-Large #1)
3. Sam Houston State lost 47-28 at (FBS) Texas A&M--in the playoffs without question at 8-3 overall (At-Large #2)
6. Illinois State hosted and lost 38-20 vs. North Dakota State--despite the home loss, in the playoffs at 8-3 from the GPI's top conference. (At-Large #3)
9. South Dakota State hosted and won 31-8 vs. South Dakota--In the playoffs with this win at 8-3. (At-Large #4)
10. Cal Poly won 42-34 at Northern Arizona--In the playoffs with this win at 8-3 (At-Large #5)
11. Old Dominion won 38-28 at James Madison--In the playoffs at 10-1 (At-Large #6)
12. Northern Arizona hosted and lost 42-34 vs. Cal Poly--Biggest debate on NAU. The Lumberjacks lost their last two games but the Big Sky is ranked as the #2 overall conference in the GPI. I think they are in at 8-3.
13. Appalachian State was idle--In the playoffs (At-Large #7) In the playoffs at 8-3.
14. Wofford lost 24-7 at (FBS) South Carolina (At-Large #8) In the playoffs at 8-3.
15. Eastern Kentucky was idle (At-Large #9) In the playoffs at 9-2.
18. New Hampshire hosted and lost 64-35 vs. Towson--Out with the loss at home
20. Towson won 64-35 at New Hampshire--Only has 7-wins in the 6th ranked GPI conference
21. Youngstown State hosted and won 27-6 vs. Indiana State--Only has 7-wins despite three of their four losses to most likely FCS playoff teams.
23. Stony Brook was idle--Possible to get in with its 9-2 overall record but I don't think it will happen as I think NAU will still be ranked ahead of SBU.
24. Richmond won 21-14 at William & Mary--Ranked too low in the GPI to move up despite their 8-3 record.
25. Tennessee-Martin hosted and won 35-26 vs. Tennessee State--Despite a win over FBS Memphis, I don't see the OVC getting three teams in.
42. Lehigh won at Lafayette 38-21--A 6-5 Liberty team looks like the best win on the Mountain Hawks resume despite finishing 10-1.

The last spot will be the most contested spot. Here is a closer look at what I beleive the playoff committee is looking at this morning.

Last spot debate, Top Win; Losses
Northern Arizona FBS UNLV; FBS Arizona St, S. Utah, Cal Poly
Towson Villanova; FBS Kent St, FBS Louisiana St, James Madison, Old Dominion
Richmond Villanova; FBS Virginia, Old Dominion, New Hampshire
Lehigh Liberty; Colgate
Stony Brook FBS Army; FBS Syracuse, Liberty
Youngstown St FBS Pittsburgh; NDSU, Illinois St, SDSU, S Illinois
Tennessee-Martin FBS Memphis; FBS N Illinois, E Kentucky, Tennessee Tech
New Hampshire Richmond; FBS Minnesota, Old Dominion, Towson

With all of this, I think the Top 5 seeds will be as follows:
1. North Dakota State (10-1)
2. Montana State (10-1)
3. Eastern Washington (9-2)
4. Old Dominion (10-1)
5. Central Arkansas (9-2)

Here are my projected 1st round games.
Wagner @ Villanova
Colgate @ E Illinois
Coastal Carolina @ E Kentucky
Bethune-Cookman @ N Arizona

Here are my 2nd round games.
Colgate/EIU @ #1 N Dakota St
Bethune-Cookman/NAU @ #2 Montana St
Wagner/Villanova @ #3 E Washington
C Carolina/EKU @ #4 Old Dominion
Wofford @ #5 Central Arkansas
Appalachian St @ Sam Houston St
S Dakota St @ Georgia Southern
Cal Poly @ Illinois St

But we shall see at 1:30 Eastern time today what the true field will be. The last pick seems like the most debate and I do not envy the committee trying to select this team. There are 6-7 teams that could be selected for that spot and it would really be hard to debate which one is the better of them.

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