The FCS Selection Committee has spoken. Following three months of gridiron action, the field of 24 teams is set. While, it was no surprise to see North Dakota State get the No. 1 overall seed after finishing the regular season undefeated, the rest of the bracket raised a lot of eyebrows. Let’s take a look at the field, and as always, BetDSI will be the place for your FCS playoff betting.
National Seeds (These teams receive first-round byes)
No. 1 North Dakota State
No. 2 Weber State
No. 3 Eastern Washington
No. 4 Kennesaw State
No. 5 South Dakota State
No. 6 UC Davis
No. 7 Maine
No. 8 Colgate
Kennesaw State needing five overtimes to beat a Jacksonville State team that has underachieved this season likely cost the Owls the No. 2 overall seed. Kennesaw State went 10-1 during the regular season, but the Owls played in the very weak Big South, and that likely kept them from getting one of the top three seeds despite spending much of the year as the No. 2 team in the country. Now, the Owls’ road to Frisco will likely go through Fargo.
Related: College Football Betting Guide
The Selection Committee loved the top teams in the Big Sky. Weber State, Eastern Washington, and UC Davis all finished at 7-1 in the conference and 9-2 overall, and they were rewarded with three of the top six seeds overall. We’re a little surprised to see the Wildcats as the No. 2 overall seed though. While it makes sense on paper considering the Wildcats squeaked out a win against Eastern Washington, this team was not as dominant as No. 2 seeds normally are, and there is a good chance they get knocked off.
Seeing Colgate get a national seed was a little surprising too. The Raiders had the best scoring defense in the FCS this season, but they also played in the second-worst conference in the nation. Their only notable non-conference win was a 10-3 victory over a New Hampshire team that was without its starting quarterback, and we will likely fade them in the postseason.
First-round FCS Playoff match-ups
Montana State vs Incarnate Word
Montana State won its way into the postseason by knocking off rival Montana in Missoula in the Brawl of the Wild. The Bobcats are likely to be sizeable favorites at home against an Incarnate Word team that we thought was on the outside of the bubble with no wins against fellow playoff teams.
James Madison vs. Delaware
These two CAA rivals didn’t play this year, so the committee was allowed to pair them together in the first round. This should be a defensive struggle as these are two of the best defenses in the country.
Towson vs. Duquesne
Towson is going to be a decent favorite here. Duquesne won the worst conference in the country, and NEC teams typically get blasted in the playoffs. Tom Flacco has been phenomenal this season in leading the Tigers to a postseason bid.
Wofford vs. Elon
These two teams could have met in the postseason last year, but the Phoenix lost to Furman by a point in the first round of the playoffs. Wofford can rightfully feel slighted for not earning a national seed. The committee seemed to greatly undervalue the Southern Conference this year by making the Terriers play in the first round and leaving Furman out of the postseason entirely.
Nicholls State vs. San Diego
San Diego showed that it can hang with the big boys last year by trouncing Northern Arizona on the road in the first round of the playoffs. The Toreros won’t be underestimated by the Colonels, but they are making the longest road trip of any team playing in the first round.
Northern Iowa vs. Lamar
Both Northern Iowa and Lamar could have been left out of the postseason by the committee given their performances during the regular season. The Panthers should be a decent favorite on the FCS betting line though, as they have one of the best homefield advantages in the country. This is Lamar’s first trip to the postseason since resurrecting its football program in 2010.
Jacksonville State vs. East Tennessee State
The committee did the SoCon co-champions no favors by sending them to Jacksonville, Alabama for the first round of the playoffs. Jacksonville State needed some time to get going after losing three of the best players in the country in 2017, but the Gamecocks are rounding into shape coming into the postseason.
Southeast Missouri State vs. Stony Brook
Perhaps the only bigger surprise than Incarnate Word making it into the field was Stony Brook getting in. The Seawolves lost to previously winless in conference play Albany on Saturday, and we believed that killed their chances of making the postseason. The committee thought differently, and they even gave Stony Brook a winnable match-up against SEMO.