Tag Archives | FCS Update

CAA Preseason Breakdown

8/3/2010

X Delaware 10-1  7-1 – I’m not even going to try to work out tiebreakers. Delaware comes back strong.

X William and Mary 9-2 7-1 – The Tribe have another great season.

X New Hampshire 9-2  7-1 – UNH continues to stretch its playoff appearances.

Y Villanova 9-2  6-2 – Defending champion returns to defend the throne.

UMass 5-6  4-4 – Things just aren’t right in Amherst.

Richmond 5-6 4-4 – CAA is tough and the Spiders just have to get things back on course.

James Madison 5-6  3-5 – The Dukes just can’t turn the corner.

Towson 2-9 1-7 – Same old for the Tigers.

Maine 3-8  1-7 – Another rough year for Maine.  Tough schedule and the CAA is strong.

Rhode Island 1-10 0-8 – Maybe the PL or NEC would be a better fit?

0

MVFC Preseason synapsis

8/3/2010

With the season right around the corner, I decided it was time to start the conference by conference breakdowns.

X Southern Illinois 9-2 7-1 – Only slipping up once in conference and owning a win over UNI, SIU earns the MVFC auto-bid.

Y  Northern Iowa  9-2  7-1 – Northern Iowa returns to the playoffs with an at-large bid.

Y  Illinois State 9-2 6-2 – Illinois State makes their return to the playoffs with at at-large bid.

Z  North Dakota State 7-4 5-3 – NDSU is a bubble candidate for their first playoff appearance.

South Dakota State 6-5 5-3 – The Jacks fall a little short this year.

Youngstown State 6-5  4-4 – The Penguins are rebuilding, just a year away from contention.

Indiana State 3-8 1-7 – The Sycamores take a step in the right direction.

Western Illinois 2-9 1-7 – Bad situations in Macomb carry over to 2010. Maybe the healing can begin.

Missouri State 1-10 1-7 – Terry Allen says his goodbyes and cleans out his office.

2

Championship Game

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

 Unfortunately this week has been very busy. This means two things. I can’t make it to Chattanooga, and I don’t have much time to write.

I apologize for not giving this game the rundown it deserves. Here’s a quicky.

Montana has been clicking on all cyclinders since the end of the South Dakota State game.

Villanova has played very well with the exception of some issues in the William and Mary game.

The key in this game is how the Montana offense will handle the 3-3-5 defense. People have argued back and forth about this in the comment section. Here’s the issue: It’s not that Montana has not played good defenses. It’s that they haven’t seen a 3-3-5. Those of you who have ever faced a 3-3-5 understand the issues. In a 3-3-5, there are 3 down linemen, 3 LBs, and 5 DBs. Essesntially every play is a blitz, and as an offensive lineman, it is hard to make your reads and know who to block. So the keys will be how well they scout it, how well they understand it, and how they adapt to it during the game.

We all know the rest about both of these teams. It’s been drilled into us every week since Thanksgiving.

I’ve got to say:

Montana Grizzlies 24  Villanova Wildcats 20

0

Quarterfinal Recap

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

If the first round predictions made me look educated, the quarterfinals made me look foolish. 1 out of 4, although the App St-Richmond game came down to the wire.

William and Mary 24   Southern Illinois 3

This game started out as a defensive battle. For most of the first half, W&M could not get into Saluki territory. The Salukis were moving the ball with ease, but then the Tribe defense would stiffen up. The Salukis were held to two FG attempts, one of which was no good. William and Mary broke across the 50 yard line on their last two drives. The first drive resulted in the tying FG, the second added a TD that would’ve been enough to seal the win. 

The Saluki playing calling in the second half was terrible, but that’s not to say that the Tribe defense was not spectacular.

The Tribe and Coach Laycock head to Villanova where I think they have a great match-up with Villanova.

 

Montana 51  Stephen F. Austin 0

This game was over very quickly. The Griz were up 10-0 after one quarter, 38-0 at the half, and 48-0 after 3 quarters.

There was a point where I thought, “if anyone can come back, it would be this SFA offense.” Then there was turnover after turnover after turnover. When all was said and done the Lumberjacks was committed 10 turnovers to the Grizzlies 1. 

Great play from the Griz combined with a lackluster day from the Jacks made for a terrible day for fans of the Southland conference.

 

Villanova 46  New Hampshire 7

New Hampshire’s first play of the game resulted in a Villanova TD. That was the way the day went for UNH. 

With the field covered in a blanket of snow, the UNH lines were no match for Villanova. Nova rushed for 343 yards and only threw 5 passes all day.

UNH attempted 39 passes but only completed 17 for 150 yards. Starting QB RJ Toman was benched with a concussion after being hit again and again. The UNH line gave their QBs no protection.

The other staggering stat is UNHs -66 yards of rushing offense. 

 

Appalachian State 35  Richmond 31

This was by far the best game of the day. Richmond held a slim lead for much of it, but then looked like they were going to pull away in the 4th quarter.

Things looked really bad for the Mountaineers when Richmond’s Eric McBride stripped the ball away on a punt return and ran it in for a TD with 3:26 remaining. (Editorial: This was a terrible play by the refs. 3 Richmond defenders had the ball carrier stopped while McBride was allowed to pull on the ball. The play should have blown dead, but was not, and there is no replay in the quarterfinals. I’m not sure that would be reviewable anyway).

App St continued the offensive dominance they showed in the 4th quarter and put a dagger in the Spiders heart with :10 left. 

Richmond had a great team this year but now looks to replace important seniors, and Head Coach Mike London who has agreed to terms with Virginia.

0

2nd Round Playoff Breakdown

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

In last weeks predictions I correctly picked 7 out of the 8 games. This week might be a little bit tougher as every game seems like a toss-up. Here are my thoughts on this weeks match-ups.

Stephen F. Austin @ (1) Montana

Montana has been one of the most inconsistent teams in FCS football this year. Now that said, they are also the most consistent winners. All year I have said that “good teams win games”. Montana has done that, even if it took a last second FG to beat Idaho State.

Last weekend showed what Montana is capable of. Scoring 40 points to grab a comeback victory is no easy task, especially for a team that has played two QBs for most of the season.

I would argue that Montana is hitting their stride at just the right time, something that seems to be fairly normal for Bobby Hauck led teams. 

Stephen F. Austin has had a great year offensively. The Lumberjacks air attack was complemented by a 100 yard rusher last week. My concern is the Lumberjack defense. I don’t think they are up to the task at hand this weekend.

Montana Grizzlies 45  Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 35

 

Appalachian State at (4) Richmond

In last weekend’s game, the Spiders held on for the 3 point win over Elon. The win came in spite of Richmond’s 3 turnovers to Elon’s 0.  Richmond is the defending champion who knows what it takes, and is playing good football right now. Richmond will need to keep the turnover margin a little closer against this opponent.

Appalachian State didn’t look like they were in championship form last weekend. While SC State was no pushover, the Mountaineers won the game on a botched special teams play that should have put the Bulldogs in the lead. The App State defense may be on track, but the offense is not clicking. Dropped passes, Armanti’s health, and other factors have me questioning them a bit this week.

Richmond Spiders 24  Appalachian State Mountaineers 17

 

New Hampshire @ (2) Villanova

This game features a rematch of a great regular season CAA matchup. The Wildcats faced off the first time on October 10th in Durham, NH. Each team finished with 1 turnover and New Hampshire pulled out a 28-24 win to give Villanova their lone loss on the year.

Last weekend Villanova faced a Holy Cross team that liked to air it out. The Wildcat defense gave up 393 yards and allowed 28 points. Luckily the Villanova offense was up to the task and put up 38 points of their own while piling up 537 yards of total offense.  Villanova’s offense has remained balance all season. If they continue to stay balance and keep turnovers to a minimum, they will be in this game until the end. 

For the other Wildcats, last weekend was a little bit different. New Hampshire flew home from Louisiana with a 49-13 win over McNeese State. Despite only having one turnover, the Cowboy offense only managed 13 points on 326 yards of offense. New Hampshire controlled the field position game all day. 

I don’t think either one of these teams holds a real strong home field advantage. I expect a game very similar to the first match-up, and I also expect the same result.

New Hampshire Wildcats 31   Villanova Wildcats 24

 

William and Mary at (3) Southern Illinois

After watching the 2009 season unfold, I think this is the closest game of the quarterfinals. William and Mary is easily interchangeable with any of the 4 seeds, their only losses in close games to Richmond and Villanova. 

Southern Illinois had it easy last week, pounding on a weak Eastern Illinois team. The Salukis pounded the Panthers 48-7. William and Mary also too it easy last week and humiliated Weber State 38-0. Both of these teams should come into the game well rested.

The story of this game is SIU RB Deji Karim. His success will be a large factor in who wins this game. That said, both teams are very solid on offense and defense.

I think that the little things decide the winner of this game: Specials teams, turnovers, field position, weather. Travel may also come into play for the Tribe.

Southern Illinois Salukis 21  William and Mary Tribe 20

0

2nd Round picks

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

As an early teaser, here are my 2nd round picks.

 

Richmond over App St

New Hampshire over Villanova

Southern Illinois over William and Mary

Montana over Stephen F Austin

 

All games should be close. Home team wins 3 out of 4.

Montana over Richmond

New Hampshire over Southern Illinois

 

Montana champion.

 

Oh how things can change in a week. It’s all about matchups.

More thoughts coming in the next few days.

9

1st Round Playoff Breakdown

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

South Dakota State at (1) Montana

This is a match-up of two teams I’m pretty familiar with. Both teams have played up and down this year.

For Montana the key is going to be QB play. They have switched QBs on and off and need to have the right chemistry on Saturday. I had the opportunity to watch the Griz against UC-Davis, Northern Arizona, Weber State, and Northern Colorado. The offense and defense were both all over the place. The UC-Davis game was a low scoring game that was tied in the 4th quarter, but the NAU game was an OT shootout. The team clicked on both sides of the ball against Weber State.

South Dakota State could’ve helped themselves with a win over Minnesota. The Jacks had the ball in a tie game with 5 minutes left but fumbled it on their own 20 yd line to give the game away.

I’ve seen the Jacks twice this year. Their games against Northern Iowa and Cal Poly were fairly similar with the exception of the result. SDSU should not have lost the Cal Poly game, but injury to a QB can really change your chemistry.

I see this game as a toss-up with the edge to the home team, but if the Griz are clicking, this could be a blow out.

Montana Grizzlies 31  South Dakota State Jackrabbits 27

 

Eastern Washington @ Stephen F. Austin

I have not had the opportunity to watch either of these teams this year.

Stephen F. Austin saw their offensive success through a huge passing game, while Eastern Washington has been a little more balanced than in the past.

If Eastern Washington can pull off the defensive gameplan that Texas State used against SFA, it could be a long day for the Lumberjacks.

Eastern Washington Eagles 35  Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 28

 

Elon @ (4) Richmond

Both of these teams have lacked some consistency this year. Richmond struggled in some games they should have won easily and blew their game against Villanova. Elon didn’t show up for their big games against Wake Forest and Appalachian State.

I had the opportunity to watch Richmond a few times this year. They had issues in their game against a poor VMI team.  The team struggled to get any rhythm going. In their game against Villanova they let the Wildcats score with about a minute left, then drove down for a chip shot FG that was wide left from the right hash. Now the team has a path that could run them through Missoula instead of a home path to Chatty. (A semifinal match-up against Montana would make for an interesting game). 

Elon has had a great passing game this year. Their SoS was very poor and their performance against Appalachian State has a lot of people wondering.

Richmond Spiders 24  Elon Phoenix 21

 

South Carolina State @ (4) Appalachian State

A rematch of last years first round leaves many of us wondering if we’ll see a similar game. The MEAC champ went into Boone last year and really hung around.

I don’t think that will be the case this year. Last year the Mountaineers had an unhealthy Armanti Edwards and were not clicking. This App State team is scary to me. They seem to be clicking at the right time and have great chemistry.

South Carolina State’s only loss is to South Carolina. They won’t be a pushover, but I’m just not sure they have enough.

Appalachian State Mountaineers 38  South Carolina State Bulldogs  28

 

Eastern Illinois @ (3) Southern Illinois

This will be one of those lopsided first round match-ups.

The Panthers limped their way into the field, needing an EKU loss to get the autobid.

The Salukis have beat every team put in front of them after a near loss to FBS Marshall.

Look for EIU QB Jake Christensen to have a long day. SIU will pound the ball on the EIU offense and waltz into the second round.

Southern Illinois Salukis 38  Eastern Illinois 17

 

Weber State at William and Mary

This also has the makings of a lopsided match-up. Weber State struggled against tough competition and William and Mary was a FG away from being seeded in this years field.

After seeing William and Mary blow the Villanova game, they have been clicking ever since.

William and Mary Tribe 24   Weber State Wildcats 14

 

Holy Cross at (2) Villanova

This game is basically over before it begins. As long as the ‘Nova pass defense shows up, this one will be over quickly.

Holy Cross relies on it’s passing attack and struggled against a couple opponents. Villanova played one of the hardest schedules in the country and came through with only one loss.

Villanova Wildcats 31   Holy Cross Crusaders 14

 

New Hampshire at McNeese State

If New Hampshire had any kind of facilities and home crowd they would be at home. Their team deserves to be at home almost every year but gets stuck taking flights across the country. New Hampshire is the clear favorite in this road match-up.

As one of two upsets I picked, this is the only game I feel will be a clear cut winner. New Hampshire beat some tough opponents and also went on the road to get a FBS win. McNeese has a good team and a great enviroment, but that won’t stop the Wildcats.

New Hampshire Wildcats 24  McNeese State Cowboys 14

 

With expected 2nd round matchups, my current pick for national champion is Appalachian State. Armanti Edwards is the only QB in FCS football that can single handedly win games. If he is truly healthy, and stays healthy, he’ll get his 3rd national championship.

 

2

First draft of final playoff predictions

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

So many bubble teams lost. Here’s the first attempt….may change before selection.

1 Villanova vs. Holy Cross

SC State vs. William and Mary

Appalachian State vs. New Hampshire

4. Richmond vs. Elon

2 . Southern Illinois vs. Eastern Illinois

McNeese State vs. Weber State

South Dakota State vs. Eastern Washington

3. Montana vs. Stephen F Austin

4

Playoff Predictions 11/18

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

Not much has changed since last week. If the right teams win on Saturday, the bracket should be a pretty easy pick for the committee. The bracket will release at 3pm EST on ESPNNews if my info is correct.

Autobids:

Big Sky: Montana – locked up            CAA: Villanova – Still have to play Delaware, and will be in the playoffs either way         MEAC: South Carolina State – locked up       MVFC: Southern Illinois– locked up       OVC: Eastern Illinois  – locked up        Patriot: Holy Cross – locked up    SoCon: Appalachian State – locked up       Southland: Stephen F. Austin – locked up with a win over winless Northwestern State

At-large bids:

New Hampshire(2nd CAA) – at 9-2 or 8-3,     Richmond(3rd CAA) – 9-2 at worst,     William and Mary(4th CAA) – 9-2 at worst    , Eastern Washington (2nd Big Sky) in for sure with a win and a loss by Montana State     , Elon(2nd SoCon) – in with a win over Samford,     South Dakota State (2nd MVFC) in with a win over Western Illinois,      Northern Iowa (3rd MVFC) in with a win over Illinois State,  McNeese State(2nd Southland) in with a win over Central Arkansas,

Last Four In:

 Elon, McNeese State, Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington

Last Four out:

Liberty, Weber State, Montana State, Delaware

Bracket:

Eastern Illinois @ (1) Southern Illinois 
Elon @ McNeese State

Eastern Washington @ South Dakota State     
William and Mary @ (4) Appalachian State

New Hampshire @Northern Iowa
Stephen F Austin @ (2)Montana

Richmond @ South Carolina State
Holy Cross @ (3)Villanova

 

Bracket Analysis:

The bracket gets harder and harder as seeds change and the balance of east to west changes.

Eastern Illinois to Southern Illinois seems like a no brainer. Has happened many times in the past 10 years. 

Elon at McNeese is a bit of a stretch. Might change before my final bracket on Sunday.

Eastern Washington at South Dakota State makes sense to me. 2nd place team from the MVFC with good attendance gets another Western team.

William and Mary to Boone looks doable.

UNH @ UNI? Why not? The two have met in the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years. Sorry Panther and Wildcat fans.

SFA to Missoula. SLC traditionally gets sent to the Griz. Especially when Cal Poly isn’t in. McNeese would bid more money so the NCAA sticks SFA on the road.

Richmond at SC State? SC State should be at home, whether or not they are remains to be seen. Especially with their AD pushing for the Heritage Bowl.

Holy Cross to Nova should be the matchup.

 

If this were the bracket, my quarter predictions would be:

 

Elon @ (1) Southern Illinois

South Dakota State at (4) Appalachian State

New Hampshire @ (2) Montana

Richmond @ (3) Villanova

 

Semis:

(4) Appalachian State @ (1) Southern Illinois

New Hampshire @ Richmond

 

Championship:

Appalachian State vs. Richmond

 

Champion:

Appalachian State

 

Appalachian State appears to be clicking at just the right time. I feel like Armanti Edwards is one of the few quarterbacks in FCS football that can really take over a game. There are some good quarterbacks, but Armanti may be the only one who can single handedly win games.

31

The Final Countdown 11/16

Rob Weiss, FCS Update

What a great time to be a FCS football fan, eh?

We’re down to one final week to decide all 16 playoff spots. 

Here’s a breakdown of last weekends action, as well as a look at the week ahead.

1. -  Montana wrapped up the Big Sky autobid with a 38-10 win over Northern Colorado. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be coasting this week. The Griz head to Bozeman to take on in-state rival Montana State. A win should lock up a top 2 seed for the Griz.

2.- Will the Big Sky get 2 teams in? There is a fight for a possible 2nd Big Sky bid into the playoffs Montana State, Weber State, and Eastern Washington are all 5-2 in Big Sky play. Montana State beat Weber State. Weber State beat Eastern Washington, and Eastern Washington beat Montana State.

Montana State and Eastern Washington can each get to 8 wins this weekend, but all three teams can only reach 7 D-I wins. Most prognosticators lean towards Eastern Washington, but realistically any of the three could end up in the field with a win.

3.- Liberty wraps up share of the Big South autobid. Liberty can move their record to 9-2 this weekend and also win the Big South outright with a win over Stony Brook. Will it be enough to get them an at-large bid?

4.- The CAA should end up with 4 playoff bids. Delaware and Massachusetts were for all purposes eliminated this weekend. That leaves Villanova, Richmond, William and Mary, and New Hampshire. 

5.- South Carolina State wrapped up the MEAC this weekend with a 37-13 win over Morgan State. By far the best team in the MEAC, but how will they compare to other playoff teams?  Florida A&M removed themselves from at-large consideration when they were shut out by Hampton 25-0.

6.-  In the MVFC, South Dakota State was in a close game with FBS Minnesota, but fell short, 16-13. The loss moved SDSU to 7-3 on the season. A win over Western Illinois this weekend would put the Jacks in the playoffs. 

7.- Southern Illinois wrapped up the 2009 MVFC title on Saturday with a 44-24 win over Missouri State. A win over Southeast Missouri State this weekend should wrap up a top 2 seed for the Salukis.

8.- Northern Iowa kept it’s playoff hopes alive with a 34-0 win over Western Illinois. The Panthers head to Illinois State this weekend with their playoff chances on the line. A loss would eliminate the Panthers from contention.

9.- Eastern Illinois wrapped up the OVC autobid this past weekend with a 49-13 win over Tennessee-Martin. The Panthers can win the OVC outright with a win over Tennessee State on Saturday.

10.- Holy Cross secured the Patriot League’s autobid with a win over Lafayette in a 28-26 shootout. Lafayette may be an outside bubble team come Sunday.

11.- Appalachian State shut down Elon on Saturday, 27-10. The Mountaineers secured the SoCon autobid with the win. Elon fell to 8-2 and will be in the playoffs with a win this weekend over Samford. A loss would put the Phoenix on the bubble.

12.- The Southland race comes down to the final weekend. Stephen F Austin and McNeese State are deadlocked in the standings, with SFA winning the head to head matchup. Both teams will be in the playoffs with a win this weekend. A loss jumbles the situation. Especially if both teams were to lose, in which case Texas State and Southeast Louisiana could come into play.

0