Tag Archives | playoffs
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.
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
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
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.
Rob Weiss, FCS Update:
The end of November is always an exciting time in FCS football. For 16 teams it means the beginning of a shot at the national championship. Starting in 2010 that number will jump to 20 with the addition of automatic bids for the Big South and NEC, and 2 more at-large bids.
When the playoffs started in 1978 there was only 4 teams involved. In 1981 the format changed to 8 teams. One year later the playoffs were expanded to 12 teams, with 4 teams getting a first round bye. The first 16 team playoff bracket was formed in 1986.
With the first change in over 20 years only a season away, another change is already brewing.
A little more than a month ago the rumors began spreading that the Pioneer Football League, a non-scholarship football only conference, was applying for an automatic bid. The league is in its 17th year of operation and it currently ranges from coast to coast. The ten team conference is composed of Butler, Campbell, Davidson, Dayton, Drake, Jacksonville, Marist, Morehead State, San Diego, and Valparaiso. Although the Pioneer League has not officially announced it’s intentions, the rumor was confirmed by Morehead State Athletic Director Brian Hutchinson. ( http://www.wkyt.com/wymtsports/headlines/61520037.html )
This announcement has stirred up a lot of arguments in the FCS community. Here are the two sides to that argument:
“The Pioneer League meets all requirements”- This is the positive side of the discussion, and it’s true. The Pioneer meets all of the requirements set forth by the NCAA for teams who want to apply for an automatic bid. They are one of three conferences who are eligible to apply for an autobid, but most likely the only one that will apply.
I agree with this side of the argument. There is no reason to keep a league from applying for an automatic bid if they meet all of the requirements put forth by the NCAA. If the NCAA plans to exclude them, they would have to change the language in the by-laws. If they Pioneer League is denied, they will be the only qualified applicant who has been denied. The SWAC and Ivy show no interest in participating at this juncture.
“The Pioneer League is not competitive”- The other side of the argument is that the teams in the Pioneer League do not schedule properly and are not competitive when playing against teams from the other auto bid conferences. Statistically, since 2002 the Pioneer League is 7-25 against teams from auto bid conferences. They were outscored in these games by a total of 1132-486. In the 7 games that they won, their opponents combined for a record of 18-54, although one of those wins was against a 2007 Fordham team that won the Patriot League and lost in the first round to Massachusetts. There are two teams, Butler and Campbell, that did not play teams from automatic bid conferences during this period. The other issue that makes the Pioneer League appear to be weak is the losses to sub D-I opponents. The 10 teams in the league have combined for 53 losses to sub D-I opponents since 2002.
It’s hard to disagree with this side. If the Pioneer League intends to participate in the playoffs, some changes need to be made in order for them to be competitive. The changes need to start with the schedules. The teams in the Pioneer League need to schedule less sub D-I teams and more teams from auto-bid conferences. Hopefully with some changes the Pioneer League will find itself competitive and their playoff match-ups won’t end up like a 1 seed playing a 16 seed in March Madness.