The crystal ball: FCS playoff projections

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - The agonizing aspect of bracketology is usually selecting the final couple at-large bids, but uncertainty in the likely one-bid conferences is adding intrigue to the FCS playoff field as the season heads into mid-October.

Are Monmouth (Big South) and Lafayette (Patriot) for real? Will preseason favorites Duquesne (Northeast) and San Diego (Pioneer) weather the competition?

So much changes in the FCS week to week, so the crystal ball can have some haze in it.

The NCAA will release the 24-team playoff pairings on Nov. 19.

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PROJECTED BIDS BY CONFERENCE

* - Automatic qualifier

Big Sky (3): *Eastern Washington (4-2), Northern Arizona (3-2), Weber State (4-1)

Big South (1): *Monmouth (5-1)

CAA (5): Elon (5-1), *James Madison (5-0), New Hampshire (4-1), Richmond (3-2), Villanova (4-2)

Missouri Valley (6): Illinois State (4-1), *North Dakota State (5-0), South Dakota (5-0), South Dakota State (4-1), Western Illinois (4-1), Youngstown State (3-2)

Northeast (1): *Duquesne (4-1)

Ohio Valley (1): *Jacksonville State (4-1)

Patriot (1): *Lafayette (2-4)

Pioneer (1): *San Diego (3-2)

Southern (3): Samford (4-2), Western Carolina (4-2), *Wofford (5-0)

Southland (2): *Central Arkansas (4-1), Sam Houston State (4-1)

Moved In: Duquesne, Lafayette, Monmouth, Northern Arizona

Dropped Out: Charleston Southern, Colgate, Saint Francis, Stony Brook

On the Bubble: McNeese (5-1), Montana (4-2), Nicholls (4-2)

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STATS PROJECTED PAIRINGS

Top 8 seeds receive first-round byes

(Central Arkansas and Elon seed lines adjusted for bracket balance)

Villanova-Western Carolina winner at No. 1 seed James Madison

Samford-Illinois State winner at No. 8 seed Central Arkansas

Duquesne-Youngstown State winner at No. 5 seed Western Illinois

San Diego-Eastern Washington winner at No. 4 seed Jacksonville State

Weber State-South Dakota State winner at No. 3 seed South Dakota

Lafayette-Richmond winner at No. 6 seed Wofford

Northern Arizona-Sam Houston State winner at No. 7 seed Elon

Monmouth-New Hampshire winner at No. 2 seed North Dakota State

Updated October 10, 2017

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