The next-to-last week of the FCS season didn't prove a whole lot as only one conference automatic bid was determined, adding to the three that were already known. There was also very little shake-up in the FCS Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com where the last week's top six all won.
No. 10 Samford was added to the list of teams that have clinched automatic bids when the Bulldogs claimed the SoCon with a 35-24 win at No. 15 Chattanooga, while No. 11 Mercer was eliminated with a 23-13 loss at home to No. 16 Furman. Samford and Furman were both victorious as underdogs. The win left Samford undefeated in conference play while the Paladins' only SoCon loss was at home to the Bulldogs on October 1.
The others who had already clinched AQ bids were South Dakota State (MVFC), St. Francis (NEC), and Holy Cross (Patriot).
No. 6 Princeton was the highest-ranked team to lose over the weekend as the Tigers fell 24-20 at Yale, while No. 25 Penn also lost, 37-14 at Harvard. Now, No. 22 Yale can take the simple route to the Ivy League title with a win at Harvard on Saturday, but the Tigers, Crimson and Quakers are not eliminated. If Penn wins at Princeton, and Harvard beats Yale in "The Game" at Cambridge, all four will share the title.
The coming week also sees "The Brawl of the Wild" with Montana at Montana State, the Florida Classic in Orlando between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman, and the one simply called "The Rivalry" with Lehigh at Lafayette. You'll have to wait a week for the Bayou Classic between Grambling and Southern as it takes place on Thanksgiving weekend Saturday in New Orleans.
Jackson State clinched the SWAC East with a 27-13 win over Alabama A&M in Mobile and Prairie View only needs a win at MVSU this week to clinch the SWAC West. The Tigers will host the SWAC title game no matter what happens this week. But Jackson State will be looking for its second straight perfect season in conference play when the Tigers visit Alcorn on Saturday.
North Carolina Central clinched the MEAC with a 48-14 win at Norfolk State.
Champions of the MEAC and SWAC meet annually in the Celebration Bowl which will take place in Atlanta on December 17 at Noon.
The SWAC, MEAC do not receive an auto bid to the FCS playoffs, but can receive an at-large bid. The Ivy League does not participate in postseason football.
Sunday, November 20th is the date for the FCS Playoff selection show on ESPNU at 12:30 p.m. ET. The field will be comprised of 24 schools with 11 automatic bids to conference champions, and 13 at-large bids determined by the same committee that will seed the teams. Those bids go to champions of the ASUN/WAC Alliance, Big Sky, Big South, CAA, MVFC, NEC, OVC, Patriot, Pioneer, SoCon and Southland.
Additionally, Jacksonville State, Lindenwood, Merrimack, Sam Houston, St. Thomas, Stonehill, Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Commerce and Utah Tech are all ineligible.
These conferences remain to be decided:
According to NCAA .com, these teams remain in contention
ASUN - Central Arkansas (3-1), Eastern Kentucky (2-3) and Austin Peay (3-2) are in the hunt. Jacksonville State actually leads all 3 with a 4-0 record, but the Gamecocks are ineligible for the playoffs as they transition to the FBS next year.
Thus, Central Arkansas gets the AQ bid if the Bears win at home over Jacksonville State, or if Eastern Kentucky loses at home to Kennesaw State. If Central Arkansas loses and Eastern Kentucky wins, both teams will be tied with Austin Peay and the conference will determine who gets the AQ bid.
The only eligible WAC members Abilene Christian (3-0) and Stephen F. Austin (2-1).
WAC - Stephen F. Austin (2-1) and Abilene Christian (2-2) face off in Abilene on Saturday. Southern Utah was the only other eligible WAC contender as Sam Houston State is moving to the FBS next year while Utah Tech and Tarleton State are not eligible until 2024.
Once each conference champ is decided, the ASUN and WAC champions will be compared for the auto-bid. Details here.
Sacramento State won 45-17 at Portland State on Friday, and Idaho lost 44-26 at home to UC Davis on Saturday to eliminate the Vandals. Now it's down to the Hornets and Montana State. Both are bound to get bids. Sacramento State hosts UC Davis on Saturday while Montana State visits Montana. Each needs the other to lose. If both win, the Big Sky will decide which school gets the AQ bid.
The regular season finale becomes a de facto playoff game as Gardner-Webb host North Carolina A&T to decide the title. Both are undefeated in conference play while the Aggies are 7-3 over-all and the Runnin' Bulldogs are 5-5. Gardner-Webb is coming off a 42-35 win at Campbell for its 3rd straight victory while NC A&T notched its 7th straight win with a 20-10 home victory over Charleston Southern. It should be noted that 3 of G-W's non-conference games were at FBS members Coastal Carolina, Marshall and Liberty. Further, the Bulldogs lost by just 4 at Coastal (9-1) and 1 at Liberty (8-2).
This has been a highly entertaining race all season and three teams are still in the hunt as William & Mary, Richmond, and New Hampshire are all 6-1. William & Mary and Richmond play head-to-head so the loser of that game is eliminated. and if Richmond is the winner, the Spiders get the AQ bid as they own the head-to-head tie-breaker with New Hampshire. If William & Mary beats Richmond AND New Hampshire loses at Maine, the Tribe win the AQ Bid.
William & Mary and New Hampshire did not play each other so, if both win this week, the tie-breaker will be the point differential in conference games with a 21-point maximum per game. Currently, William & Mary's point differential is +67 and New Hampshire's point differential is +61.
It's all up to SEMO and UT-Martin which are both 3-0. Southeast Missouri hosts Murray State on Saturday while UT-Martin hosts Eastern Illinois. If one wins and the other loses, the winner gets the bid. If both win or lose. the AQ bid will be determined by a coin flip.
Davidson (7-3, 5-2) hosts Dayton (8-2, 6-1) in a de facto playoff game for the AQ bid. St. Thomas (9-1, 7-0) clinched at least a share of the title with a 23-0 win at home over Stetson, but is ineligible for the playoff as the Tommies are in their first season in the FCS. Davidson is coming off a 31-14 loss at San Diego while a hot Dayton team pulled away from Morehead State in the second half for a 49-27 win at home in the snow for its fifth straight victory. Both of Dayton's losses were by routs on the road, falling 49-16 at MVFC member Youngstown and 31-0 at Pioneer rival Butler. Davidson beat Butler at home 31-0. The top 4 teams in the Pioneer - St. Thomas, Dayton, Davidson and Butler - are all undefeated at home.
There are still three teams in contention as NW State (LA), Incarnate Word and SE Louisiana are each 4-1. The Lions (7-3 over-all) own the tie-breaker over the both the Demons (4-6 over-all) and the Cardinals (9-1 over-all). Therefore, SE Louisiana clinches the bid with a win this Thursday at Nicholls. A loss by the Lions would turn Saturday's game in Natchitoches into a de facto playoff game when NW State hosts Incarnate Word.
There will be 119 FBS vs. FCS matchups this season with App State, Army and Marshall each playing two such games, and 116 other FBS schools playing one apiece.
Lamar visited New Mexico State on Saturday and lost 51-14. The final FBS-FCS matchups occur on November 19 with Austin Peay at Alabama, Utah Tech at BYU, ETSU at Mississippi State, and North Alabama at Memphis.
The FBS is 107-8 (.930) vs. the FCS this year, and 1,681-148 (.919) since we began tracking this in 2003.
Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24
September 24: Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10
PRINCETON - Had won 10 straight over-all
Last: Lost 24-20 at Yale on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Hosts Penn on Saturday, November 19.
HOLY CROSS - Won 10 straight over-all.
Last: Won 36-29 at home over Bryant on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Visits Georgetown on Saturday, November 19.
JACKSON STATE - Won 10 straight over-all
Last: Won 27-13 vs. Alabama A&M at Mobile, Alabama on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Visits Alcorn State on Saturday, November 19.
SACRAMENTO STATE - Won 10 straight over-all. Won 18 straight conference games. Won 10 straight road games.
Last: Won 45-17 at Portland State on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Hosts UC Davis on Saturday, November 19.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE - Won 10 straight over-all
Last: Won 31-7 at home over Illinois State on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Awaits NCAA FCS Playoff bid.
MONTANA STATE - Won 17 straight home games.
Last: Won 72-28 at Cal Poly on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Hosts Montana on Saturday, November 19.
WESTERN ILLINOIS - Lost 12 straight over-all.
Last: Lost 21-0 at home to Indiana State on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Visits Illinois State on Saturday, November 19.
WAGNER - Lost 19 straight road games.
Last: Lost 38-28 at home to Sacred Heart on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Visits Duquesne on Saturday, November 19.
PRESBYTERIAN - Lost 15 straight conference games.
Last: Lost 52-28 at home to Dayton on Saturday, November 5.
Next: Visits Stetson on Saturday, November 19.
HOUSTON CHRISTIAN - Lost 10 straight home games.
Last: Lost 21-10 at home to McNeese State on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Visits Tarleton on Saturday, November 19.
GEORGETOWN - Lost 10 straight home games.
Last: Lost 24-21 in OT at home to Bucknell on Saturday, November 12.
Next: Hosts Holy Cross on Saturday, November 19.