FCS Quarterfinals Preview

April 26, 2021 by Staff

The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com was 6-2 in picking first round winners outright and 5-3 against the spread. Meanwhile, the human picks at CollegeFootballPoll.com went 6-2 SU while Sam Herder at HeroSports.org was 7-1.

All three sources - the CFP Rankings, CFP Human and Herder - still have their predicted champion in play. The computer is riding North Dakota State to the top, while the CFP human element tabbed Sam Houston State and Herder took top-seed South Dakota State to go all the way.

The computer's straight up losses in week 1 were its narrow miss on Monmouth's predicted upset of Sam Houston State, and like almost everyone, the upset of undefeated Weber State at home by Southern Illinois.

Monmouth rallied late to cut a 21-0 deficit to 21-15 and came up short of completing the comeback when the Bearkats intercepted a pass in their own end zone in the final minute of play.

The CFP human misses were Weber being bounced, as well as coming up empty on a predicted upset by Eastern Washington over North Dakota State.

Herder only missed on Weber being ousted by the Salukis.

Week 2 Matchups

All of these are being hosted by the top 4 seeds (all times EDT).

Southern Illinois at No. 1 South Dakota State (ESPN-2, 9:00 P.M. Sunday)
Delaware at No. 4 Jacksonville State (ESPN-3, 3:00 P.M. Sunday)
North Dakota at No. 3 James Madison (ESPN-2, 6 P.M. Sunday)
North Dakota State at No. 2 Sam Houston State (ESPN, 3:00 P.M. Sunday)

The computer has every seed, except No. 2 Sam Houston State, advancing to the semifinals. (SEE: Picks)

Here is how each of the three sources stack-up with their selections this week. Bottom team is home.

Game Computer (Spread) CFP Human Herder
SIU (6-3) at
#1 SDSU (6-1)
Delaware (6-0) at
#4 J'ville State (10-2)
J'ville State (-5.46) J'ville State Delaware
North Dakota (5-1) at
#3 JMU (6-0)
JMU (-18.63) JMU JMU
NDSU (7-2) at
#2 SHSU (6-0)


The computer flips from Delaware to Jacksonville State winning that matchup, takes the Jackrabbits to advance over SIU after originally having them upset by Weber State in this round, ad it sticks with #3 seed James Madison and unseeded North Dakota State.

CFP Human

The human element at CollegeFootballPoll.com called out the computer prior to last week's games for its huge spread of the Bison over Eastern Washington and even took the Eagles in an upset. Well, the computer proved to be correct as NDSU rolled to the 42-20 win in the Fargo Dome. This week, the computer once again takes the defending national champions by a ton of points while the human selection is SHSU in a home upset by a narrow vote. Sam Houston head coach is K.C. Keeler is 27-0 in home playoff games after going 13-0 at Rowan, 8-0 at Delaware and 6-0 at SHSU. But, of course, the Bison are 36-2 in playoff games since becoming eligible in 2008 and own a record eight FCS championship titles with all 8 coming in a nine-season stretch from 2011-2019. Remember, this is essentially the 2020 championship so NDSU is the three-time defending champ.

The Human picks of Jacksonville State and James Madison come with very little conviction.

Jacksonville State is 10-2, meaning the Gamecocks are the ONLY team to have the experience of a 'normal' season of games. They went 3-1 in the fall with the only loss at Florida State, and 7-1 this spring with a loss which the computer predicted at Austin Peay. The Blue Hens haven't lost this Spring and there's something to be said for the swagger and momentum that come with a perfect record.

James Madison's win over VMI was by a margin that was 23 points under the computer's projected spread, while North Dakota crushed Missouri State by 10 points over the computer spread,


It's only Monday so we haven't seen any updated predictions from Herder. Until we do, we're keeping his full-bracket predictions in place which were posted before the first round games. That leaves him with SDSU over Southern Illinois, NDSU over SHSU, JMU over UND, and Delaware over JSU.

(NOTE: Herder posted his predictions Friday night and, as we expected, he kept to the script we laid out above.)