So who will win everything at FCS in 2022? Will it be a new team? Or will new FCS blood bring the trophy to the stage when it comes to FCS playoff bracket selection? GridIrion Heroics FCS writer Brian McLaughlin tries.
Even if it’s for the first round, who will be happy as hell after winning the first round on Saturday night, and whose season will be over with the program thinking about 2023?
Under? I’m revealing my first round picks – and more to come. Happy Thanksgiving FCS Nation. I love this time of year. It’s a tradition in our house, that’s for sure.
So let’s get down to business:
FCS PLAYOFF BRACKET picks
Starting with round one.
ST. FRANCIS, PA. (9-2) IN DELAWARE (7-4): I’m not going to lie…this first round match between NEC and CAA (a common occurrence) reminds me a bit of when Towson played Duquesne a few years ago and Duquese batted a flacco (the talented tom variation) away. It’s so frighteningly similar. St. Francis is as good as it was when badass Lorenzo Jerome roamed the field – and this year the Red Flash brought an FBS against OT (Akron) and the other loss went to a very strong FCS playoff team (Richmond).
On the downside? If you know UD first-year coach Ryan Carty and the offense he brings to the table, you know what’s set to happen to the Blue Hens over the next few seasons. I love this matchup, and it’s NOT an afterthought. WINNER GOES TO NO. 1SDSU. BMAC’S CHOICE: Delaware
FORDHAM (9-2) IN NEW HAMPSHIRE (8-3): See, any time you have a schedule rotation (Big Sky, CAA, and to a small extent MVFC have them all, BTW) some teams will get the lucky year if it goes a certain way. UNH got it this year. That’s not to say that this program isn’t pretty darn tough, it usually is. The current UNH squad has been doing business in the CAA game as requested. Not their fault, but UNH didn’t have to play William & Mary and Delaware.
Losing UNH in North Carolina Central (at 18) at home worries me. Granted? NC Central will play (duh) Deion’s Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl. The Eagles don’t suck, clearly. But Fordham? The Rams are better than NC Central and have also beaten three CAA teams this year, coming within a point of the best (and seeded) Holy Cross team in decades — and beating an FBS team in the last minute before they fell (Ohio U.). Fordham is legit, as is his QB Tim DeMorat (paging NFL teams). WINNER GOES TO NO. 8 HOLY CROSS. BMAC’S CHOICE: Fordham
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GARDNER-WEBB (6-5) ON EAST KY. (7-4): This East Kentucky team is interesting. It rebounded strongly against FBS Eastern Michigan and then beat EMU’s MAC conference peers in 7 OTs (Bowling Green). And the Colonels also played against two teams that are promoted to FBS (Sam Houston and Jacksonville St.). EKU looks better than his record. GWU?
The Runnin’ Bulldogs are in the playoffs for the first time. Does the GWU coach’s Carolina surname “Lamb” sound familiar? That’s because his uncle is Bobby Lamb, the guy who took Furman to a national title game with the QB and also became a big coach at Furman and restarted the Mercer program. Don’t be surprised if his nephew Tre succeeds at GWU in Boiling Springs, NC. Welcome to the FCS Playoffs, GWU. Another fun. WINNER GOES TO NO. 5 WILLIAM & MARY. BMAC’S CHOICE: Eastern Kentucky
NORTH DAKOTA (7-4) AT WEBER STATE (9-2): I pinned 7 of the 8 teams that were seeded, but Weber State was the one I was “wrong” on (vs. UIW) – and I have some “beef” about that pick when it comes to the FCS committee goes. WSU is legit, had the blowout, signature FBS (Utah State) win, beating Montana and UC Davis. But ultimately? The Wildcats are in a good position. They’re in a great place to win against AND this week and play against a Big Sky power they lost at five to (Montana State). And that’s going to be fun in week two. WINNER GOES TO NO. 4 STATE OF MONTANA: BMAC’S CHOICE: State Weber.
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SEMO (9-2) AT MONTANA (7-4): After having them in for several weeks, I didn’t even have Montana in my last bracket (let’s be honest), but because the Griz was in? And they’re going to host the first round like they usually do when they get to that level? I think they have a slight advantage over SEMO. The only common adversary is Northwestern State, and both have hammered the Demons.
Montana was hardly perfect, and his blowout loss in the Brawl to Montana State shows/proves it. But the Griz also played hard in the Idaho, Weber State, and Sacramento State playoffs. Total points lost in those three: The Griz were 17 points from 10-1. And when they played the teams they “should” be beating, they laid down the Thunder next to the game in Idaho State (cause to worry? Maybe). We’re going home field here because SEMO has been strong but just hasn’t played that schedule that the Griz have. WINNER GOES TO NO. 3 NSU: BMAC’S PICK: Montana
IDAHO (7-4) AT SE LOUISIANA (8-3): Guys I won’t lie – SE Louisiana was confusing at times. Texas A&M Commerce Loss? A newcomer to FCS? Will McNeese “survive” by a point, a 4-7 team at the Southland this year? But everywhere? The Lions have been attending to business at important times and are home this weekend. Of course, the win over Incarnate Word and the win over Jacksonville State are eye-catching. Idaho also has some gems on its resume, like road victory in Montana and late Sacramento State on the ropes, but the Vandals will be on the road. This should be fun and could go either way – and the game in the next round isn’t an impossible win for either. WINNER GOES TO NO. 6SAMFORD: BMAC’S CHOICE: SE La.
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ELON (8-3) AT FUMAN (9-2): This could be soooooo a second round game. These two were clearly just outside of the seeding range – in that range from No.9 to No.13. Elon had the only win this year against William & Mary, and Furman has not come close since losing at home to SoCon champ Samford on March 1. October on a six-game winning streak. These are probably the biggest 50/50 games this weekend, and there are several of them. And the truth is? The winner of Elon Furman? There will likely be 10-1 Incarnate Word seizures in the 2nd round if it plays defense. WINNER GOES TO NO. 7 Word made flesh: BMAC’S CHOICE: Furman
DAVIDSON (8-3) AT RICHMOND (8-3): This is probably the most obvious first round choice as much as I love the Wildcats. My Uncle Jim (RIP, a proud Davidson grad and athlete), Coach Scott Abell and everything he and his staff have done, and of course – Steph Curry? It’s hard not to appreciate what’s going on there. It’s amazing the consistency and excitement this program has generated outside of Charlotte.
But folks, Richmond is damn good. Like Kyle Lauletta years pretty well. I just don’t see that around. – and honestly? If the second week bracket didn’t come with a trip all the way to central California? I could see the spiders doing a few laps. WINNER GOES TO NO. 2 STATE OF SACRAMENTO: BMAC’S CHOICE: Richmond
FCS football weekly predictions post season always pinned to the top of my twitter account as soon as possible (@BrianMacWriter) and are always immediately shared with our good buddies – FCS Fans Nation – on the best forum in the level, their Facebook page.