When it comes to determining the automatic FCS playoff bid in the second season of the ASUN-WAC Challenge, a power ranking could help balance the unbalanced regular-season schedules of the teams.

Later this week, the two Division I conferences are expected to announce the parameters for determining their joint automatic qualifier, or AQ.  

The partnership, which was initially expected to exist only last fall, was renewed in May for the 2022 season, but with schedules mostly in place and not enough conference games between the teams. Only eight of the two conferences’ 12 football programs are eligible for the playoffs: Austin Peay, Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, Kennesaw State and North Alabama from the ASUN, and Abilene Christian, Southern Utah and Stephen F. Austin from the WAC. Ineligible teams are Sam Houston (the 2021 AQ) and Jacksonville State, which are transitioning toward the FBS level next year, and Tarleton State and Utah Tech, which are in the third of a four-year reclassifying process from Division II to I status.

The NCAA allows FCS conferences to determine the metrics for awarding their AQ to a playoff-eligible team. The ASUN-WAC Challenge standings will count FCS results and wins over FBS or FBS-reclassifying teams.

If a reclassifying team finishes first in the standings, the next-highest eligible team would earn the AQ. If the top-two eligible teams are tied after playing the same number of countable games and met during the regular season, the AQ would be earned by the head-to-head winner.

If another tie-breaker is necessary, an ASUN-WAC power ranking – a mathematical calculation of countable games – would determine the AQ. Seventy percent of the power ranking would be based on each team’s win percentage, 15 percent would go to an opponents’ win percentage and another 15 percent would go to the opponents’ opponents win percentage.

The ASUN and WAC announcements are imminent due to the start of the 2022 college football season on Saturday. Austin Peay, Jacksonville State and Stephen F. Austin are part of a limited Week 0 schedule.