Win and you’re in – it’s always the most-riveting scenario with FCS college football games on the day before the announcement of the 24-team playoff pairings.
It’s huge again on Saturday – the final full day of the regular season.
Montana particularly fits the description for an at-large bid, and the FCS’ favorite lightning-rod program (OK, maybe that’s Jackson State these days) is playing in the week’s most visible game against Montana State, and that could have been said even before ESPN’s announcement of a “College GameDay” visit.
It’s the scenario for automatic bids in the Big South (North Carolina A&T at Gardner-Webb) and the Pioneer League (Dayton at Davidson).
Below is a projection of the 2022 FCS playoff field, mostly based on where teams stand in this week leading up to Selection Sunday, but also with a projection of some necessary scenarios.
Projected Bids by Conference
* – Projected automatic qualifier; other teams are projected as at-large selections
ASUN-WAC (1): *Abilene Christian
Big Sky (4): Idaho, Montana State, *Sacramento State, Weber State
Big South (1): *Gardner-Webb (in reality, the North Carolina A&T/Gardner-Webb winner)
CAA (5): Delaware, Elon, New Hampshire, Richmond, *William & Mary
Missouri Valley (3): North Dakota,North Dakota State, *South Dakota State
Northeast (1): *Saint Francis
Ohio Valley (1): *Southeast Missouri
Patriot (2): Fordham, *Holy Cross
Pioneer (1): *Dayton (in reality, the Dayton/Davidson winner)
Southern (3): Chattanooga, Furman, *Samford
Southland (2): *Southeastern Louisiana, UIW
On the Bubble: Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, Mercer, Montana, UC Davis, UT Martin
Top eight seeds receive first-round byes
1. South Dakota State
2. Sacramento State
3. Montana State
4. North Dakota State
6. Holy Cross
7. William & Mary
Playoff games prior to the national championship are played at campus sites
Southeast Missouri at Chattanooga first-round winner at No. 1 seed South Dakota State
Abilene Christian at Southeastern Louisiana first-round winner at No. 8 seed UIW
Elon at Furman first-round winner at No. 5 seed Samford
Idaho at Weber State first-round winner at No. 4 seed North Dakota State
Dayton at North Dakota first-round winner at No. 3 seed Montana State
Fordham at New Hampshire first-round winner at No. 6 seed Holy Cross
Gardner-Webb at Richmond first-round winner at No. 7 seed William & Mary
Key Dates to Know
Playoff Selection Show: Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
First Round: Nov. 26
Second Round: Dec. 2-3
Quarterfinals: Dec. 9-10
Semifinals: Dec. 16-17
Championship Game: Jan. 8 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (2 p.m. ET, ABC)