Football

2018 FCS Playoffs: First Round Primer

2018 FCS Playoffs: First Round Primer

The FCS Playoffs kick off tomorrow with eight first round games, featuring some teams thinking they don’t deserve to be playing this weekend (James Madison and Jacksonville State) to others thankful they are still alive (Northern Iowa and Lamar).

Since the field expanded to 24 teams in 2013, this weekend has been reserved for blowouts. There have been a few close games, South Dakota State involved in a couple of them, 2014 in the snow globe at Bozeman, a 47-40 win over Montana State and 2015, a 24-17 loss to Montana. Last year only three of the eight games were decided by a touchdown or less, with Furman edging Elon, 28-27.

So who could make a run that plays on the opening weekend? Last year ended a run of four consecutive seasons when a team played the first round reached the semifinals. There’s a good chance in my mind that trend will continue in 2018. With that, some teams to keep an eye on tomorrow and the ever popular Izzo bracket. Enjoy.

TEAMS TO WATCH

  • Towson (7-4): The Tigers enter the postseason limping in at 7-4, including being blasted by James Madison at home. Towson lost three of its last four, all to playoff teams in Delaware, Maine and JMU. Tom Flacco threw for 25 touchdown passes and can win a game on his own. The Tigers should take care of Duquesne tomorrow and then set up a really interesting 2nd round game against another great quarterback in Taryn Christion and South Dakota State.
  • Northern Iowa (6-5): UNI won three of its last five games to again creep into the playoffs and then got a favorable draw to do some damage. The Panthers host a red hot Lamar team tomorrow, but I’ll believe it when I see it with a Southland team goes on the road and wins. UNI then would go to UC Davis, who is making its debut trip to the FCS Playoffs. That’s a winnable game in my mind, which then UNI would again go west to play at Eastern Washington. This resembles what Youngstown State did two years ago, we could see UNI playing in a couple of weeks.
  • Wofford (8-3):  The Terriers, who had their season ended in Fargo last year, again posted a good season, winning eight games and now received an interesting draw with a first round game against Elon, a school they know well. If they get past that game, they get a game with Kennesaw State, another triple option team. If there’s anything that could set up an upset it’s facing the same exact team. Keep an eye on the Terriers.

ESPN Gameplan will have the games tomorrow, for you DirecTV subscribers check out channels 790-795. Incarnate Word-Montana State will be on Channel 794 with JMU-Delaware on 795.

 

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