2021 FCS Bracketology 2.0
The field shakes up after a couple of interesting losses
There are three weeks left in the FCS regular season and there's still plenty to be decided.
A pair of top five losses shook the FCS last weekend with Southern Illinois and Villanova getting beat, which opens the door for another team to take an at-large bid.
The playoff field will be slightly different this year with 11 automatic qualifiers, as the winner of the ASUN/WAC will grab a bid. That drops the amount of at-large bids to 13, which could squeeze out a team that wins seven games. That will be something to watch as we get closer to Selection Sunday.
There are also some changes to the broadcasts for the postseason. Fans have grown accustomed to the first two rounds being on ESPN3 over the last decade. That will not be the case in 2021, as the first two rounds will be televised on ESPN Plus, a separate streaming service than ESPN3.
The quarterfinal games will be televised by ESPN (the Saturday 11 am game), ESPN2 (Friday night) and ESPN Plus (the two remaining games). The semifinals are slated for December 17th and 18th, Friday night at 8:15 pm on ESPN2 and Saturday afternoon at 1pm on ESPN2. That's a change for the semifinals, with each game getting on ESPN2.
Lastly, the national championship is slated for Saturday, January 8th at 11 am central time. According to the NCAA FCS manual, the game will be televised by ESPN2. The major reason for this appears to be the NFL, which has extended its regular season by a week. That Saturday, ABC and ESPN will simulcast two regular season games, meaning the FCS goes back to ESPN2, after two years on ABC.
Here's my latest projection heading into a huge Week 10.
AUTOMATIC BIDS (11)
ASUN/WAC - Sam Houston
Big Sky - Sacramento State
Big South - Kennesaw State
Colonial - Villanova
Missouri Valley - North Dakota State
Northeast - Bryant
Ohio Valley - UT Martin
Patriot - Holy Cross
Pioneer - Davidson
SoCon - East Tennessee State
Southland - Southeastern Louisiana
AT-LARGE BIDS (13)
William and Mary
South Dakota State
IN THE FIELD: William and Mary, OUT: Rhode Island