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2021 FCS Bracketology 2.0

The field shakes up after a couple of interesting losses

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North Dakota State’s Kobe Johnson runs for a 97-yard touchdown run against Indiana State on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at the Fargodome. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
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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.

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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

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Northeast - Bryant

Ohio Valley - UT Martin

Patriot - Holy Cross

Pioneer - Davidson

SoCon - East Tennessee State

Southland - Southeastern Louisiana

AT-LARGE BIDS (13)

Eastern Kentucky

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Montana State

Eastern Washington

UC Davis

Montana

William and Mary

James Madison

Southern Illinois

Missouri State

Northern Iowa

South Dakota State

VMI

Incarnate Word

IN THE FIELD: William and Mary, OUT: Rhode Island

2021 Fall Bracket 2.0.jpg
The bracket continues to evolve as the playoffs near.


Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
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