Some Thoughts On Round 1

Round 1 of the FCS Playoffs had a couple of so-called “upsets” with three road teams winning, but only one in my mind was a real shocker, that was Jacksonville State’s destruction of Samford 55-14 as the Gamecocks finish off what was a great day for the Ohio Valley Conference. As for the Big Sky, getting four teams into the tournament for the first time in league history, not so much, as two teams lost today.

Zach Zenner and SDSU took care of Northern Arizona as the Jacks will face EWU next Saturday.

  • Furman fell behind early to South Carolina State, but the Paladins took advantage of some big plays, namely by Jarius Hollman, a 90 yard punt return, then a pick six to win a fifth straight game, 30-20. Furman completed just 3 passes in the game and now earns the right to play NDSU next Saturday in Fargo. Furman may not have the name recognition as Wofford and Georgia Southern do, but remember this team beat both of them this season and the SoCon traditionally plays great football. Should be a good matchup next Saturday at 2:30.
  • The MEAC and Ohio Valley go in opposite directions: I made it plain last week that I thought each league should have only got one team into the tournament, the MEAC proved me right, Bethune-Cookman ran into the buzz saw ┬áthat is Coastal Carolina, while South Carolina State, which had no resume to get in to the field of 24, lost to Furman. Meanwhile, the Ohio Valley, which had not won a playoff game since 2000, got two winners yesterday, Tennessee State clobbered Butler out of the Pioneer, while Jacksonville State was tremendous, rushing for 367 yards to get a date with McNeese State next weekend. Eastern Illinois is still the team getting the spotlight, but if you had the Ohio Valley as the conference with the most teams left, you are a tremendous FCS mind.
  • Sam Houston State owns the Big Sky. The Bearkats, who some considered left for dead, save their best football for the playoffs as they ran roughshod over Southern Utah 51-20. SHSU racked up 531 total yards, including 355 rushing, Tim Flanders was great again as they improved their record to 4-0 against the Big Sky the last 2 playoff years. They will play SE Louisiana next week, the Lions beat Sam Houston during the regular season.
  • Fordham and Coastal Carolina can score. The Chanticleers and Rams each put up plenty of points yesterday (48 and 37 respectively) but each will receive much stiffer challenges next week, Coastal heads to Missoula, while Fordham plays at Towson. Remember the last time a Patriot League team played at Towson in the playoffs, the Tigers lost (that was Lehigh in 2011).
  • SDSU may be the hottest team in the country. Figure the Jacks have been in playoff mode since they lost to Missouri State; they have responded winning five straight games, including a double overtime thriller with Northern Iowa, but also consider they have won 3 straight on the road. Zach Zenner was tremendous again, running for 249 yards and a couple scores, the Jack defense held NAU to just 53 rushing yards and now sets up maybe the matchup of the 2nd round as SDSU plays at Eastern Washington. The Eagles can score with the best of them, but guaranteed they have not faced a defense like SDSU’s.
  • We will have 3 conference rematches in the 2nd round and in my mind that’s just no good. Look at Maine, the Black Bears earned the 5th seed and home field, but were placed in same bracket with New Hampshire, the team that Maine just lost to two weeks ago. Eastern Illinois gets paired up with Tennessee State, Tigers are only OVC team to play EIU tough and still lost by a couple of scores, and if there’s one team that SELA didn’t want to see early in the tournament it had to be Sam Houston. That’s why all conference rematches should be bracketed that the earliest they play is the quarters, but that’s another subject for another day.

44 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Round 1

  1. The Big Sky Conference is overrated and a joke. Both SUU and NAU lost on Saturday in the first round. Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois from the Missouri Valley would have been better playoff teams than the two losers from the Big Sky. The proof in the results, it was the same way last year.

    • The Big Sky is not overrated, they are ranked as the 5th best conference in the FCS. The Joke is they got 4 teams into the playoffs.The #1 ranked conference (MVC) only got two. I do think the Big Sky is filling somebodies pockets!

  2. If the Big Sky gets 4 again next year or more than the MVFC someone or some people are on the take. Think about this: if SDSU upsets EWU (tall order but they are hot) and if, as we’ed expect, Montana loses to NDSU in two weeks should both advance, than the Big Sky with 4 playoff teams could go 0-3 against 2 Valley teams. If Patty V doesn’t use what’s going on as ammunition next year with the selection committee something’s up.

    • The Big Sky has 3 extra teams so they’re gonna have more teams than the MVFC more often than not. Having twice as many teams in as the MVFC is a little ridiculous. Hopefully the Jacks continue their run through the Big Sky next week.

  3. jacksonville state was favored vs samford. people just assume its an upset because of the OVCs past playoff performances

  4. also, we can say wofford and georgia southern arent nearly the same teams as the past few seasons. SoCo isnt as strong as in the past either

  5. Why are we so worried about other MVFC teams getting into the playoffs? Do you really think YSU or UNI should be in the playoffs this year?
    As long as NDSU is in the playoffs and winning…there should be no complaining.

    • You know… that was my initial thought as well… who cares as long as NDSU is in and seeded number 1… but then, I started thinking what happens in upcoming years if MVFC doesn’t make an issue about letting teams from “cupcake conferences” into the playoffs over teams that actually play tough opponents.

      Frankly, that Furman vs. SCSU game I watched yesterday was horrible… It made me embarrassed for the “FCS Brand!” The committee can do much better in finding quality teams to be among the 24.

    • I agree, YSU and UNI don’t belong in the playoffs, but neither do about 6 other teams and 2 of them happen to be from the Big Sky.

      • Puhleeeese….let up on which conference gets the most spots in the playoffs.

        We care about one team getting in, and that team won the MVFC with an unbeaten record, and earned a #1 seed.

        Next, we care about that team winning the next four games, and hoisting a national championship trophy for the third straight year.

        Go Bison.

  6. I just don’t see one dimensional teams winning much further. Sorry but Furman will need to complete more than 3 passes to win in Fargo. Yeah they beat GSU, but yet again another one dimensional team. Things get a little different in front of 19000 in a 110 decibel dome on Saturday compared to the 4800 in SC this past weekend.

    The SDSU EWU game will be one to watch. Keep in mind for all the bragging how good EWU is they should have lost to Portland St. last week of the season. Rest assured they have not played a physical team like SDSU this year.

  7. Be careful what we wish for. The big sky might be soft, but wouldn’t more mvfc teams equal a rougher road for ndsu to reach the championship? That might be a selfish perspective, but look how many rematches were set up. I don’t want to be play a valley team until maybe the semi finals

  8. Big Sky is a 2 team league. MVFC , even last year did well with Illinois State and SDSU winning games. The Jacks should have gone farther but when your 2nd round game is against ndsu. What do they expect

  9. Sure seems to be a lot of concern about the Big Sky. UND was horrible and they almost beat SDSU(2nd best team out of the MVFC).. I think the MVFC should be happy they got 2 teams.

    • und never “almost” beat SDSU you fool. Yeah, they only lost by 7 and could have tied up the game in a late drive, but make no mistake, SDSU was not going to lose that game. und got pounded by NAU and look what SDSU did to them. You bsc fools always like one game comparisons to hide the fact that your conference is watered down and weak.

  10. Yeah but Tim, that game was UND’s Super Bowl; so they were really up for it and SDSU was not. Btw bison fans- how many superbowls does UND play per year anyway? Lol lol

  11. SDSU is terrible. QB cannot throw. Just run run run, if Zach Zenner got injured they are worse than D2 teams.

  12. The first round as a whole is a total joke. No game closer than 10 points. Only one crowd over 5000 in size. If SDSU can beat EWU, then the MVFC can stand up and complain but otherwise its time to move on and not worry about who made it. One OVC win doesn’t count as it was over Butler out of the Pioneer league which SDSU beat 55-14.

  13. It’s been a watered down playoff system since expanding to 24 teams. It does not matter what conference you are still going to get filler teams. It would be nice to go back to 16 teams but money drives the NCAA.

    • Do you not remember 2010 playoffs? NDSU was the last team to get into the field of 20. Sometimes that last team in can make a nice playoff run.

  14. spot on Mark V…..even if its watered down……thank god for a playoff system!….the big boys will never learn!…….hmmm xyz team we are bowl eligible!. playing for what?….who cares!

  15. Great article. My only disagreement is calling SDSU the hottest team in the country after 5 straight wins. Clearly the hottest team in the country is the one that has 11 straight wins.

  16. Forget the bunnies. The Bison are the hottest team in the country having won 20 games in a row.

  17. Who cares what kind of nickname UND comes up with. The nonames should not be mentioned in Bison discussion.

    • You mean like a hockey “DI” title where half the teams play other sports in DII and DIII? That real DI? How many “real” DI institutions have made the Frozen Four the past two years, putz?

    • Last year’s final four hockey teams:
      Yale
      Quinnipiac
      Mass-Lowell
      St. Cloud State
      These are the schools I think of when I think about D1 schools.

      • These do not appear to be “real” Division I schools…I agree if FCS football is your definition of division I, but when I think of the final four in the FCS playoffs last year do these four schools look a lot better?

        North Dakota Stage
        Sam Houston State
        Georgia Southern
        Eastern Washington