Here we are at the end of Week 7 of the college football season. It goes by quick, doesn’t it? Our “Way Too Early” series took a week off last week, and now it is time to start making some better informed projections from this point forward. Conference play is in full swing, and we now know some teams that are likely and unlikely to make the cut in November. As always, an emphasis is placed on the traditional 7 Division 1 win threshold. However, it is starting to look like a 6 win team or two will merit consideration.
How last year’s playoff teams did in Week 7:
#1 North Dakota State (5-1, 2-1): Lost to #11 South Dakota State 19-17
#3 Jacksonville State (5-1, 2-0): Beat Austin Peay 34-14
#6 Richmond (6-1, 3-1): Beat #13 Villanova 23-0
#9 Charleston Southern (3-2, 1-0): Idle
#8 Citadel (6-0, 4-0): Beat #5 Chattanooga 22-14
#5 Chattanooga (6-1, 4-1): Lost to #8 Citadel 22-14
Fordham (4-2, 1-0): Beat Yale 44-37
New Hampshire (4-3, 3-1): Lost to #7 JMU 42-39
Colgate (2-4, 1-1): Beat Bucknell 27-7
#2 Sam Houston State (6-0, 5-0): Beat Abilene Christian 48-21
Southern Utah (3-3, 2-2): Lost to #22 North Dakota 45-23
McNeese State (3-4, 2-3): Lost to #23 Central Arkansas 35-0
#7 JMU (6-1, 4-0): Beat New Hampshire 42-39
#10 Montana (5-1, 2-1): Beat Sacramento State 68-7
#11 South Dakota State (4-2, 3-0): Beat #1 North Dakota State 19-17
#21 Northern Iowa (2-4, 1-2): Lost to #14 Youngstown State 14-10
#18 Eastern Illinois (5-2, 3-1): Beat Tennessee Tech 30-24
William & Mary (3-4, 1-3): Beat Delaware 24-17
Duquesne (4-2, 1-0): Beat Robert Morris 31-24
Dayton (5-2, 3-1): Beat Jacksonville 36-16
#12 Western Illinois (5-1, 2-1): Beat Missouri State 38-35
Portland State (2-5, 1-3): Lost to #19 Cal Poly 55-35
Illinois State (3-4, 1-3): Beat Southern Illinois 31-28
#16 Coastal Carolina (4-2): Beat Gardner-Webb 17-7 (Coastal not eligible for FCS playoffs in 2016)
Other Notable Results:
#17 Albany (4-2, 1-2): Lost to Maine 20-16
Indiana State (3-4, 1-3): Lost to South Dakota 33-30 2OT
Here are the projections after Week 7
1 Sam Houston State* (Southland) – SHSU finds themselves in the #1 spot this week in our projection, and in the polls. Are they benefiting from a weaker than usual Southland Conference slate? Hard to tell, but they are 6-0 and gaining momentum.
2 Jacksonville State* (OVC) – The Gamecocks kept rolling again this week as well, and benefit from the NDSU loss. At this point Eastern Illinois may be the only team standing between JSU and a perfect FCS record.
3 North Dakota State – NDSU has flirted with disaster several times, and this week it finally caught up with the Bison. SDSU is a National Seed worthy program as well, but North Dakota State has earned a lot of benefit of the doubt right now. They take a shaky #3 seed this week.
4 Eastern Washington* (Big Sky) – EWU remains undefeated in the Big Sky, and looks to be the class of the league.
5 Citadel* (SoCon) – The big winner this week was The Citadel. Absolutely huge win over Chattanooga, and they are in the driver’s seat for the SoCon auto bid. The boys from Charleston still have contests against Wofford and Samford, but there is no reason to believe they aren’t up to the test at this point.
6 Richmond* (CAA) – Richmond had a big win as well this week. Villanova looked to be a competitor in the CAA, and the Spiders shut them out. Rocco’s squad seems to have recovered from the Stony Brook game, and at the moment, they look like the team to beat in the Colonial (sorry JMU).
7 South Dakota State* (MVFC) – Any time you beat NDSU, you had a great week. The Jack Rabbits are now in control of the toughest, most unpredictable league in FCS. Lots and lots can and will change in the Missouri Valley, but for now, SDSU controls the auto bid.
8 James Madison – Tough call on #8, as per usual. Should Charleston Southern run the FCS table, they will certainly merit consideration for a seeding, but right now JMU is passing the eye test in a tougher league.
Eastern Washington (3-0, 5-1)
Montana (2-1, 5-1)
North Dakota (4-0, 5-2)
Cal Poly (2-1, 4-2)
Weber State (3-0, 4-2)
Charleston Southern (1-0, 3-2)
Liberty (1-0, 3-3)
Richmond (3-1, 6-1)
James Madison (4-0, 6-1)
Villanova (3-1, 5-2)
Stony Brook (3-0, 4-2)
New Hampshire (3-1, 4-3)
Albany (1-2, 4-2)
South Dakota State (3-0, 4-2)
North Dakota State (2-1, 5-1)
Youngstown State (3-0, 5-1)
Western Illinois (2-1, 5-1)
South Dakota (2-1, 3-3)
Wagner (2-0, 4-2)
Jacksonville State (2-0, 5-1)
Eastern Illinois (3-1, 5-2)
Tennessee State (2-1, 5-1)
Lehigh (2-0, 5-2)
Fordham (1-0, 4-2)
San Diego (4-0, 5-1)
Dayton (3-1, 5-2)
Citadel (4-0, 6-0)
Chattanooga (4-1, 6-1)
Samford (3-1, 5-1)
Wofford (2-1, 4-2)
Sam Houston State (5-0, 6-0)
Central Arkansas (4-0, 5-1)
Where is Liberty?
The Flames pulled off a solid road win against Kennesaw State this past weekend. Not only that, but it was a trio of Freshmen that stood out for Liberty. Buckshot Calvert earned Big South Offensive Player of The Week, Freshman Kicker Alex Probert was named Big South Special Teams Player of The Week, and Redshirt Freshman Frankie Hickson took a kick return for a TD. This was exactly how Liberty needed to start off conference play, and with each win the pressure builds. The Flames remain on the outside looking in at the playoffs though. At the moment, beating Charleston Southern is by far the most likely path for Coach Gill’s squad. Next up, Monmouth on Homecoming weekend.