Week 4 did what I thought it might. It started smashing assumptions, raising doubts, and causing general chaos in the projections. Still a long ways to go, and in some of the premier leagues there are a lot of top notch games left to be played. Until these contests start shaking out, it’s all over-educated guesswork.
How last year’s playoff teams did in Week 3:
#1 North Dakota State (3-0): Idle
#3 Jacksonville State (3-1): Beat Liberty 48-19
#7 Richmond (3-1): Beat #23 Colgate 38-31
#12 Charleston Southern (2-2): Beat Monmouth 35-7
#10 Citadel (3-0): Idle
#5 Chattanooga (4-0): Beat Samford 41-21
Fordham (2-1): Beat Penn 31-17
New Hampshire (2-2): Beat Rhode Island 39-17
#23 Colgate (1-2): Lost to #7 Richmond 38-31
#2 Sam Houston State(3-0): Beat Houston Baptist 52-16
Southern Utah (2-1): Beat #25 Portland State 45-31
#24 McNeese State (2-2): Beat Incarnate Word 42-35
#11 JMU (3-1): Beat Maine 31-20
#6 Montana (2-1): Lost to Cal Poly 42-41
#15 South Dakota State (1-2): Idle
#14 Northern Iowa (1-2): Idle
#18 Eastern Illinois (3-1): Beat Austin Peay 56-35
#8 William & Mary (2-2): Lost to Elon 27-10
Duquesne (2-2): Lost to Kennesaw State 36-28
Dayton (2-2): Lost to San Diego 34-22
#13 Western Illinois (3-0): Beat Northern Illinois (FBS) 28-23
#25 Portland State (1-3): Lost to Southern Utah 42-35
#9 Illinois State (2-2): Lost to Indiana State 34-31
#17 Coastal Carolina (3-1): Beat Furman 41-21 (Coastal not eligible for FCS playoffs in 2016)
Other Notable Results:
#20 Stony Brook (2-2): Lost to Sacred Heart 38-10
Central Arkansas (3-1): Beat Arkansas State 28-23
Here are the projections after Week 4
1 North Dakota State* (MVFC) – NDSU had the week off, but you know, they are NDSU.
2 Jacksonville State* (OVC) – Y’all watched that game right? Jax State is the real deal, and may be the only legitimate threat to ending NDSU’s reign.
3 Sam Houston State* (Southland) – Another week, another dominating win for SHSU. They’ve looked strong so far, but we should know more as they get further into Southland play.
4 Chattanooga* (SoCon) – Solid performance this week against Samford. UT-C still looks like the class of the SoCon.
5 Eastern Washington* (Big Sky) – EWU pulled out a nice win this week against a solid Northern Arizona squad. The Big Sky is looking like a league that is in resurgence, as several teams appear to be on the rise.
6 JMU* (CAA) – Bounce back win for the Dukes, against a struggling Maine. JMU is the favorite in the Colonial with Richmond already having a conference loss.
7 Western Illinois – The 3-0 Leathernecks have 3 quality wins, including this week’s upset of Northern Illinois (MAC). The schedule is absolute murderer’s row for Western though, so it remains to be seen if they can maintain the intensity. Mark 10/22 on your calendars, Western Illinois hosts the NDSU Bison.
8 Richmond – The Spiders got what they needed to stay in the seedings this week, a win over a ranked Colgate team in Robins Stadium. Does Rocco’s squad have the consistency to take the CAA title again this year?
Charleston Southern* (Big South)
South Dakota State
William & Mary
Sacred Heart* (NEC)
San Diego* (Pioneer)
Where is Liberty?
Seriously? Why would you even ask me that? The Flames looked under prepared, over matched, and out coached against Jacksonville State on Saturday night. Williams Stadium was on its way to becoming known as a place where Top 5 teams go to die, but it wasn’t to be this season. Liberty sits at 1-3, without an opportunity for a resume building win until Charleston Southern comes to town. An at-large bid isn’t IMPOSSIBLE yet, but it’s close. Liberty needs to run the table in the Big South to make the playoffs at this point.