How the AQs in FCS will be won this week
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - The final four conferences that have yet to determine their automatic qualifying bid to the FCS playoffs will complete the task this week during the final full week of the regular season.
The Southland Conference will decide its bid Thursday night followed by the Big Sky and Ohio Valley conferences and the Patriot League on Saturday.
The AQs in the following six conferences have been determined: Big South (Monmouth); CAA (James Madison); Missouri Valley (North Dakota State); Northeast (Central Connecticut State); Pioneer (San Diego); and Southern (Wofford).
The NCAA will announce the 24-team playoff field on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU). The other 14 bids go to at-large selections.
Here are the AQ scenarios in the four remaining conferences:
Only Montana (9-2, 6-1), Sacramento State (8-3, 6-1) or Weber State (8-3, 6-1) can claim the AQ. Montana State (8-3, 5-2) and Eastern Washington (6-5, 5-2) can tie for the title, but need to win their games and have the three first-place teams lose this week.
According to the conference, the AQ scenarios are:
- If Montana, Sacramento State and Weber State finish tied at 7-1, Montana gets the AQ;
- If Montana and Weber State finish tied at 7-1, Montana gets the AQ;
- If Sacramento State and Weber State finish tied at 7-1, Weber State gets the AQ;
- If Montana and Sacramento State finish tied at 7-1, Sacramento State gets the AQ;
- If Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State and Weber State finish tied at 6-2, Sacramento State gets the AQ;
- If Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State and Weber State finish tied at 6-2, Sacramento State gets the AQ
Only Austin Peay (8-3, 6-1) or Southeast Missouri (8-3, 6-1) can claim the AQ, although third-place UT Martin (7-4, 6-2) is still alive for a share of the title. Austin Peay, which hosts Eastern Illinois, holds the AQ tiebreaker over Southeast Missouri, which hosts Murray State, due to a head-to-head win. UT Martin lost to both co-leaders.
Holy Cross (6-5, 4-1) sits alone in first place and can make the AQ simple with a win over Georgetown. Bucknell (3-7, 3-2), Lafayette (3-8, 3-2) and Lehigh (4-6, 3-2) are alive for a share of the title with Holy Cross, but only Holy Cross and Lafayette can claim the AQ. Lafayette needs to beat Lehigh and have Holy Cross lose.
Thursday night's winner between Nicholls (7-4, 6-2) and Southeastern Louisiana (7-3, 6-2) will clinch the AQ in addition to at least a share of the conference title. Co-leader Central Arkansas (8-3, 6-2) has lost to both teams and can only earn a share of the title, not the AQ.
Updated November 19, 2019