Most D1-AA (or "Football Championship Subdivision") players, coaches, and fans tuned into ESPNU at 7 p.m. Saturday to see who was going to the FCS playoffs. Here's the bracket as it stands:
No. 16 Wofford at No. 1 James Madison
No. 15 South Caroline State at No. 2 Appalachian State
No. 14 Maine at No. 3 Northern Iowa
No. 13 Texas State at No. 4 Montana
No. 12 Weber State at No. 5 Cal Poly
No. 11 New Hampshire at No. 6 Southern Illinois
No. 10 Easter Kentucky at No. 7 Richmond
No. 9 Colgate at No. 8 Villanova
The CAA is well represented with five seeds in the playoffs, three (James Madison, Richmond, and Villanova) in the top eight. The other two: New Hampshire (11th) and Maine (14th).
Let's look at how these schools stacked up against each other:
JMU 24, Maine 10
JMU 38, Richmond 31 (why they kicked to Scotty McGee...I still don't know. Look it up on YouTube.)
JMU 23, Villanova 19 (another last-second victory on the craziest looking pass. Again, look it up on YouTube)
Richmond 44, Maine 17
Villanova 26, Richmond 20
Villanova 24, New Hampshire 13
New Hampshire 28, Maine 24
With the exception of the Richmond-Maine game, none were blowouts, making me think that the CAA is pretty tough. This is the CAA's 18th straight season (16 of them as the Atlantic 10) with multiple bids for the championship.
I personally cannot wait to attend my first playoff game (GO DUKES!). But the competition this year is pretty tough.
The winners of the first round will advance to the quarterfinal Round on Dec. 6. That will go down like this:
Eastern Ky/Richmond winner vs. South Caroline/App State winner
Colgate/Villanova winner vs. Wofford/James Madison winner
Weber State/Cal Poly winner vs. Texas State/Montana winner
Southern Ill/New Hampshire winner vs. Maine/Northern Iowa winner
Then onto the Semifinal round, which is TBD and the remaining two teams from the semis will go on to the Championship game Dec. 19 in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Here's my bracket:
OK. I have this wrong. Switch Northern Iowa and Montana. I will now have Northern Iowa beating Appalachian State and Montana losing to JMU in the semis.
For everyone wondering why I have Northern Iowa beating App. State, here's the one simple reason: I think App. State will beat Richmond, but it will be a painful, smash-mouth game with injuries galore. (Note: I am not hoping for this. As a Patriots fan, I have a new view on injuries...Tom Brady going down was hard to watch...and I don't want any player hurt; I just remember how tough it was playing both of those teams. Someone is bound to get hurt.)
My champion? James Madison. Call me biased, but here's to hoping.