FCS Playoff Bracket: Early Thoughts on the 2022 Playoff Field

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Montana State hosted College GameDay and earned a No. 4 seed in the FCS Playoff Bracket all in the same weekend.
(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Nov 20, 2022, 7:51 PM
  • The 2022 FCS Football regular season has concluded. The playoffs start now.
  • South Dakota State and Sacramento State will have home-field advantage.
  • NDSU Football, this year’s No. 3 seed, has won nine of the last 11 championships.
  • Southeast Missouri won its bid thanks to the results of a literal coin flip.

Rivalry week isn’t the only thing happening this week in the world of college football betting odds

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and that’s long before you get to the turkey and mashed potatoes. This is the first week of the FCS Playoffs.

FCS Playoff Selection

In case you’re new here: Division I college football is split into two groups. 

The top group, known as FBS, generally plays 12 games before bowl season begins in December; the bottom half, known as FCS, typically plays 11 games before embarking on a true 24-team playoff.

That 24-team field for the 2022 FCS Playoffs was set on Sunday, November 20.

FCS Playoff Bracket

South Dakota State, Sacramento State, North Dakota State and Montana State are the top four seeds in this year’s FCS Playoff bracket.

It’s the third straight year that North Dakota State will not play as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. 

FCS Playoff Schedule 2022

The 16 non-seeded teams will play a first-round game in the wake of Thanksgiving, on Saturday, Nov. 26.

FCS Football Rankings

South Dakota State Football: Clinching the No. 1 Seed in the FCS Playoffs

South Dakota State has played as the No. 1 team for much of the season. The Jackrabbits haven’t yet won a national championship as a Division I program, but they have reached the semifinal round (or beyond) in four of the last five seasons. 

This year, with home-field advantage secured all the way to the title game in Frisco, South Dakota State has one of its best chances to finally secure the FCS title that’s eluded it. 

Sacramento State Football: Home Field Advantage All the Way to Frisco

There is some controversy among FCS football fans over whether or not Sacramento State – which earned an FBS win over Colorado State earlier this year – deserved the No. 1 overall seed.

However, as fans of James Madison and North Dakota State can tell you, there’s no measurable difference between the top two seeds outside of message board bragging rights. Each team will enjoy home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

NDSU Football: Will the Bison Actually Have to Play a Road Playoff Game?

The immortal NDSU Bison have won nine of the last 11 national championships, including last year’s title in Frisco. 

This year, though, the Bison will face the playoff field without guaranteed home-field advantage. 

The last time this happened was the 2021 spring season, when North Dakota State had to go on the road to Sam Houston… and lost.

Cam Miller: NDSU Offense Slow But Built for Cold Weather

Led by quarterback Cam Miller, the 2022 NDSU Football team ranks outside the top 50 FCS teams in total offense.

Nevertheless, the Bison have shown year after year that its style of play is most effective in cold playoff weather.

Montana State: Where Was College GameDay?

Yes, we’re talking about that Montana State. The hosts of the Week 12 edition of 2022 College GameDay capped their regular season with a rivalry win. One day later, the Bobcats were awarded the No. 4 seed in this year’s playoff bracket.

Where Is Montana State University?

Montana State University is located in Bozeman, Montana.

Who won the Montana State football game?

After playing host to ESPN’s College GameDay, Montana State drubbed archrival Montana on Senior Day, 55-21.

Montana State vs. North Dakota State Prediction

Montana State met North Dakota State in the 2021 national championship game, and they could quite possibly play a rematch in Frisco this January to decide the 2022 FCS championship.

If that happens, North Dakota State would undoubtedly play as the favorite, but Montana State would be a very capable opponent. 

Montana Grizzlies Football Playoffs

Montana surprised several FCS fans and analysts by making the field (and hosting a first-round game!) despite its 7-4 record. 

The FCS Playoff Committee clearly had a lot of respect for the depth and quality of the Big Sky this year, which was enough to get Montana into the field over other deserving teams like UT-Martin.

As for its first-round game, host status is decided by a bid process.

Southeastern Louisiana Football.

Southeastern Louisiana returns its impressive offense to the FCS Playoff field after winning the Southland Conference’s automatic bid.

Saint Francis Football 

Saint Francis will look to be the first NEC team to score a playoff win since Wagner beat Colgate in 2012. 

Northern Iowa Football

Northern Iowa – the fifth-place team in the Missouri Valley – was one team that fans and analysts imagined could ultimately be included in the playoff team. 

The FCS Playoff Committee has shown in the past that it’s willing to take six-win teams, particularly when they are Missouri Valley teams.

Unfortunately for Panthers fans, UNI was left out of the field.

Southeast Missouri Football vs. UT-Martin vs. The Coin

The most dramatic playoff spot was decided by the OVC’s automatic qualifying process when Southeast Missouri and UT-Martin finished in a dead tie atop the conference standings.

Because of an unbalanced conference schedule, they didn’t play a head-to-head matchup this season. Thus, according to this season’s OVC rules, the auto-bid was determined by a literal coin toss.

FCS Football Playoff Predictions

There will be plenty of FCS Football Playoff predictions and analysis this week – including from my good friend Sam Herder

Sam, who works as the senior FCS Analyst at HERO Sports, will join me on The Lion’s Edge this week to break down the overall FCS playoff bracket and provide insight into some of this weekend’s first-round betting opportunities. 

I’ll also have my official FCS Playoff betting guide out later this week.

Make sure you check out The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world – including my upcoming conversation with Sam later this week.

The Lion’s Edge is available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

You can also listen to it in the web player below.

College Football Parlays

BetMGM is the King of Sportsbooks and the King of Parlays. And college football season is a perfect chance to build parlays.

With hundreds of games and thousands of odds combinations each year, you can build a parlay with heavy moneyline favorites, short underdogs, or prop bets. It’s a thrilling way to get closer to the action and make every play count.

Visit the online sportsbook today to view all football betting opportunities!

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.