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The crystal ball: 2018 FCS playoff projection

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - September was the calm before the storm for FCS playoff prognosticators.

It's easy to have three-quarters or more preseason projections alive and well. Being 100 percent right? Well, thanks a lot, Austin Peay, New Hampshire, Samford …

Conference play has taken over the schedule and this is where the real craziness begins. The picks will turn like the weather in October and November.

Here's the projected FCS playoff field through a combination of current results and a look ahead to upcoming schedules:

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PROJECTED BIDS BY CONFERENCE

* - Automatic qualifier

Big Sky (4): Eastern Washington*, Montana, UC Davis, Weber State

Big South (1): Kennesaw State*

CAA (5): Elon, James Madison*, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova

Missouri Valley (4): Illinois State, North Dakota State*, South Dakota, South Dakota State

Northeast (1): Duquesne*

Ohio Valley (1): Jacksonville State*

Patriot (1): Colgate*

Pioneer (1): San Diego*

Southern (3): Chattanooga, Mercer, Wofford*

Southland (3): McNeese*, Nicholls, Sam Houston State

Moved In: Mercer, Towson

Dropped Out: Central Arkansas, Montana State

Bubble Watch: Central Arkansas, Missouri State, Montana State, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, Rhode Island

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PROJECTED PAIRINGS

Top 8 seeds receive first-round byes

Nicholls at Illinois State first-round winner at No. 1 seed North Dakota State

Colgate at Villanova first-round winner at No. 8 seed Stony Brook

San Diego at Montana first-round winner at No. 5 seed Eastern Washington

Chattanooga at Jacksonville State first-round winner at No. 4 seed Kennesaw State

UC Davis at Weber State first-round winner at No. 3 seed South Dakota State

Elon at Mercer first-round winner at No. 6 seed Wofford

South Dakota at Sam Houston State first-round winner at No. 7 seed McNeese

Duquesne at Towson first-round winner at No. 2 seed James Madison

Updated October 2, 2018

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