Category Archives: Missouri Valley

New to the FCS Playoffs? Here’s What Lehigh Fans Need To Know

For us Patriot League diehards, we know what the FCS playoffs are all about.  We know who's in line for the autobid, we know who the No. 1 teams are, and we have a pretty good idea about who can get in, and why.

But you, dear Reader, might not be as dialed into the FCS playoff scene as the rest of us.  You know that Lehigh will be practicing on Thanksgiving, and will be playing a football game after the 152nd meeting on the gridiron between Lehigh and Lafayette.

In the span of one blog post, let me tell you, new or old Lehigh fan, what you need to look for in regards to the FCS playoffs.


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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/25/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

"Back to Normal" seems to be the theme of this week's Top 25, with my top 9 unchanged from last week.

The biggest team to fall in my poll was definitely Montana, whose 45-34 defeat to Northern Arizona was even more resounding than the final score might indicate.  The Lumberjacks in this one held a 45-20 advantage before letting up two touchdowns at the end of the game.

The Griz have frankly underwhelmed all year to me, allowing a team like St. Francis (PA) to hang around for no good reason, running up the score against hapless competition like Mississippi Valley State and Sacramento State.  With their second loss to a Big Sky opponent and nothing all that impressive in their schedule, it was an easy call to drop them more than 10 points in my poll.
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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/18/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

So this is the week that North Dakota State falls.

They fell in a thrilling defensive battle at home to South Dakota State in the game for the "Dakota Marker".

It was a great game, filled with drama and showed that the Jackrabbits are worthy of everyone's attention this week. In fact, South Dakota State's effective, time-consuming drive was in many ways pulling from North Dakota State's own trademark last-second comebacks, pulling together a drive for the ages, daring them to stop them yet consistently converting 3rd and 4th downs to set up the chance to win.

But then, therein lies the tricky part.  Where to rank the Bison, and where to rank the Jackrabbits?
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Lehigh 35, Georgetown 3 Postgame Thoughts: The Long Road Back To National Recognition

(Photo Credit: Chris Barry/The Brown and White File Photo)

In terms of national recognition, life in the Patriot League isn't always easy.

Certainly Patriot League players and fans read the preseason magazines about FCS.  And last I checked, the youth of America still watch ESPN, and they see some FCS darlings in the FCS Kickoff Classic, like North Dakota State.

They tune into the college football landscape, and they see Eastern Washington upsetting Washington State, Bo Pelini coaching Youngstown State, Albany upsetting Buffalo.

Yes, the national FCS scene has their darlings, and frequently it feels like the Patriot League and their opponents are mere afterthoughts in the world where Big Sky teams are putting up big scores, Sam Houston State is beating all comers, The Citadel is dominating in the South, and the Missouri Valley Football Conference sees almost half its members in the Top 25.

And despite having junior WR Troy Pelletier and junior WR Gatlin Casey sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 in the FCS in receiving,respectively, despite a five game winning streak, and despite their emergence as a top contender for the Patriot League title past the halfway point of the season, Lehigh sits just outside the national Top 25 polls.

Respect in the Patriot League is easy to lose, and hard to earn back - and this Lehigh team seems to know how fragile that is.
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My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 10/11/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

I love picking games correctly involving teams 1-13 because it makes picking the Top 25 very easy - simply cut, and paste.

Most of that comes from not overrating teams like Northern Iowa, who dropped out of my top 25 after a bad loss to South Dakota, and properly rating Villanova, who keeps winning and has been a regular in my Top 10 for several weeks now.

One of the teams I had been considering for the Top 25 is Dartmouth, but after a stunning 21-13 loss to Yale, I've had to re-evaluate that assessment.

Many a transitive property that puts Lehigh in the playoffs or maybe even the FBS National Championship game could start with "Lehigh beat Yale, and Yale beat Dartmouth, and Dartmouth beat New Hampshire..."

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My FCS Top 25, 9/27/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

(Photo Credit: Elon Athletics)

Let's see, are there any other teams I can curse into losses this week?

Last time I was here, I was extolling the virtues of William and Mary and Stony Brook in this space.  This week?  Um, not so much.

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My FCS Top 25, 9/13/2016

You didn't ask for them, but here's my pick for this week's FCS Top 25.

Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune

Illinois State kicker Sean Slattery, right, celebrates with quarterback Koty Thelen after scoring the game-winning field goal as Northwestern running back Justin Jackson, left, reacts.  (Nam Y. Yuh/AP)


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The Patriot League vs. The World: Comparing All The FCS Recruiting Classes

For the last few years, "the commitee" and I have compiled the Patsy Ratings, an attempt to evaluate the incoming football classes of the Patriot League.

It's clearly "for entertainment purposes only," an effort to try to take a look at whether a schools' recruiting needs are met, whether they've secured the playing services of a lot of recognized talent, and whether some of their measurables look good.

However, I frequently find myself wanting the Patsy Ratings to do more.  For example, how did the Patriot League as a whole do in comparison to other FCS schools?  Did the Mountain Hawks crush their FCS competition?  Or was the actual picture different?

Without, say, an equivalent James Madison Football Nation willing to make these Patsy-like evaluations of the incoming classes of other FCS schools, there was no real good way to make that type of comparison.

However, my curiosity got the better of me.  "There must be a way," I thought, "to at least be able to see how the different schools stack up against other schools in different conferences, even if it's not as good or as thorough as the Patsies."

I found out that there was.
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