OGDEN — Both senior linebacker Auston Tesch and head coach Jay Hill seemed hesitant to say with certainty that their Weber State football team had earned one of the top eight seeds in the upcoming FCS Playoffs after drubbing Idaho State 38-10 on Saturday evening.
Let’s add some certitude: not only will the Wildcats (9-3, 7-1 Big Sky) be one of the top eight seeds, they’ll land pretty high.
They and the rest of the country will find out exactly who goes where with the playoff selection show at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, airing on ESPNU. The FCS Playoffs consist of 24 teams, with eight national seeds drawing a first-round bye. The remaining 16 selections will play in the first round on Nov. 30.
First things first: North Dakota State is 12-0 and has won an FCS record 33 consecutive games. The Bison are the undisputed No. 1 seed.
Next, James Madison is the clear No. 2 seed. While the Dukes lack any clear top-flight wins, they’re 11-0 against FCS teams and have decimated scores of their foes.
Enter the Weber State Wildcats.
The Big Sky co-champions finished 9-1 against FCS opponents and their other two losses were by six points each to FBS teams. The Big Sky is probably the second-best conference in FCS football so if its champion has a stellar record, it should seed highly.
WSU shared the Big Sky title with Sacramento State, which finished 8-1 against FCS teams. Why one less win? The Hornets, who played Arizona State and Fresno State tough, also played a non-Division I team in nonconference play. The playoff committee does not typically consider victories over non-DI foes in win totals when comparing teams to seed and make selections.
Due to its head-to-head win with Sac State, Weber also claimed the Big Sky’s automatic qualifying berth into the playoffs.
Montana State is a challenger, but the Bobcats lost at home to Sac State and have two FCS losses, the other coming at North Dakota. Montana also lost to Sac State, has two FCS losses and loses the head-to-head battle with rival MSU.
With wins over top-10 teams Sac State and Northern Iowa, Weber State seems fairly locked in to the No. 3 seed. That would mean a bye and up to at least two home games if the Wildcats win and advance.
The top four seems likely to shake out like this: NDSU, JMU, Weber State and Sac State. The battle behind those four for the final four seeds includes at least Montana State, Northern Iowa, Montana, Villanova, South Dakota State and Central Arkansas.
It seems certain Wildcat fans can prepare to support another national contender at Stewart Stadium come December.