According to conference RPI, the SoCon is the 2nd best FCS conference in the country, behind only the CAA. In the FBS, don’t look now but C-USA is the worst conference (even below the WAC) and the Sun Belt is second only to the MWC among so-called non-AQ conferences.
So back to the SoCon, with 5 weeks left let’s take a look at what’s left on each team’s schedule and what their playoff chances are:
1. Georgia Southern
5-1 (4-1 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: @ Furman, @ Chattanooga, Appalachian State, Howard, @ Georgia
Playoff Chances: Basically a lock. They’ll lose to Georgia and maybe us. But they’ll definitely beat Howard and they’ll need 1 W between Furman & Chattanooga.
5-1 (3-1 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: @ Appalachian State, The Citadel, @ Samford, Chattanooga, @ South Carolina
Playoff Chances: Not as much of a lock as you’d think. Their win over Lincoln (PA) doesn’t count because it was D-II. They’ll lose to South Carolina for sure. That means they need to go at least 3-1 on a tough remaining FCS schedule. I’ll give them a 60% chance of doing it.
3. Appalachian State
5-2 (3-1 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: Wofford, @ Western Carolina, @ Georgia Southern, Furman, Bye Week
Playoff Chances: Very likely. We only have 4 games left, but we only need to win 2 of them to make the playoffs. Western Carolina may be trickier than usual but we’ll beat them. Furman is another likely W. I think we’ll likely go 1-1 between Wofford and Georgia Southern. That puts us in pretty comfortably. What we don’t want is to get to the Furman game NEEDING a win.
3-3 (2-1 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: Samford, Georgia Southern, @ Western Carolina, @ Wofford, Elon
Playoff Chances: Longshot/VERY Unlikely. Their win against Glenville State doesn’t count because it was D-II. That means they’ll need to win every single game for the rest of the year to make the playoffs. With 3 of the toughest teams in the conference still ahead of them, it’s just not going to happen.
5-2 (3-2 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: @ Chattanooga, Bye Week, Wofford, @ Elon, @ Kentucky
Playoff Chances: Possible/Unlikely. Their win against West Alabama doesn’t count because it was D-II. That means they need to go 3-1 in their last 4. I’m not going to say they don’t have a chance against Kentucky because they do. Kentucky is flat-out horrible, but they’re in the SEC and will probably win just from a size standpoint. They’ll probably lose that one, and they’ll probably beat Chattanooga and Elon. But they’ll still have to beat Wofford to make the playoffs. It could happen, but I don’t think it will.
6. The Citadel
4-3 (3-2 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: Bye Week, @ Wofford, Elon, @ VMI, @ Furman
Playoff Chances: Likely. They were smart and didn’t schedule any D-II schools. They need 3 more wins. They’ll be favored in all of their remaining games except the Wofford one. Unless they get upset, they’ll make the playoffs.
2-5 (1-3 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: Georgia Southern, @ Elon, Bye Week, @ Appalachian Sate, The Citadel
Playoff Chances: Not gonna happen. They can’t get to 7 wins, their loss to Chattanooga yesterday sealed the deal.
2-4 (0-3 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: Western Carolina, Furman, @ The Citadel, Samford, @ Chattanooga
Playoff Chances: Not gonna happen. Their D-II win against West Virginia State doesn’t count, and because of that they can’t get to 7 D-I wins from here.
9. Western Carolina
1-6 (0-5 SoCon)
Remaining Schedule: @ Elon, Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Bye Week, @ Alabama
Playoff Chances: Not a chance. They just need to worry about getting their first D-I win this year. Their best chance may be this week against Elon.