Archive For The “Playoffs” Category
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: As a reward for being the surprise outright winner of the Patriot League football championship, the reward is a trip to New Hampshire, the winner headed to seeded James Madison for a second-round game. And somewhere, Sam Houston State looms on the horizon.
This is the exact situation that Colgate found itself last season, and this year, Lehigh is poised to run through the exact same gauntlet and the exact same teams.
Sunday morning, Lehigh found out their opponents for the FCS Playoffs; the New Hampshire Wildcats. The game will be played at New Hampshire at 2PM EST, and will be available to watch on ESPN3 on your computer and possibly ESPN Gameplan Pay-Per-View on your TV.
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Let’s just put it this way: After looking at the mock brackets from around FCS Nation, mocking it out myself, trying to go over as many possible scenarios that I possibly can – I still have no idea.
That doesn’t mean, dear Reader, that I won’t try, and I won’t try to explain to you what I think could happen. But it’s not easy, and you’ll see why.
Put simply, I feel like this is the most wide-open playoff field ever, for two reasons.
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Lehigh’s bowl game comes next weekend, of course, as they take on Lafayette in the 152nd meeting of The Rivarly in Easton. After that bowl game, though, comes the FCS playoffs, and until the FCS Playoff Bracket is announced on Sunday at 11:00 AM after the Lafayette game, we don’t know where, or when, Lehigh will play their playoff game.
Don’t fret, football fans. LFN is here with a warm cup of chicken noodle soup, a nice grilled cheese sandwich with the crusts cut off, and a schedule, complete with links, involving the most important FCS games on the schedule that will impact Lehigh’s postseason schedule the most.
Sit back. Enjoy your soup. LFN’s here to help you for this Saturday.
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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.
Wait – really? You’re not going to Murray Goodman today? Why not? Unscheduled dental emergency? Flying in from Buenos Aires? Need to find out how to catch the game online, by a video stream or online radio?
Never fear. LFN’s here.
To many sportswriters who have followed English Premier League soccer in any capacity, the holy grail is promotion and relegation.
United States sports leagues, for a wide variety of reasons, do not allow its teams or franchises the ability to get “promoted” to the top flights of their professional leagues. That’s largely to protect the teams at the bottom, which can stink as much as they’d like, but will still share in the profits of the league.
In the EPL, however, the teams that finish in the bottom are “relegated” to the “Championship” division, and the teams that finish on top get “promoted” to the EPL.
Many sportswriters have tried, and failed, to devise a promotion/relegation system for a variety of pro sports. But I think where it could best work is in the worlds of FCS and FBS football.
Hear me out.
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Like many Division I football programs, Lehigh started their preparations for the upcoming Patriot Football season last Thursday.
If you had to list the desires of the football team going into the preseason, chief among them is eradicating the memory of last season, whether it was the 3-8 record or especially the final game of last year.
But what I think really gets the Lehigh players going, and in fact what gets most players going at FCS schools, is that they get a shot at something truly special.
For Lehigh players, it means they can get a shot at taking down a nationally-ranked team, James Madison, in their own house, a shot at returning a Patriot League Championship trophy to Grace Hall, a shot at turning things around against Lafayette, and a shot at winning a national championship against the best schools of their subdivision.
It’s a time of optimism for all FCS schools, but it’s the shot that truly makes it special.
And if there’s one thing I fear more about the future of college football than anything else, it’s when schools remove opportunities to give schools a shot at something special.
When you think of FCS playoff success in the 2010s, you have to think of the most successful current program playing FCS football over the last four years: North Dakota State.
The Bison’s three national championships speak for themselves, and if you count their impressive playoff run in 2010 as well, their four-year record in the playoffs is as impressive as Youngstown State’s and Appalachian State’s runs in the last thirty years.
In 2011, the Lehigh football team saw the Thunder Dome (or, if you prefer, the FargoDome) up close, and saw what home advantage can do in the playoffs. The 24-0 win wasn’t the most impressive performance by the Bison ever in the postseason. However, the hallmarks of the North Dakota State home-field advantage, in the form of false starts and timeouts for the visiting team, were very evident in Lehigh’s gameplay that afternoon.
Today I’m taking a look at the process of determining seeds and bids to the FCS playoffs, and I found a system where a different schools have different expectations of the what the playoffs can offer.
You may remember the genius of Groucho Marx, the bespectacled Marx Brother with the grease-painted eyebrows and mustache. One of my all-time favorite films, Horse Feathers, featured Groucho, Harpo, and Chico on the football field (actually the Rose Bowl), representing their “school” in a particularly important game.
But it’s a particular quote of his that seems to summarize Division I football perfectly, at both the FCS and FBS levels.
“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
Division I has never truly been a large tent of equal schools. It was a division that counted as members Texas (whose athletic budget is as large as some small nations), Mississippi Valley State (whose entire athletics budget is about the size of what the University of Texas pays for socks for its athletes) and Marist (who doesn’t even spend any money on athletics scholarships for its football athletes).
But 2014 was a year of true soul-searching in athletics, where a whole lot of schools decided they didn’t want to belong to the Division I club that accepts them as members.
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(Photo Credit: Lauren Gordon/The JMU Breeze)
You gotta give credit to head coach Jeff McInerney and the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils – they won’t back down from anybody.
A week after taking on nationally-ranked James Madison in their home opener last weekend, CCSU turns their bus to Bethlehem to visit Murray Goodman Stadium.
The Blue Devils, who struggled to a 2-8 season last year, are hoping that the old football adage is true that you improve the most from Game 1 to Game 2.
That’s how they hope to break up a three-game losing streak dating from last season.
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