The crystal ball: FCS playoff projections

(STATS) – The FCS playoff picture appears to be as fluid as it’s ever been heading into the final full weekend of the regular season.

This week, so many teams are going to play their way in or out of the 24-team pairings, which the NCAA will release Sunday morning (11 a.m. ET, ESPNU).

In recent weeks, the candidates for at-large bids have been winning regularly, so the bubble remains huge, but it’s about to burst. What you see today isn’t necessarily what you will see on Selection Sunday.

The Samford-Furman game in the Southern Conference surely will decide a bid, and the Monmouth-Kennesaw State championship bout in the Big South could leave the losing team on the outside looking in. Following recent losses, Elon, Northern Arizona and South Dakota – potential seeds earlier this month – may need to win to remain in the picture.

New Hampshire, Eastern Washington, Montana and Austin Peay are among the teams waiting to pounce on opportunities.

Enjoy the craziness.

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PROJECTED BIDS BY CONFERENCE=

* – Automatic qualifier

Big Sky (3): Northern Arizona (7-3); *Southern Utah (8-2); Weber State (8-2)

Big South (2): *Kennesaw State (9-1); Monmouth (9-1)

CAA (4): Delaware (7-3); Elon (8-2); *James Madison (10-0); Stony Brook (8-2)

Missouri Valley (5): *North Dakota State (9-1); Northern Iowa (6-4); South Dakota (7-3); South Dakota State (8-2); Western Illinois (7-3)

Northeast (1): *Central Connecticut State (7-3)

Ohio Valley (1): *Jacksonville State (9-1)

Patriot (1): *Lehigh (4-6)

Pioneer (1): *San Diego (8-2)

Southern (3): Furman (7-3); Samford (7-3); *Wofford (9-1)

Southland (3): *Central Arkansas (9-1); Nicholls (8-2); Sam Houston State (9-1)

Moved In: Central Connecticut State, Lehigh, Nicholls

Dropped Out: Colgate, Duquesne, Western Carolina

Bubble Watch: Eastern Washington (6-4); New Hampshire (7-3); Illinois State (6-4); Montana (7-3); Western Carolina (7-4); Austin Peay (7-4); McNeese (8-2)

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STATS’ PROJECTED PAIRINGS=

Top 8 seeds receive first-round byes

Central Connecticut State-Stony Brook winner at No. 1 seed James Madison

Lehigh-Northern Iowa winner at No. 8 seed Southern Utah

San Diego-South Dakota winner at No. 5 seed South Dakota State

Kennesaw State-Furman winner at No. 4 seed Central Arkansas

Northern Arizona-Weber State winner at No. 3 seed North Dakota State

Monmouth-Delaware winner at No. 6 seed Sam Houston State

Western Illinois-Elon winner at No. 7 seed Wofford

Samford-Nicholls winner at No. 2 seed Jacksonville State