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Projected FCS Playoff Qualifiers in 2022

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Jacob Saylors, ETSU Bucs Football

Twenty-four postseason teams will travel on the Road to Frisco with ETSU, out of the Southern Conference and powered by running back Jacob Saylors (8), projected by Athlon Sports to earn an at-large bid.

Selection Sunday is a long way off in FCS college football — Nov. 20 — but we're looking into the crystal ball early to see who will be called for the 24-team field.

Eleven schools will go in as conference champions and with an automatic qualifying bid, while 13 schools will earn at-large selections.

The championship game will be held on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.

Here is Athlon's projected 2022 FCS playoff field (in alphabetical order):

Campbell (Big South champion)

Notable: The Camels have never qualified for the playoffs.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 29 at North Carolina A&T

Chattanooga (Southern champion)

Notable: The Mocs haven't reached the playoffs since the last of three straight appearances in 2016.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 1 at ETSU

Davidson (Pioneer champion)

Notable: The Wildcats have posted four straight winning seasons under head coach Scott Abell after going without one in the 10 seasons prior to his arrival.

Pivotal Game: Nov. 12 at San Diego

Delaware (at-large bid)

Notable: The Blue Hens were national semifinalists in the 2020 season playoffs that were held last spring.

Pivotal Game: Nov. 19 at Villanova

Duquesne (Northeast champion)

Notable: Under head coach Jerry Schmidt, the Dukes posted one of the NEC's two all-time playoff wins (Towson, 2018).

Pivotal Game: Nov. 8 vs. Sacred Heart

ETSU (at-large bid)

Notable: New head coach Georga Quarles has a tough act to follow: a SoCon title, a school-record 11 wins, and a trip to the national quarterfinals.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 15 at Mercer

Holy Cross (Patriot champion)

Notable: The Crusaders beat Patriot opponents by an average of 29.5 points while claiming a third straight outright league title.

Pivotal Game: Sept. 24 at Colgate

Kennesaw State (ASUN-WAC champion)

Notable: The Owls' 49 wins since 2017 are the third-most among FCS programs (one of the other two, James Madison, is moving to the FBS in 2022).

Pivotal Game: Nov. 19 at Eastern Kentucky

Mercer (at-large bid)

Notable: The Bears have never qualified for the playoffs.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 15 vs. ETSU

Missouri State (at-large bid)

Notable: The Bears are seeking a third consecutive playoff bid for the first time in program history.

Pivotal Game: Sept. 24 vs. South Dakota State

Montana (Big Sky champion)

Notable: The Griz have made the most all-time playoffs appearances, 25 (not including vacated 2011 appearance).

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Pivotal Game: Nov. 19 at Montana State

Montana State (at-large bid)

Notable: The Bobcats' national runner-up finish and 11th playoff appearance last fall was their deepest run since 1984.

Pivotal Game: Nov. 19 vs. Montana

Murray State (Ohio Valley champion)

Notable: Although the Racers have five all-time playoff appearances, their most recent was in 2002.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 8 vs. UT Martin

Southeastern Louisiana (Southland champion)

Notable: All four of the Lions' four playoff appearances have occurred since 2013.

Pivotal Game: Nov. 17 at Nicholls

North Dakota State (Missouri Valley champion)

Notable: The FCS dynasty has the longest active playoff streak at 12 seasons, which includes a record nine championships.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 15 vs. South Dakota State

Northern Iowa (at-large bid)

Notable: UNI has the second-most all-time playoff appearances with 22, including in six of the last eight seasons.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 29 at Southern Illinois

Rhode Island (at-large bid)

Notable: URI seeks its first playoff bid since 1985, when the field consisted of only eight schools.

Pivotal Game: Sept. 17 vs. Delaware

Sacramento State (at-large bid)

Notable: Sac State has been ousted as the No. 4 playoff seed without a win in each of its last two seasons (2019 and '21).

Pivotal Game: Oct. 15 at Eastern Washington

South Dakota State (at-large bid)

Notable: The Jackrabbits have made 10 straight playoff appearances and reached at least the semifinals in four of the last five postseasons.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 15 at North Dakota State

Southern Illinois (at-large bid)

Notable: The Salukis' 36-point win in the 1983 title game (43-7 over Western Carolina) is the largest in FCS championship history.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 29 vs. Northern Iowa

Stephen F. Austin (at-large bid)

Notable: SFA, the 1989 FCS runner-up, made its first playoff appearance in seven years last fall.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 8 vs. UIW

UIW (at-large bid)

Notable: The Cardinals' first playoff win last season also was their first-ever overtime triumph.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 8 at Stephen F. Austin

Villanova (CAA champion)

Notable: Wildcats head coach Mark Ferrante has been a part of all 14 playoff appearances in program history — the first 12 as an assistant.

Pivotal Game: Nov. 19 vs. Delaware

Weber State (at-large bid)

Notable: The Wildcats' run of five straight playoff appearances (2016-20) ended last fall.

Pivotal Game: Oct. 8 vs. Eastern Washington

— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.TheAnalyst.com. He appears frequently on radio, TV and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.