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FCS Playoffs 2018 Bubble Watch

Who needs to win to ensure a spot in the 24-team field?

NCAA Football: Montana State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the FCS Selection Committee will announce the 24-team playoff for the 2018 FCS Playoffs. Coming into the final week of the regular season, only five teams have locked up a spot in this year’s field. Kennesaw State, North Dakota State, Jacksonville State, Colgate, and San Diego have all clinched berths as a result of winning their conferences.

Other teams are pretty much guaranteed to be part of the field too. In the Big Sky, Eastern Washington, Weber State, and UC Davis are all as close to locks as you could be, as all three teams are fighting for at least a share of the conference title and a national seed.

South Dakota State is assured of a spot in the festivities too, and the only question is whether or not they will be awarded a seed.

Elsewhere, Nicholls State punched their ticket on Thursday night with a blowout win over Southeastern Louisiana. That win moved the Colonels to 8-3, and they clinched at least a share of the Southland Conference with the victory.

In the CAA, there is a huge cluster at the top and as many as six teams could get in. James Madison, Maine, and Towson have probably done enough to seal a bid, while Delaware, Elon, and Stony Brook all may need a little help.

Finally, East Tennessee State has done enough to make it after winning eight games this season and going 6-1 in the Southern Conference to this point. The Buccaneers have not been very impressive in their conference victories, with all of them coming by three points or less, but a win is a win.

That leaves a lot of playoff spots open, and there is plenty of potential for wackiness in the final week of the regular season. Here are the games to keep an eye on:

Villanova at Delaware 12 p.m. ET

It’s win and you’re in for Delaware. The Blue Hens are 7-3, and they have notched some big wins already, but they must avoid losing to lowly Villanova in their season finale. The Wildcats have been a disaster, and a loss here would give the committee to leave Delaware out. The oddsmakers believe there is a decent chance Delaware could drop this game, and the Blue Hens are just a 10-point favorite.

Elon at Maine 12 p.m. ET

Maine is in regardless, and a Black Bears win here would give them a CAA title and likely a national seed. Meanwhile, Elon might have done enough to get in after beating James Madison in Harrisonburg earlier in the year, but this would clinch it.

Duquesne at Central Connecticut State 12 p.m. ET

The Northeast Conference has not been good this year, and only the conference champion will get a bid into the FCS Playoffs. Duquesne controls its destiny after beating Sacred Heart last week, and the Dukes will get this spot if they win. If the Blue Devils pull off the slight upset, they are a two-point home dog, they need Sacred Heart to lose to St. Francis to win the NEC.

Presbyterian College at Wofford 1:30 p.m. ET

Wofford is a massive favorite in this game, with the oddsmakers installing the Terriers as a 36-point favorite. They simply need to win to get in here, but a loss to a team transitioning to become a non-scholarship program would be devastating.

Montana State at Montana 2 p.m. ET

This is arguably the most intriguing game of the day. The Brawl of the Wild is probably the best rivalry in the FCS, and both these programs are 6-4. Montana State has a better resume than its in-state rival, but the Grizzlies are eight-point favorites at home in this one. A Bobcats win likely puts them in, but if the chalk holds and Montana wins it will be wait and see for the Grizz.

Indiana State at Western Illinois 2 p.m. ET

Others may disagree, but the MVFC is too good to only get two teams in the FCS Playoffs. This conference has cannibalized itself to a PAC 12 level this year though, and only NDSU and SDSU are guaranteed to make it.

I think the winner of this game will be in though. For Indiana State, the case is simple as it would give the Sycamores a 7-4 record and a five-game winning streak to end the season, but it’s more complicated for 5-5 Western Illinois. In the end, I think the Leathernecks will be rewarded for the strength of schedule though.

Lamar at McNeese State 4 p.m. ET

The loser of this game is going to be out of the playoff picture, while the winner will only marginally improve its chances. Still, whoever wins this game likely needs some help to get into the playoffs although both teams are 6-4.

Weber State at Idaho State 4:35 p.m. ET

Weber State knows it’s in the playoffs already, but Idaho State’s status is up in the air. The Bengals can punch their ticket with a win over the Big Sky favorites, while a loss puts their chances of getting in at a coinflip.