7 questions to be answered in the 2nd round of the FCS playoffs

The second round of the FCS Playoffs is here after the first round brought big games and thrilling finishes. With eight games coming up next in Round Two, here are some burning questions that will be answered this week.

7 questions to answer in the second round of the FCS playoffs

1. Which Delaware team is showing up?

Delaware had 56 points on the board in the first round of the FCS playoffs after entering the postseason and losing three of its last four games. The Blue Hens opened the postseason looking more like the team that started the season ranked 6th than the team on a losing streak to end the season.

Now Delaware goes to the top of the standings. If the team that showed up in round one shows up against South Dakota State, we’re in for a good game. We’ll have to wait and see which version of the Blue Hens arrives at Brookings.

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2. Is South Dakota State ready to put past playoff failures behind?

South Dakota State has not progressed from the second round in six of its 11 playoff games. Once the Jackrabbits get past the first two rounds, they have yet to win an FCS championship.

South Dakota State is entering the 2022 postseason with the top seed in FCS and high expectations. South Dakota State won’t have an easy time opening round two when historic FCS powerhouse Delaware comes to town. If the jackrabbits want to keep their past failures in the past, round two kicks off.

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3. Is Holy Cross real?

Holy Cross is one of two unbeaten FCS playoff teams, yet the Crusaders only received the No. 8 in the postseason. That seed reflects what the committee thinks of Holy Cross’ unbeaten season, with just four of their 11 wins against teams scored above 0.500. Many have wondered how good this Holy Cross team is, but the Crusaders can answer all questions with a first playoff win over co-CAA champion New Hampshire.

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4. Who will win the rematch between Montana State and Weber State?

Montana State and Weber State met in Bozeman on October 22, with the Bobcats winning 43-38. The two Big Sky enemies will meet again in the second round of the playoffs.

If you’re a Weber State fan, you can look to the four safeties allowed on punts for hope in the rematch. That’s an eight-point swing in favor of the Wildcats.

If you’re a Montana State fan, you can go into round two with confidence because the Bobcats won the first matchup despite allowing a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown.

Montana State and Weber State have reason to believe they can do better at the second meeting than they did at the first. All eyes will be on this game to see which team can prevail.

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5. Is UIW built for the playoffs?

The Cardinals averaged 52.9 points per game en route to a 10-1 record that included an FBS win. Southland Offensive Player of the Year Lindsey Scott Jr. has 57 total touchdowns and over 4,000 total yards of offense. Scott is a finalist and one of the favorites for the Walter Payton Award. On defense, UIW is led by Kelechi Anyalebechi, a Buck Buchanan Award finalist and one of the top linebackers in the country. The Cardinals only allow 19.09 points per game.

Still, we’ve seen teams with high-flying offenses stutter in the postseason and previously put their defenses in a bind. Additionally, this is a UIW program that never made it past the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Is this Cardinal team, focused on a productive offense, built for postseason success? We’ll find out sooner rather than later.

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6. Is North Dakota State-Montana a title match?

If FCS fans had been told before the season that North Dakota State would meet Montana in the playoffs, many would have assumed the schools would meet in the championship game. Instead, Bison and Grizzlies clash in the second round. Both teams started the year with title expectations. The states of North Dakota and Montana took the top spots #1 and #3, respectively. This game has all the elements of a high stakes matchup, and while it’s not about a title, it’s still win or go home. Already in the second round we could face a classic of all time.

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7. Can Sacramento State Win a Playoff Game?

For the past three seasons (including this year) that Sacramento State has played football, it has won the Big Sky Championship and placed in the FCS playoffs. Despite success in the regular season, the Hornets are 0-2 in the postseason, losing every second-round game at home.

Sacramento State faces a similar challenge in 2022, hosting Richmond in the second round. The Hornets are undefeated this season and looking better than they have in the last two postseasons. Will Sacramento State Finally Enter the Postseason Winning Column?