UT Martin is likely on the outside looking in at the FCS college football playoffs. That would not have been the case if it hadn’t lost a coin flip on Saturday night.
The Skyhawks may get screwed out of the playoffs because they were on the wrong end of 50/50 odds.
Let’s break it down:
Prior to the weekend, Southeast Missouri State and the University of Tennessee at Martin sat atop the Ohio Valley Conference at 4-0. The former hosted Murray State at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, while the latter hosted Eastern Illinois at 3 p.m. ET.
Both teams won. As a result, they each finished 5-0 in the conference.
This is where the coin toss comes into play between UT Martin and SEMO to decide the Ohio Valley Conference champion and FCS playoffs.
A total of 24 teams make the FCS football playoff. There are 10 automatic qualifiers and 14 at-large bids.
Automatic qualifier bids are awarded to these conference champions:
- A-SUN / WAC Alliance
- Big Sky
- Big South
- OVC / Southland Alliance
Notice how the OVC champion is one of the automatic qualifier bids. The winner of the OVC gets an automatic bid.
However, both SEMO and UT Martin finished 5-0. They did not play each other because of conference realignment. So who won the conference? Who gets the bid?
That was determined by the coin toss.
SEMO won the coin toss and got the bid.
As a result, UT Martin may miss out on the playoffs.
Entering the weekend at 8-2 overall, SEMO was ranked No. 15 in the FCS Coaches Poll. Win, lose or otherwise on Saturday (they won), the Redhawks were likely making the playoffs as either an automatic qualifier or through an at-large bid.
Entering Saturday at 6-4, UT Martin was not ranked in the FCS Coaches Poll. If the Skyhawks lost, they were out of playoff contention. If they won, it went to a coin toss.
The latter ended up playing out. But they lost the coin toss, so they have not punched their ticket to the postseason, while the Redhawks have.
By losing the toss, UT Martin is likely just outside the playoff conversation and won’t get in. There is still a chance that the committee could decide to put them in based on OVC record. Probably not.
At 7-4, without getting the auto-bid, the Skyhawks will have to wait and see their fate during the selection show on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. All because of a coin toss. Brutal.