In the FCS Huddle: For some, playoff ticket all but punched

With only 20 invitations available, the pool of potential invites is starting to dwindle for the FCS playoffs.

After Week 10, it would appear 11 teams have already locked up a spot in the 20-team dance, and are now playing for seeds and potential byes.

In CAA Football the trio of league leaders, New Hampshire, Towson and Maine, are all 7-2 and 5-1 in the conference. All three, along with Old Dominion (8-2, 5-2), should expect to reach the playoffs. In fact, the only question remaining around the CAA is which team will get the automatic bid - and a top- five seed perhaps? - and if James Madison will be able to rally and sneak in at 7-4.

Unlike past seasons when the Big Sky received three bids, this year only two teams will be making plans for the postseason. Montana State (9-1) and Montana (8-2) both have byes this week and will play for the conference's automatic bid on Nov. 19.

In the Southern Conference, Georgia Southern (8-1) and Wofford (7-2) are locks to reach the postseason, while Appalachian State (6-3) is a safe bet with a pair of easier games to close out the season, even after it lost to Furman on Saturday.

For Furman (6-3), the win over the Mountaineers really strengthened its playoff resume. With a win against Elon next week, the Paladins could be on their way to the postseason for the first time since 2006.

Top-ranked North Dakota State (9-0), Northern Iowa (7-2) and Illinois State (7-3) seem to have their tickets punched from the Missouri Valley Conference, while Youngstown State (5-4) and Indiana State (5-4) are close to having bubbles burst.

Southland Conference leader Sam Houston State (9-0) has clinched an automatic bid already, while Patriot League leader Lehigh (8-1) will be looking to do the same next Saturday against Georgetown.

After 10 weeks of action, here is my projected playoff field:

Big Sky (2): Montana, Montana State

Big South (1): Liberty

CAA (4): Towson, Maine, Old Dominion, New Hampshire

MEAC (1): Norfolk State

NEC (1): Albany

MVC (3): North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Illinois State

OVC (1): Eastern Kentucky

Patriot (1): Lehigh

SoCon (4): Wofford, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State, Furman

Southland (2): Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas

THE LEAN, MEAN, FRESHMAN SCORING MACHINE

Towson freshman phenom Terrence West continued his impressive scoring streak, scoring three touchdowns in a 40-30 victory against Maine.

Leading the nation in touchdowns with 21, West has scored multiple touchdowns in each game he has posted double-digit carries.

Against Maine, he had a career-high 27 carries for 183 yards and touchdown runs of 8, 2 and 4 yards.

With 929 yards through Towson's first nine games, West should reach the 1,000- yard mark next weekend against New Hampshire and is an early favorite for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award (sponsored by Fathead.com), which is presented to the FCS' outstanding freshman.

MONTANA STATE AVOIDS EARLY SCARE

In a weekend when two other Top 10 teams fell, No. 2 Montana State rallied after trailing Weber State 24-20 at halftime. The Bobcats scored 24 second- half points, turning an upset bid into a 44-24 win.

The win clinched at least a share of their second straight Big Sky championship.

SIMPLE KICKS NOT SO SIMPLE

In a battle of triple-option SoCon teams, extra points proved to be the difference as Georgia Southern defeated The Citadel, 14-12.

While the Eagles' Adrian Mora converted on both of his attempts, Bulldogs kicker Ryan Sellers had a pair of kicks blocked.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Jacksonville's 16-game Pioneer Football League winning streak is over after a 31-24 loss to Drake on Saturday.

The Dolphins also dropped to 0-5 all-time at Drake Stadium, and the PFL race is still a heated one with Jacksonville, Drake and San Diego all with one league loss.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels trailed Jacksonville State 48-24 with 7:25 remaining, but rallied to win 52-48 and take the lead in the OVC title chase.

The Colonels scored four straight touchdowns, including a 71-yard fumble return by Anthony Brown, before stopping Jacksonville State at the 1-yard line on the final play of the game.

PARTING SHOTS

Hampton and Howard both struggled offensively, combining for 423 total yards, as Howard came away with a 10-7 MEAC victory ... San Diego almost let a 24-0 lead slip away against Dayton. The Flyers would score the next 28 points, but San Diego salvaged the victory, 31-28, on a late touchdown by Kenny James ... North Carolina Central earned its first MEAC win, 14-7 against Delaware State ... Morehead State quarterback Zach Lewis attempted 67 passes in a 41-31 loss to Campbell. Lewis' 67 attempts, of which he completed 44 for 400 yards, is tied for the third most of any player in the FCS this season ... Brown running back Mark Kachmer had a school-record 95-yard touchdown run in a 34-28 win against Yale. It was also the longest run in Yale Bowl history and fourth longest in Ivy League history ... With starter B.J. Coleman still out with an injury, Chattanooga used three different players at quarterback (Terrell Robinson, Graham Nichols and Sloan Allison) in a 24-9 win against Samford ... Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet rushed for four touchdowns in a 50-31 win against Charleston Southern. Maysonet is now the Seawolves' all-time leader for rushing touchdowns with 25 ... Harvard coach Tim Murphy became the all-time winningest coach in program history, picking up his 118th victory in a 35-21 win against Columbia ... Indiana State running back Shakir Bell was held under 100 yards for the first time since Week 2 in a 27-16 loss to North Dakota State. The sophomore, who was shaken up early on an awkward tackle, carried 16 times for 79 yards ... Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke passed for a career-high 373 yards and three touchdowns, leading a 42-28 win against Richmond ... Wofford left South Carolina for the first time this season and it wasn't an issue. The Terriers racked up 500 rushing yards in a 42-24 win against Western Carolina ... Retiring Eastern Illinois coach Bob Spoo coached his final home game, an 18-17 loss to Tennessee State ... Dartmouth running back Nick Schwieger ran for a school-record 257 yards in a 33-24 win against Cornell ... It won't make the playoffs, but Portland State (6-3) locked up a winning season by defeating Sacramento State, 29-20 ... Norfolk State clinched at least a share of the MEAC title after defeating Savannah State, 45-3 ... Cal Poly will not make the playoffs after dropping its final Great West game. After the Mustangs fell to UC Davis, 24-17, they hope to hang on for an outright conference title.