We have already seen the start of two playoffs during this college football season. We are still two weeks away from the FBS College Football Playoff being announced. As we wait, the NCAA released the 2019 FCS playoffs bracket over the weekend. First-round games will get underway this weekend. The top eight seeds get to host a second-round game because they get a first-round bye. While some teams making it surprised the audience, other teams knew they were in all along. The goal is to make it all the way to Frisco, Texas. The championship game will take place on January 11th at Toyota Stadium in Frisco. The 2019 FCS playoffs are almost upon us. Let us see which host teams advance and which underdog teams put on the glass slipper.
North Dakota State
Stop me if you have heard this before. North Dakota State claims the top seed in the postseason. This has been the norm since 2011. Since that time, the Bison have won seven of the last eight national championships. Their only defeat came in 2016 when they lost, to eventual champions James Madison, in the semifinals. North Dakota State is under a new head coach, but that has not hindered their success at all. The Bison ran through the 2019 schedule, finishing 12-0. North Dakota State has played on two close games all season. Those came against UC Davis and Missouri Valley Conference opponent, South Dakota State. We have seen this story before. In 2013 coach Craig Bohl, after winning three championships, left Fargo, North Dakota to become the head coach at Wyoming. Enter Chris Klieman. Coach Klieman proceeded to win four championships in his tenure. After the 2018 season, Klieman left to become the head coach at Kansas State. The Bison named Matt Entz head coach for the 2019 season. No matter who is at the helm, the beat goes on in Fargo. Coach Entz and company hope to keep the train rolling and win their eighth championship in the last nine years.
Other Host Teams
Of the seven seeded teams remaining, four of them are viewed to have a legitimate shot to take down the mighty Bison. The following teams are number two seeded James Madison, number seven seeded South Dakota State, number three seeded Weber State, and number six seeded Montana. Combined these four teams have won 37 games this year. Montana and James Madison have also broken through to win national championships in their history. The Grizzlies and Dukes know what it takes to win and they have the ability to make a run at North Dakota State.
Weber State was a highly seeded team last year but saw their playoff run end abruptly. The Wildcats, seeded number 2, lost to seven seeded Maine last year. Weber State is poised to show the nation last year was a fluke and they can compete at a high level in FCS. South Dakota State knows North Dakota State well. The two play in the same conference and meet on the gridiron once every year during the regular season. The Jackrabbits’ last win in this rivalry came in 2017. The Bison defeated the Jackrabbits in last year’s postseason by a final score of 44-21. South Dakota State looks to use their familiarity, with the Bison, to their advantage. The two are slated to meet in the national championship with both teams being on opposite sides of the bracket. These four teams hope to take care of their business in the 2019 FCS Playoffs and chase down the potent Bison.
Rest of the Field
The rest of the field sees three double-digit win teams not getting a host position. Kennesaw State and Monmouth concluded 2019 with 10 wins each, while Central Connecticut State registered an 11-1 record. Monmouth is the only team that will host in round one on Saturday. The Hawks will host Holy Cross. If Monmouth wins Saturday, they will travel to take on the number two seed, James Madison. Kennesaw State travels to South Carolina to take on Wofford, whereas Central Connecticut State travels to New York to take on Albany. If the Owls defeat Wofford, they will advance to take on the number three seed Weber State. With a win by Central Connecticut State, the Blue Devils will advance to play the five seed Montana. These three teams feel disrespected by the committee not given a hosting spot. They hope to prove the committee wrong with a deep postseason run and upsets over the seeded teams.
All 23 teams have one goal in mind. They are all chasing North Dakota State. The Bison are the team to beat and have a target on their back. North Dakota State deserves credit being able to sustain this level of success under their new head coach. Central Arkansas could be the first seeded team to get their hands-on North Dakota State if the Bears win their opening-round game. Montana State or Sacramento State can knock out the Bison in the semifinals. North Dakota State has never lost in a championship game in this dynastic run, so they have the advantage of they make it to Frisco. James Madison is the only team that knows what it feels like to beat the Bison, in the postseason, since 2011. The rest of the field hopes the dam finally breaks and the Bison fall from grace. On the other hand, North Dakota State looks to continue their dominance over the FCS ranks. Tune in this Saturday up until January 11th to see who advances to the FCS finals at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.