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Top-seeded App State headlines playoff field

By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A regular season in which there was not a definitive No. 1 team will get its answer from the upcoming Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

On Sunday, the NCAA selected Appalachian State (9-2) as the No. 1 seed for the expanded, 20-team bracket.

The other seeds were No. 2 William & Mary (8-3), No. 3 Delaware (9-2), No. 4 Montana State (9-2) and No. 5 Eastern Washington (9-2). All five seeds as well as seven other teams the NCAA selection committee determined to be the next- best earned first-round byes on Saturday, Nov. 27.

Top-seeded Appalachian State, which won three straight FCS titles from 2005-07, qualified for its sixth straight and 18th overall playoff appearance. Coach Jerry Moore's squad shared the SoCon title with Wofford, but earned the conference's automatic bid by winning the head-to-head meeting.

Reacting to his team's No. 1 seed, Moore told ESPNU, "I think the big thing is pretty obvious that you play at home as long as you win. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to stay No. 1."

The first-round byes are a result of the field being expanded from 16 to 20 teams.

Four first-round games will kick off the playoffs on Nov. 27: Western Illinois (7-4) at Coastal Carolina (6-5); Robert Morris (8-2) at North Dakota State (7-4); Lehigh (9-2) at Northern Iowa (7-4); and South Carolina State (9-2) at Georgia Southern (7-4).

The first-round winners advance to the second round on Saturday, Dec. 4.

The quarterfinals will follow on Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11. One semifinal will be held on Friday, Dec. 17 and the other on Saturday, Dec. 18.

There will be a three-week break leading up to the championship game on Friday, Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

The 10 automatic qualifiers were all conference champions: Montana State (Big Sky); Coastal Carolina (Big South); William & Mary (CAA Football); Bethune- Cookman (Mideastern Athletic Conference); Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley); Robert Morris (Northeast Conference); Southeast Missouri State (Ohio Valley Conference); Lehigh (Patriot League); Appalachian State (Southern Conference); and Stephen F. Austin (Southland).

The 10 at-large bids selections went to Eastern Washington (Big Sky), Delaware (CAA), New Hampshire (CAA), 2009 FCS champion Villanova (CAA), South Carolina State (MEAC), North Dakota State (Missouri Valley) Western Illinois (Missouri Valley), Jacksonville State (OVC), Wofford (SoCon) and Georgia Southern (SoCon).

Teams earning their first-ever FCS bids were North Dakota State, Robert Morris and Southeast Missouri State.

The CAA had the most qualifiers with four, and each received a first-round bye. The Missouri Valley and the SoCon had three qualifiers each. All three Missouri Valley teams will play in the first round.

Teams whose hope for at-large bid were dashed included Liberty (8-3), Dayton (10-1), Jacksonville (10-1), Cal Poly (7-4) and Montana (7-4), the national runner-up in each of the past two seasons. Montana, which had only six wins against Division I opponents, had made a record 17 straight playoff appearances.

"Selecting the teams for the final at-large positions is always a difficult task, and this year was no different," selection committee chairman Jim O'Day, the athletic director at Montana, said during an online chat on NCAA.com. "As a committee, we deliberated late last night and early this morning. There were a group of teams for the final two at-large berths. Each team received lengthy discussion about their accomplishments. We felt all of the teams were worthy of consideration. However, we could not select them all."

2010 NCAA Division I Football Championship
(Campus sites until the final)

First Round

Saturday, Nov. 27

Western Illinois (7-4) at Coastal Carolina (6-5)

Robert Morris (8-2) at North Dakota State (7-4)

Lehigh (9-2) at Northern Iowa (7-4)

South Carolina State (9-2) at Georgia Southern (7-4)

Second Round

Saturday, Dec. 4

Western Illinois-Coastal Carolina winner at No. 1 Appalachian State (9-2), noon ET

Villanova (7-4) at Stephen F. Austin (9-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

Southeast Missouri State (9-2) at No. 5 Eastern Washington (9-2)

Robert Morris-North Dakota State winner at No. 4 Montana State (9-2), 2 p.m. ET

Lehigh-Northern Iowa winner at No. 3 Delaware (9-2)

New Hampshire (7-4) at Bethune-Cookman (10-1)

Wofford (9-2) at Jacksonville State (9-2), noon ET

South Carolina State-Georgia Southern winner at William & Mary (8-3)

Quarterfinals

Friday, Dec. 10 or Saturday, Dec. 11
Second-round winners

Semifinals

Friday, Dec. 17 or Saturday, Dec. 18

Quarterfinal-round winners, TBA

Final

Friday, Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas
Semifinal-round winners

In the FCS Huddle has been projecting the potential playoff field since the preseason. The projection through Saturday click here.

Sacks or scores, contact Craig Haley at
chaley@sportsnetwork.com.


Follow Craig Haley on Twitter and Facebook.

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