A Rough Road to Frisco

The FCS Playoff Committee announced the 2016 playoff bracket on Sunday. The Bison came away with the No. 1 seed and the first-round bye. This will give the Bison a week off to heal up after a physical game with South Dakota.

The Bison will host the winner of Cal Poly vs. San Diego on Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. The Bison have not lost at home in the playoffs.

Once again, the road to Texas will come through the Fargodome. But it will likely mean a familiar face will take the trip north. South Dakota State picked up the No. 8 seed, along with the first-round bye. The two teams are on a collision course for a quarterfinal matchup.

The Jackrabbits shared the Missouri Valley Football Conference with the Bison due to beating NDSU at the Fargodome. This also locked up the automatic bid for the Jacks, meaning the No. 1 seed was an at-large bid.

The rest of the top half isn’t much better for the Bison. No. 5 Sam Houston and No. 4 James Madison sit near the Bison for a semifinal matchup. Sam Houston State have made the semifinals each of the last two years and is the only undefeated team left. A weak Southland Conference led to their low seed.

The Playoff Committee also missed an opportunity to rule the state of North Dakota. UND picked up the No. 7 seed and a bye. This puts the Fighting Hawks on the other side of the bracket of the Bison, and making a date with the No. 2 seed in a possible quarterfinal match up.

That No. 2 seed is Eastern Washington. The Eagles were co-champions with the Fighting Hawks in the Big Sky. The two teams did not face each other in the regular season. EWU finished 10-1, that loss came in the Fargodome in overtime back in September.

Two other Missouri Valley teams made the playoffs. Youngstown State, who finished third in the MVFC, will face Samford in the first round. Joining them in the first round is Illinois State, the only six-win team in the field.

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