On Saturday, North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman did not envy the press when it came to sorting out the FCS Playoff bracket.
“I’m not going to try to do what you guys do. Are you kidding me? Good luck,” Klieman said.
Klieman then proceeded with his sole prediction for the bracket: “I think we will be on the one line.”
That statement rung true Sunday morning upon the release of the bracket. The Bison secured the top spot and secured home-field advantage after a bye next week.
The first guests to the Fargodome will be either Montana State, who clinched a spot with a dramatic win at Montana Saturday, or Incarnate Word, one of three six-win teams in the field.
The second guests to Fargo could bring more worry to Bison Nation. Colgate took home the No. 8 seed and will host a second-round game. The Raiders will face a Colonial Athletic Association team. Because they didn’t play each other in the regular season, Delaware and James Madison will face off in Harrisburg in the first round.
Both of these teams have been to Fargo recently, Delaware earlier this season, and JMU in the playoffs in 2016.
Weber State took home the No. 2 seed and will also have home-field advantage on the opposite side of the bracket. The Wildcats will host either Southeast Missouri or Stony Brook.
Eastern Washington made it two of three for the Big Sky. The Eagles get to host either Nicholls or San Diego in the second round.
One-loss Kennesaw State rounds out the top four back on the NDSU side of the bracket. The Owls will be paired with the winner of Towson and Duquesne.
At No. 5 is South Dakota State. The Jacks finished 8-2 with one of those losses coming in Fargo. Should the Jacks beat the winner of Wofford and Elon in the second round and Kennesaw in the quarterfinals, another trip to Fargo could be on tap.
UC Davis slides in at No. 6, the third team from the Big Sky to be seeded. The Aggies will host the winner of Northern Iowa, the last of the three Missouri Valley teams in the field, and Lamar.
CAA champions Maine drew the No. 7 seed and will get either Jacksonville State or East Tennessee State in the first round. The CAA finished with six teams in the 24-team field.
For the Bison, it seems like another year of getting stuck in the difficult half of the bracket. Montana State should be favored to win their first-round game in Bozeman and come to Fargo. From the quarterfinals on, tricky tests emerge.
A weak strength of schedule is the easiest knock against Colgate, and an upset bid from either the Dukes or Blue Hens is a real possibility. NDSU fans would rather not see the Dukes again in the Dome, and the same goes for South Dakota State in a possible semifinal game.
The second-round game in Fargo will be Dec. 1 at a yet to be determined time.