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NCAA DIVISION I FCS – WEEKLY ROUNDUP (Nov. 30)
EVERY DOWN. EVERY DAY.
HEADLINES IN THE FCS THIS WEEK
* There were 16 FCS wins against FBS schools this year, surpassing the previous record of 13 (set in 2000). Seven of those 16 victories included wins vs. teams from BCS conferences.
* Playoff Qualifiers (24) - Big Sky (4); Big South (1); CAA Football (3); MEAC (2); Missouri Valley Football Conference – (2); Northeast – (1); Ohio Valley Conference – (3); Patriot League – (2); Pioneer Football League – (1); Southern Conference – (2); Southland Conference – (3)
* Beginning with this season, the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee will use the NCAA SRS as a tool for evaluating teams for selection into the 24-team championship.
* Nearly 150 student-athletes from schools currently in the FCS are on NFL rosters in 2013. Four players from FCS schools were in the Pro Bowl in 2013. The NFL’s active scoring leader (and in the Top 10 all-time) is PK Adam Vinatieri (South Dakota State alum). Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State), of course, is the all-time leading scorer for non-kickers with 1,256 career points.
College Sporting News: QB Josh Woodrum, Liberty, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; LB Brock Coyle, Montana, FS Marcus Peters, Central Arkansas; PK Seth Sebastian, SE Louisiana
Sports Network: QB Ryan Howard, Central Arkansas; LB Evan Byers, Bucknell, LB Christian Kuntz, Duquesne; PK Seth Sebastian, SE Louisiana
College FB Performance: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; Ray Mitchell, Northern Iowa; several selected
BIG SKY – For the first time in Big Sky history, four league teams qualified for the postseason. Big Sky Champion Eastern Washington (ninth since joining Big Sky in 1987) earned the No. 3 seed. Montana (22nd), Northern Arizona (first since 2003) and Southern Utah (1st) earned at-large bids. Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp caught a TD pass in his 12th straight game last week, breaking the FCS all-time record previously held by Marshall’s Randy Moss and Cal Poly’s Ramses Barden. Kupp has 77 catches for 1,378 yards. The 1,378 yards are the most ever by an FCS freshman. Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams enters the playoffs with 46 TD passes, a Big Sky single-season record.
BIG SOUTH – Coastal Carolina (10-2) has been ranked among the top 10 in the nation over the past eight weeks and had wins over three conference co-champions, including MEAC co-champion South Carolina State, SoCon co-champion and league automatic bid recipient Furman and Big South co-champion Liberty. Coastal Carolina earned the Big South’s first playoff berth, an at-large selection, in 2006, falling to top seed Appalachian State in the first round. In 2010, Coastal received the Big South’s first automatic bid and fell to Western Illinois in the first round.
CAA FOOTBALL – New Hampshire earned its FCS-best 10th-straight playoff berth and will host its first home playoff game since 2005 on Saturday against Lafayette. Both Maine and Towson received postseason seeds and return to the playoffs for the second time in three years.
IVY LEAGUE – Harvard captured its 15th Ancient Eight crown and its seventh under Tim Murphy. The Crimson’s 9-1 record marked the sixth time it had nine or more wins under Murphy. Princeton (8-2, 6-1 Ivy) secured its 10th Ivy League title – its first since 2006 – and its first for coach Bob Surace. Surace became just the third person ever to win an Ivy League title as a player and a head coach. Dartmouth’s Jake Crouthamel won the 1958 title as a player and as coach in 1971-73. Buddy Teevens accomplished the feat for Dartmouth as a player in 1978 and as coach in 1990 and 1991. Four other former players who served as head coaches: David Archer (Cornell), Jim Hofher (Cornell), Jim Knowles (Cornell) and Jake McCandless (Princeton). Princeton QB Quinn Epperly became the first player in Ivy League history to account for more than 40 TDs in one season as he totaled 43 (25 passing, 18 rushing) in 10 games. His 25 passing TDs tied the school’s single-season mark, and he set an NCAA Division I record Nov. 2 when he had 29-straight pass completions (vs. Cornell).
MEAC – Bethune-Cookman will Coastal Carolina in the first round. This is the second straight year that the two teams will meet in the first round of the Division I playoffs. Last year, Coastal Carolina edged out Bethune-Cookman, 24-14. South Carolina State is the second team in conference history to host more than one NCAA Division I playoff game. S.C. State hosted Tennessee State in 1981 and joins Bethune-Cookman (2003, 2010, 2012), with three home games. Florida A&M (1998) and Hampton (2006) have also served as hosts.
MISSOURI VALLEY – North Dakota State received the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs, marking the second-straight year the Bison have accomplished that. It’s the fourth time the MVFC has had the championship’s overall No. 1 seed. The MVFC joins CAA Football as the only two leagues with two or more bids in every season since 1995 (19 years). Valley Football is represented by South Dakota State and North Dakota State in this year’s field.
NEC – For the second straight season, the Northeast Conference football champion will face a Patriot League member in the NCAA FCS First Round. Sacred Heart (10-2) will make its first-ever FCS playoff appearance on November 30 in The Bronx against No. 9 Fordham (11-1). With its first conference crown since 2001, Sacred Heart will become the fourth different program to ever represent the NEC in the FCS playoffs. Jerry Rice Award finalist RJ Noel, SHU’s rookie quarterback, is a threat in the ground game as well. Noel, who was responsible for 30 touchdowns this season, ran for 665 yards and seven touchdowns. His longest rush was a 66-yarder for a touchdown during the Week 2 win at Lafayette.
OHIO VALLEY – Although the OVC has placed multiple teams in the FCS playoff field in 19 of 35 seasons, this season marked the first time the league had placed three teams in the NCAA Division I Football Championship in the same season. Eastern Illinois, who received a first round bye for being the No. 2 overall seed, is making its 15th playoff appearance, which is tied for seventh-most in FCS history. Tennessee State and Jacksonville State are both making its fourth appearance in the field. It marks the first time for TSU since 1999 and first time for JSU since 2010.
PATRIOT – Lafayette makes the postseason for the fourth time, and first after making three consecutive runs from 2004-06. The Leopards defeated rival Lehigh 50-28 on Saturday to win the Patriot League title for the first time since 2006 and first outright since 1994. The Leopards are the first-ever sub .500 team in the FCS playoff field. Lafayette has never won a postseason game, falling in the first round at Delaware (2004), Appalachian State (2005) and Massachusetts (2006). Fordham earns its first playoff bid since 2007, and the first at-large berth for a Patriot League team since 2005. The Rams, who were ineligible for the Patriot League title, finished 11-1 overall with the only blemish coming at Lafayette. Fordham’s resume included two wins over top-10 opponents (Villanova and Lehigh) and a victory over an FBS squad (Temple). Fordham hosts for the first time, and becomes the first Patriot League team to play at home in the postseason since Lehigh in 2004.
PIONEER – Butler, which won a share of the PFL title for the second-straight year, becomes the first ever Pioneer Football League team to participate in the NCAA Division I Football Championship. Butler earned the league’s AQ in a tiebreaker (over Marist). Marist wrapped up its 2013 campaign with five consecutive wins and that was enough to help it claim a share of its first-ever PFL title. The Red Foxes earned their first championship in their fifth season as a member of the PFL.
SOUTHERN – Furman, Samford and Chattanooga shared the Southern Conference championship with identical 6-2 records. It is Samford’s first title since joining the league in 2008 and UTC’s first crown since 1984. Furman has now won 13 Southern Conference championships, the most in league history. The Southern Conference placed multiple teams in the FCS Playoff field for the 10th consecutive season. Furman is making its 16th appearance in the FCS Playoffs, while Samford has earned its third berth and its first since 1992.
SOUTHLAND – The Southland Conference landed three teams in the FCS Playoffs marking the fifth time the league has had three teams reach the postseason. The other years were 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2001. Southeastern Louisiana is making its first trip to the FCS Playoffs after winning its first Southland Conference title. McNeese State, on the other hand, is making its conference-best 15th appearance in the FCS Playoffs as an at-large selection. This is their first appearance since 2009. The Cowboys are 11-14 all-time in the postseason and have reached the championship game in 1997 and 2002. Those two teams have a bye in the first round. Sam Houston State is the third Southland team to reach the playoffs this year, garnering an at-large selection. The Bearkats are making their seventh all-time playoff appearance and for the third consecutive year after reaching the championship game each of the last two seasons. Sam Houston owns a 9-6 record in the playoffs. Sam Houston faces Southern Utah in the first round and is 6-0 against Big Sky teams the last three years, including a 5-0 mark in the postseason.
SWAC – To close out the 2013 season, the final three SWAC games will be televised on national television. Alabama State will host Stillman for the Turkey Day Classic on ESPNU. Grambling State and Southern will match-up for the 40th Bayou Classic live on NBC. To close the television schedule, Jackson State and Southern will face-off on ESPNU in the 2013 Toyota SWAC Football Championship on Dec. 7. For the season, Johnta’ Hebert (Prairie View A&M - 250) became the fourth running back in the league to rush for 200 or more yards on the year. He joins Malcolm Cyrus (Alabama State - 246), Courtney Brown (Prairie View A&M - 224) and Tommy Gooden (Jackson State - 214) recording the leagues’ top rushing performances on the season. Jackson State and Southern will meet for the second time in the SWAC Football Championship game on Dec. 7 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Both teams played in the first ever SWAC Football Championship on Dec. 11, 1999. SU defeated JSU 31-30 in Birmingham, Ala. at Legion Field. To date, it has drawn the largest crowd (47, 621).
FCS IN THE PLAYOFFS - INCREDIBLE SINCE 2005
THE 2013 TOP FOUR SEEDS
Two-time defending national champ North Dakota State (11-0) tops the bracket as the No. 1 seed after capturing the automatic qualifying berth from the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Second-seeded Eastern Illinois (11-1) is making its second straight appearance and 15th overall. The Panthers captured the OVC automatic berth.
Eastern Washington (10-2), which is making its 10th overall tournament appearance, is the No. 3 seed. The 2010 national champion Eagles captured the Big Sky Conference automatic berth.
Southeastern Louisiana (10-2) is the No. 4 seed after capturing the Southland Conference automatic berth. The Lions are making their first appearance in the championship.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE (Saturday, Nov. 30)
Furman (7-5) at South Carolina State (9-3)
at Orangeburg, SC, 1 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
B-Cookman (10-2) at C. Carolina (10-2)
at Conway, SC, 1 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Lafayette (5-6) at New Hampshire (7-4)
at Durham, NH, Noon (ET) (ESPN3)
S. Utah (8-4) at Sam Houston St. (8-4)
at Huntsville, Texas, 3 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
S. Dakota St. (8-4) at N. Arizona (9-2)
at Flagstaff, Ariz., 8 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Samford (8-4) at Jacksonville State (9-3)
at Jacksonville, Ala., 8 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Sacred Heart (10-2) at Fordham (11-1)
at Bronx, NY, 1 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Tennessee State (9-3) at Butler (9-3)
at Indianapolis, 1 p.m. (ET) (ESPN3)
Four leagues have dominated the playoffs (115 of 132 total wins from those four leagues) since 2005.
By Decade *85-89 90-99 00-09 10-pres. ALL
Southern 14-9 36-20 35-19 10-9 99-61
CAA 2-8 16-23 47-29 10-12 79-78
Big Sky 8-11 23-20 24-21 10-6 77-63
MVFC 6-6 18-16 24-22 14-6 62-50
Ohio Valley 6-9 7-16 1-14 0-5 24-50
Southland 13-6 16-20 9-17 7-5 50-52
Ind. 22-14 29-13 3-2 0-0 64-45
Patriot 0-0 1-5 6-12 2-3 9-20
MEAC 0-2 4-9 0-11 0-4 8-28
Big South 0-0 0-0 0-1 3-4 3-5
Great West 0-0 0-0 1-2 0-0 1-2
Northeast 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-3 1-3
SWAC 0-6 0-6 0-0 0-0 0-18
In the Playoffs (Since 2005)
Southern 28 17 .622
Missouri Valley 28 17 .622
CAA Football 38 29 .567
Big Sky 21 17 .553
Southland 10 12 .455
Big South 3 5 .375
Great West 1 2 .333
Northeast 1 3 .250
Patriot 2 9 .182
MEAC 0 9 .000
Ohio Valley 0 12 .000
WEEKLY GPI TOP-25 RANKINGS
Rank, School (Rating)
1. N Dakota St (1.14)
2. E Illinois (1.86)
3. E Washington (3.86)
4. SE Louisiana (4.14)
5. Towson (6.00)
6. Montana (7.00)
7T. S Dakota St (8.14)
7T. McNeese St (8.14)
9. Maine (10.00)
10. Northern Arizona (13.29)
11. Coastal Carolina (13.43)
12T. Northern Iowa (15.86)
12T. Youngstown St (15.86)
14. S Illinois (17.00)
15. Harvard (17.29)
16. Fordham (18.29)
17. Bethune-Cookman (19.00)
18. Tennessee St (19.29)
19. New Hampshire (19.57)
20. Villanova (19.86)
21. Sam Houston St (20.29)
22. Jacksonville St (20.71)
23. Princeton (23.14)
24. William & Mary (23.57)
25. Old Dominion (24.14)
WEEKLY COACHES TOP-25 RANKINGS
Team (First Place) Rec Pts.
1 North Dakota State (25) 11-0 625
2 Eastern Illinois 11-1 600
3 Eastern Washington 10-2 575
4 Towson 10-2 535
5 Montana 10-2 517
6 McNeese State 10-2 490
7 Southeastern Louisiana 10-2 465
8 Maine 10-2 428
9 Northern Arizona 9-2 407
10 Fordham 11-1 400
11 Coastal Carolina 10-2 398
12 Bethune-Cookman 10-2 356
13 South Dakota State 8-4 322
14 Sam Houston State 8-4 244
15 New Hampshire 7-4 209
16 Samford 8-4 177
17 Tennessee State 9-3 163
18 Montana State 7-5 151
19 Youngstown State 8-4 128
20 Charleston Southern 10-3 110
21 Jacksonville State 9-3 109
22 Harvard 9-1 105
23 Chattanooga 8-4 90
24 Lehigh 8-3 83
25 Southern Utah 8-4 81
WEEKLY SPORTS NETWORK TOP-25 RANKINGS
Team (First Place) Rec Pts.
1 North Dakota State (143) 11-0 3,575
2 Eastern Illinois 11-1 3,416
3 Eastern Washington 10-2 3,278
4 Montana 10-2 2,997
5 Towson 10-2 2,780
6 McNeese State 10-2 2,711
7 Southeastern 10-2 2,698
8 Northern Arizona 9-2 2,526
9 Fordham 11-1 2,372
10 Maine 10-2 2,356
11 Coastal Carolina 10-2 2,012
12 Bethune-Cookman 10-2 1,959
13 South Dakota State 8-4 1,788
14 Sam Houston State 8-4 1,666
15 New Hampshire 7-4 1,451
16 Montana State 7-5 1,220
17 Youngstown State 8-4 1,053
18 Samford 8-4 988
19 Tennessee State 9-3 784
20 Jacksonville State 9-3 565
21 Chattanooga 8-4 517
22 Southern Utah 8-4 487
23 Charleston Southern 10-3 452
24 Lehigh 8-3 370
25 South Carolina State 9-3 312