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FCS Championship 2023

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The FCS is a 24 team tournament, 10 Conference Champions are automatic qualifiers, 14 of the teams are at-large selections, and 8 of the 24 are seated.

It is important to note that the 8 seeded teams come from the 24 teams and do not have to be a conference champion!

The 10 conference champs come from the following leagues: 1) UAC (United Athletic Conference), a football conference created from the ASUN & WAC Conference; 2) B-SKY (Big Sky); 3) CAA (Colonial Athletic Association); 4) MVFC (Missouri Valley Football Conference); 5) NEC (Northeast Conference); 6) BSC/OVC (Big South Conference & Ohio Valley Conference football cobo); 7) PL (Patriot League); 8) PFL (Pioneer Football League); 9) SoCon (Southern Conference), 10) SLC (Southland Conference)

This year’s League Champions are as follows: 1) UAC: Austin Peay, 9-3 (Played @ Hawaii, as a result, awarded an extra game {11 up to 12} to off-set travel costs); 2) B-Sky: Montana, 10-1; 3) CAA: Villanova, 9-2; 4) MVFC: South Dakota State 11-0; 5) NEC: Duquesne, 7-4; 6) BSC/OVC: Gardner-Webb; 7) PL: Lafayette 9-2; 8) PFL: Drake, 8-3, 9) SoCon: Furman, 9-2; & 10) SLC: Nicholls State 6-4!

As mentioned, the automatic bids that go to the league champions are not necessarily awarded to one of the 8 seeded teams. In fact, this year only four (4) of the seeded teams are conference champs, meaning four (4) did not win their conference.

Here are the 8 seeded teams for the 2023 FCS Championship Run: 1st seed: South Dakota State, MVFC LC (League Champion); 2nd seed: Montana, B-SKY (LC); 3rd seed: South Dakota, MVFC NLC (Non-League Champ); 4th seed: Idaho, B-SKY (NLC); 5th seed: Albany, CAA (NLC), 6th seed: Montana State (NLC); 7th seed: Furman (LC), & 8th seed: Villanova CAA (LC)

The following 14 teams, received At-Large bids: 1. Chattanooga, 7-4 (SoCon), 2. Delaware, 8-3 (CAA), 3. Idaho, 8-3 (B-SKY), 4. Mercer, 8-3 (SoCon), 5. Montana State, 8-3 (B-Sky), 6. NC Central, 9-2 (MEAC), 7. North Dakota, 7-4 (MVFC), 8. North Dakota State, 8-3 (MVFC), 9. Austin Peay, 9-3 UAC, 10. Richmond 8-3 (CAA), 11. Sacramento, 7-4 (B-sky), 12. South Dakota, 9-2 (MVFC), 13. Southern Illinois, 7-4 (MVFC), & 14. Youngstown State, 7-4 (MVFC)

It should be noted that 2 FCS Conferences (IVY League & SWAC) have elected not to participate in this Tournament. The IVY league for academic consideration (playoff falls during their exams) & the SWAC plays some of their traditional rivalries after the tournament has begun (Turkey Day Classic, (Alabama State & Tuskegee), Bayou Classic ( Southern vs Grambling), & the Celebration Bowl (SWAC Champ vs MEAC Champ). While the MEAC will send a team from their conference, who has not played their way into the Celebration Bowl, if invited by the committed. As they (MEAC) do not play in long standing HBCU games after the FCS Playoffs have begun. This year, NC Central (9-2) was upset & knocked out of the Celebration Bowl by Howard University. The Eagles were invited, accepted, and will be playing in the 1st round of the FCS Tournament!

The 1st round Matchups are determined by the following criteria: 1) within 400 miles of one another (Bus Trip) 2) Not in the same conference, & 3) if in the same conference, did not play in the regular season!

Home Field is awarded within the following guidelines: a) Quality & availability of the facility; b) Revenue Potential; c) Attendance History; d) Geographical Locations; e) Championship operating costs. That said,
here are the 1st round matchups:

Sacramento State 7-4 (B-SKY) @ North Dakota 7-4 (MVFC) / ESPN+ 12:00

NC Central 9-2 (MEAC) Richmond 8-3 (CAA) ESPN+ 1:00

Lafayette 9-2 (PL) @ Delaware 8-3 (CAA) ESPN+ 1:00

Gardner-Webb 7-4 BSC/OVC @ Mercer 8-3 (SoCon) ESPN+ 2:00

Nicholls 6-4 (SLC) @ Southern Illinois 7-4 (MVFC) ESPN+ 2:00

Chattanooga 7-4 (SoCon) @ Austin Peay 9-2 (UAC) ESPN+ 2:00

Drake 8-3 (PFL) @ North Dakota State 8-3 (MVFC) ESPN+ 2:30

Duquesne 7-4 (NEC) @ Youngstown State 7-4 (MVFC) ESPN+ 4:00

And as always, enjoy the games!

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