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Bison will play winner of Furman-South Carolina State game in FCS playoffs

by Mike McFeely

No. 1 overall seed North Dakota State will host the winner of the South Carolina State-Furman game in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. The Bison game will be played Dec. 7 at 2:30 p.m.

"North Dakota State ... has been ranked extremely high all season long," said FCS playoff selection committee chairman Jeff Long. "They have a fabulous football team. They've continued to play extremely well. For us, they were the No. 1 seed."

It was no surprise the Bison were the top seed. The two-time defending national champions finished the regular season undefeated and were ranked No. 1 in national polls the entire season.

The Bison's selection highlighted the announcement of the 24-team FCS field Sunday morning.

The top 8 seeds in the field are (1) NDSU, (2) Eastern Illinois, (3) Eastern Washington, (4) Southeast Louisiana, (5) Maine, (6) McNeese State, (7) Towson, (8) Montana.

Eastern Illinois and Eastern Washington, two high-powered offensive teams that are often cited as the top threats to stopping the Bison from winning a third straight national title, are in the opposite bracket from NDSU. That means the Bison would not meet Eastern Illinois or Eastern Washington until the national championship game.

The highest seeded teams in NDSU's bracket are Montana, Maine and Southeast Louisiana.

South Carolina State (9-3) plays in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs' losses this season came to FCS playoff teams Coastal Carolina (27-20), Bethune-Cookman (14-3) and FBS team Clemson (59-6).

Furman was the co-champion of the Southern Conference. The Paladins finished 7-5 overall, 6-2 in the league. Furman's losses were to FCS qualifier Coastal Carolina, Elon, Chattanooga, Gardner-Webb and FBS team LSU.

Here are the brackets:

FIRST-ROUND GAMES

Nov. 30 at Orangeburg, S.C., Noon CT (ESPN3)

Furman (7-5) at South Carolina State (9-3)

Nov. 30 at Myrtle Beach, S.C., Noon CT (ESPN3)

Bethune-Cookman (10-2) at Coastal Carolina (10-2)

Nov. 30 at Durham, N.H., 11 a.m. CT (ESPN3)

Lafayette (5-6) at New Hampshire (7-4)

Nov. 30 at Huntsville, Texas, 2 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Southern Utah (8-4) at Sam Houston State (8-4)

Nov. 30 at Flagstaff, Ariz., 7 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

South Dakota State (8-4) at Northern Arizona (9-2)

Nov. 30 at Jacksonville, Ala., 7 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Samford (8-4) at Jacksonville State (9-3)

Nov. 30 at Bronx, N.Y., Noon CT (ESPN3)

Sacred Heart (10-2) at Fordham (11-1)

Nov. 30 at Indianapolis, Noon CT (ESPN3)

Tennessee State (9-3) at Butler (9-3)

SECOND-ROUND GAMES

Dec. 7 at Fargo, N.D., 2:30 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Furman/South Carolina State winner at North Dakota State (11-0)

Dec. 7 at Missoula, Mont., 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Bethune-Cookman/Coastal Carolina winner at Montana (10-2)

Dec. 7 at Orono, Maine, 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Lafayette/New Hampshire winner at Maine (10-2)

Dec. 7 at Hammond, La., 7 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Southern Utah/Sam Houston State winner at Southeastern Louisiana (10-2)

Dec. 7 at Cheney, Wash., 3 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

South Dakota State/Northern Arizona winner at Eastern Washington (10-2)

Dec. 7 at Lake Charles, La., 6 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Samford/Jacksonville State winner at McNeese State (10-2)

Dec. 7 at Towson, Md., Noon CT (ESPN3)

Sacred Heart/Fordham winner at Towson (10-2)

Dec. 7 at Charleston, Ill., 1 p.m. CT (ESPN3)

Tennessee State/Butler winner at Eastern Illinois (11-1) 

(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at mike.mcfeely@mwcradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)