The NCAA Division I Football Championship is an American college football tournament played each year to determine the champion of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Prior to the year 2006, the game was known as the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship. The FCS is the highest division in college football to hold a playoff tournament to determine its champion (until 2014 when the FBS adopts a four-team playoff system).
The reigning national champion is the North Dakota State University Bison, which also won the championship for the year 2011. In both seasons the Bison defeated the Sam Houston State University Bearkats in the championship game. The first time the Bison won 17–6 on January 7, 2012, and the second time 39-13 on January 5, 2013. Both games were played at FC Dallas Stadium, then known as Pizza Hut Park, in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas.
When Division I-AA was formed for football in 1978, the playoffs included just four teams, doubling to eight teams in its fourth season of 1981. In 1982 the I-AA playoffs were expanded to 12 teams, with each of the top four seeds receiving a first-round bye and a home game in the quarterfinals. In its ninth season of 1986, the I-AA playoffs were expanded again to a 16-team format, requiring four post-season victories to win the title. Eight conference champions received automatic bids, with the remaining eight bids available on an at-large basis. The field is traditionally set the Sunday before Thanksgiving and play begins that weekend. The top four teams are seeded; however, the matchups are not strictly set up by these seedings as geographic considerations are also taken into account to minimize travel. In April 2008 the NCAA announced that the playoff field would again expand to include 20 teams beginning in 2010. At the same time, it announced that the number of conferences receiving automatic bids would increase to 10.
The tournament has historically been played in November and December; with the latest expansion to a 20-team field, the championship game moved from December to January. From 1997 through 2009, the title game had been played in Chattanooga, Tennessee at Finley Stadium, the home football venue of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and at Marshall University Stadium (now Joan C. Edwards Stadium) on the Marshall University campus in the 5 years prior to that. The title game is now played in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas at FC Dallas Stadium (known as Pizza Hut Park until the day after the championship game of the 2011 season), a multi-purpose stadium primarily used by FC Dallas of Major League Soccer. The original contract with Frisco began in the 2010 season and ran through the 2012 season; it has since been extended through the 2015 season.
Three Football Championship Subdivision conferences usually do not participate in the tournament. The Ivy League, I-AA since 1982, plays a strict ten-game regular season and does not participate in any post-season football, citing academic concerns. The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) has a conference schedule which conflicts with the tournament, so its members do not normally participate. The SWAC has not sent a team since Jackson State in 1997. The Pioneer Football League members are eligible to participate in the tournament, but no PFL football team has ever received an FCS playoff invitation.
In 2013, the FCS playoffs will expand to 24 teams and the PFL will receive an automatic invitation.
- Big Sky Conference
- Big South Conference
- Colonial Athletic Association
- Ivy League
- Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
- Missouri Valley Football Conference
- Northeast Conference
- Ohio Valley Conference
- Patriot League
- Pioneer Football League
- Southern Conference
- Southland Conference
- Southwestern Athletic Conference
† Known as University of Louisiana at Monroe since 1999.
‡ Now FC Dallas Stadium
Most national championshipsEdit
|Georgia Southern||6||1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000||8||1988, 1998|
|Youngstown State||4||1991, 1993, 1994, 1997||6||1992,1999|
|Appalachian State||3||2005, 2006, 2007||3|
|Eastern Kentucky||2||1979, 1982||4||1980, 1981|
|Marshall^||2||1992, 1996||6||1987, 1991, 1993, 1995|
|Montana||2||1995, 2001||7||1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009|
|North Dakota State||2||2011, 2012||2|
|Delaware||1||2003||4||1982, 2007, 2010|
|McNeese State||0||2||1997, 2002|
|Sam Houston State||0||2||2011, 2012|
|Stephen F. Austin||0||1||1989|
^ Now a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
† Currently transitioning to FBS.
- List of NCAA Division I FCS football programs
- College football national championships in NCAA Division I FBS
- NCAA Division I FCS Consensus Mid-Major Football National Championship
- NCAA Division II National Football Championship
- NCAA Division III National Football Championship
- NAIA National Football Championship
- NJCAA National Football Championship
- List of college bowl games
- ↑ NCAA Division I Football Championship - Official Web Site
- ↑ "NCAA approves playoff expansion to 20 teams for 2010. The current structure will include eight teams playing in four first round games. The four first round winners will advance to the second Round of Sixteen where they will play the top four seeds. Eight second round winners will advance to the regional championships (commonly referred to as East Region: Boardwalk Bowl, Midwest Region: Pecan Bowl, Mideast Region: Tangerine Bowl, and West Region: Camellia Bowl), with the winners of the regional championships advancing to the national semifinals. The National Semifinal winners with play in the FCS Championship Bowl in January.". The Sports Network. 2008-04-25. http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=cfoot2/news/newstest.aspx?id=4146516.
- ↑ Caplan, Jeff (2010-02-26). "20 teams to compete for FCS crown". ESPNDallas.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/news/story?id=4949141. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- ↑ "NCAA inks three-year extension to keep FCS title game in Frisco, Texas" (Press release). NCAA. December 19, 2012. http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2012-12-19/ncaa-inks-three-year-extension-keep-fcs-title-game-frisco-texas. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
- ↑ Pablo Torre (2007-11-29). "No playoffs for you!". SI. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/sioncampus/11/29/ivyleague.football/. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- ↑ David Burrick (2003-09-18). "Ivy League not likely to see I-AA playoffs". The Daily Pennsylvanian. http://media.www.dailypennsylvanian.com/media/storage/paper882/news/2003/09/18/Sports/Ivy-League.Not.Likely.To.See.IAa.Playoffs-2154091.shtml. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- ↑ Craig T. Greenlee (2000-01-06). "Not Exactly for THE SPORT OF IT". Black Issues in Higher Education. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0DXK/is_23_16/ai_59019432/. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- ↑ http://pflfan.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1144
- ↑ NCAA (2008). "FCS History". http://www.ncaa.com/history/football-fcs.html.
- ↑ "2013 FCS National Championship Bowl: North Dakota State Bison vs. Sam Houston State Bearkats". Stat Broadcast. http://stats.statbroadcast.com/statmonitr/?id=14493. Retrieved January 1, 2013.