RICHMOND, Ky. – This is the final week of the regular season for most NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams, but the Eastern Kentucky University football team concluded its regular season last Saturday with a convincing win over Murray State. Now, the Colonels must wait and see if they are one of the 10 at-large teams selected for the playoffs.
The NCAA FCS playoff bracket will be announced on ESPNU this Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m.
The 20-team bracket includes automatic qualifiers from 10 conferences – Big Sky, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Mid-Eastern Athletic (MEAC), Missouri Valley, Northeast (NEC), Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern and Southland – as well as the 10-at large squads.
Eastern Illinois clinched the OVC automatic berth with a win versus Southeast Missouri this past weekend. The OVC has had multiple teams in the playoffs the previous two years as well as four of the last six seasons.
Eastern Kentucky (8-3, 6-2 OVC) is ranked No. 17 in the latest FCS coaches poll and No. 22 in The Sports Network poll. The Colonels rank among the nation’s leaders in turnover margin (+19 – second), rushing defense (108.2 ypg – eighth), passing efficiency (152.0 – 11th) and rushing offense (205.7 ypg – 19th).
Both Tennessee State (8-2, 4-2) and UT Martin (7-3, 5-2) are also in the hunt for a playoff berth. Those two teams play in Martin, Tenn., this Saturday. Eastern defeated UTM this year, 28-16, but fell to Tennessee State, 23-20, in the final seconds of regulation.
EKU has made 20 appearances in the FCS playoffs, including two times under fifth year head coach Dean Hood (2008, 2011).