The Bison were thankful last season that the Football Championship Subdivision playoff bracket was expanded to 20 teams from 16. Although it wasn’t made official, NDSU was regarded as the last team to make the field and it took advantage reaching the quarterfinals.
Missouri Valley Football Conference commissioner Patty Viverito said in her address on the league’s teleconference to media this morning that the conference is hoping the bracket expands to 24 “sooner than later.” She said the Pioneer League has applied for an automatic qualifier berth, but the field needs to get bigger before it will be granted. The playoff format was expanded in the first place to allow for AQs to the Northeast Conference (Robert Morris) and the Big South.
Viverito also addressed the membership issue in FCS and said the upheavel of the last year or two appears to be lessening, but it’s not over. “The good news is the Missouri Valley Football Conference is one of the most stable in college sports,” she said.
We’ve got preview stuff aplenty in the next week in The Forum starting with NDSU tomorrow. As for the coaches on the call today, not many surprises. Everybody has something to contend for a playoff berth with the possible exception of Missouri State, which plays at Oregon and Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky and Southern Illinois to open the season. The first home game is against conference favorite Northern Iowa and the Bears have just four home games this season. “Obviously, I didn’t plan that,” said head coach Terry Allen.