INDIANAPOLIS — The field of 20 teams competing for the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship was announced Sunday by the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee.
North Dakota State (10-1) leads the bracket as the top seed after capturing the automatic qualifying berth from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Bison, who are the defending national champions, are making their third consecutive appearance.
Second-seeded Eastern Washington (9-2) is making its ninth appearance. The Eagles captured the Big Sky Conference automatic berth and is back into the field after a one-year absence.
Montana State (10-1), which is making its seventh overall tournament appearance, is the number-three seed. The 1984 national champion, the Bobcats are making its seventh overall appearance and third in a row.
Old Dominion is the number four seed after putting together a 10-1 regular season record in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Monarchs were ineligible for the CAA automatic qualification slot as they have announced plans to leave the league for Conference USA.
Rounding out this year’s seeded teams is Georgia Southern (8-3) with the number-five seed. The Southern Conference champions are making their third consecutive and 19th appearance overall.
First-round hosts include Bethune-Cookman (9-2), which is in as the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champs, South Dakota State (8-3), Stony Brook (9-2) and Wagner (8-3), the Northeast Conference champion and the only team in the field which will be making its first trip into the championship.
The top four national seeds will host winners from the first round match-ups. Others hosting second rounds game will be Appalachian State (8-3), Georgia Southern, Sam Houston State (8-3) and Wofford (8-3).
Other automatic qualifiers in the tournament include Central Arkansas (9-2), winner of the Southland Conference, Coastal Carolina (7-4), which was the Big South Conference champion, Colgate (8-3), the Patriot League representative, Eastern Illinois (7-4), the Ohio Valley Conference champions, and Villanova (8-3), the Colonial Athletic Association representative.
The other teams in the field include Cal Poly (9-2), Illinois State (8-3) and New Hampshire (8-3).
Ten conferences received automatic-qualifying berths: the Big Sky Conference, Big South Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Missouri Valley Football Conference, Northeast Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, Patriot League, Southern Conference and Southland Conference.
ESPN’s family of networks will once again provide coverage of all rounds of the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship. Television schedules and games times for all rounds of the 2012 championship will be updated weekly.
The 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship Game is slated for Jan. 5, 2013 at 1 p.m. ET in Frisco, Texas. The championship game will air on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
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