College football: History, mayhem, and more reasons to love the FCS playoff
The craziness of the FBS College Football Playoff originated within the original DI college football playoffs, where 24 of the FCS’ best squads are plugged in to a bracket to achieve one goal: A championship.
The playoff system began in 1978 when Division I-AA was formed. The number of teams doubled, then tripled, within five years. In its ninth season, an expansion to a 16-team format where eight conference champions received automatic bids and the other eight came from at-large bids.
RELATED: Full interactive FCS bracket
In 2013, the 24-team field with 10 automatic qualifiers was born. The additional 14 teams are selected by the FCS Playoff Committee the Sunday before Thanksgiving, a day they familiarly deem Selection Sunday.
The top eight teams spend the first weekend on bye while the other 16 battle for their shot at the top-dogs. Last season saw three unseeded teams upset their second-round opponent to advance to the quarterfinals. This year’s second round features a trio of regular season rematches: Weber State and Southern Utah, Furman and Wofford, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State.
The momentum of an early-round upset can propel a team into a trip to Frisco, Texas -- the site of the FCS National Championship. North Dakota State has hoisted the hardware five of the past six years, but James Madison took home the trophy in 2016 in the midst of 23 straight wins; a streak still active today.
A bid in the FCS playoffs has fulfilled a sense of achievement for the field, but each team can sniff its chance to spark madness and make a run towards history. Who will it be? A pair of squads new to the championship atmosphere, or a battle of former champions?
A nation of sports fans who routinely pleaded for the endeavors of a college football playoff tournament receives everything they requested when the original DI tournament trims 24 teams down to one.
It’s madness. On the gridiron.
Sixteen teams remain. But only one goal: A championship.