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Stan Becton | | November 17, 2022

6 crucial FCS championship contests to watch in Week 12 of the 2022 season

Cooper Kupp’s top FCS playoff highlights at Eastern Washington

The final week of the FCS regular season is here and there's a lot a stake. In lieu of the traditional FCS game of the week, here are six games with championship implications that you should watch in Week 12.

6 crucial championship contests to watch in Week 12

Saint Francis (PA) at Merrimack | Sat. Nov. 19 | 12 p.m. ET

Saint Francis has already won the NEC's automatic qualifying bid, but the Red Flash haven't won the NEC's championship yet. That's because both Saint Francis and Merrimack are 6-0 in conference play.

While Merrimack is ineligible for the FCS playoffs due to reclassification rules, it can still win the NEC title outright if it wins a head-to-head contest in Week 12. Saint Francis and Merrimack's game is practically the NEC championship game.

AUTO-BIDS: We're tracking every FCS automatic qualifying bid and scenario

Howard at Morgan State | Sat. Nov. 19 | 12 p.m. ET

North Carolina Central has already secured the MEAC's Celebration Bowl berth, but Howard still has a chance to win a share of the MEAC title with a Week 12 win. The Bison have only won two MEAC titles in the program's history, with their last MEAC championship coming in 1993.

On the other side, Morgan State has a chance to rise from the worst MEAC football program last year to the conference's second-best program with a win. It would be a resounding improvement in head coach Damon Wilson's first year, as the Bears would finish with a winning record in conference play.

2022 HBCU: Follow everything that happens in the 2022 HBCU football season

William & Mary at Richmond | Sat. Nov. 19 | 12 p.m. ET

William & Mary and Richmond play in one of the oldest rivalries in college in the Capital Cup. This year's Capital Cup has high stakes.

While the Tribe and Spiders won't be playing solely for the CAA championship — New Hampshire could still win the conference title — the game will determine the conference championship result. Richmond wins the CAA championship with a win. William & Mary wins the CAA championship with a win and some help.

Beyond conference implications, the winner of William & Mary and Richmond's game will be in play for a seed in the FCS playoffs. 

SEEDS: The importance of a top seed in the FCS playoffs, explained

Dayton at Davidson | Sat. Nov. 19 | 1 p.m. ET

An automatic qualifying bid is on the line when Dayton visits Davidson. The winner of the game secures the Pioneer Football League automatic bid, while the loser likely misses the playoffs. A win for Davidson means three straight playoff appearances.

Neither team will win the PFL title outright with a win. St. Thomas has already clinched at least a share of the conference title and will win it outright with a Week 12 win. However, St. Thomas is ineligible for the FCS playoffs due to reclassification rules, meaning Dayton-Davidson is for all the playoff marbles.

MOVEMENT: How the 2022 ASUN-WAC bid works and more from FCS conference realignment

North Carolina A&T at Gardner-Webb | Sat. Nov. 19 | 1:30 p.m. ET

The Big South title and an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs are on the line when North Carolina A&T battles Gardner-Webb. Both teams are undefeated in Big South play, making Week 12's game practically a conference championship game.

It's North Carolina A&T's second and final year in the Big South, and the Aggies could leave the conference as champions. Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb hasn't won the conference's championship since winning back-to-back titles in 2002-2003.

HBCU POWER RANKINGS: See Week 12's HBCU football power rankings

Montana at Montana State | Sat. Nov. 19 | 2 p.m. ET

It's harder to make the Brawl of the Wild, one of the best rivalries in the FCS, bigger than it already is. Yet, 2022's edition might achieve the feat thanks to College GameDay being in town and the stakes.

When Montana plays Montana State, FCS playoff implications will be on the line. Montana State could win the Big Sky conference championship outright and a top-two seed in the FCS playoffs with a win and a Sacramento State loss.

BRAWL OF THE WILD: Here are some top moments from the Montana-Montana State rivalry.

Meanwhile, a win for Montana almost guarantees the Grizzlies an at-large bid to the playoffs. A loss will place Montana on the playoff bubble and could see the Grizzlies miss the playoffs.

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