The NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee announced on Sunday the 20-team bracket that will determine the 2010 Division I Football Championship, and New Hampshire from the Colonial Athletic Association earned one of the 10 at-large bids. It's the seventh straight playoff appearance for the Wildcats, which is now the longest current stretch in the country (Montana's 17-year streak came to an end this year).
New Hampshire will open play in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Dec. 4 in a second-round game at Bethune-Cookman (10-1), the co-champions and automatic qualifiers from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Appalachian State, winners of three-straight titles from 2005-07, is the overall No. 1 and after their first-round bye will host the winner of Coastal Carolina and Western Illinois on Dec. 4 in the second round. The other top seeds are No. 2 William & Mary, No. 3 Delaware and No. 4 Montana State. The top four seeds all get first-round byes before hosting a game in the second round.
The automatic-qualifying bids go to the winners of the 10 competing conferences: the Big Sky, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern and Southland.
New Hampshire was one of the 10 at-large teams picked based on their 7-4 overall record, but likely more so because of their 5-3 record in the CAA, arguably the most competitive conference in the FCS. The CAA put in four total teams, including Villanova, last year's national champion, and Delaware and W&M, two of the top-four seeds.
Since 2003, the championship has been won by either a CAA school or Appalachian State every year.
Play begins Saturday, Nov. 27, with four first-round games. The quarterfinals are the weekend of Dec. 10-11, with the semifinals set for Dec. 17-18. The final two teams will then take-off nearly three weeks before the 2010 NCAA Division 1 Football Championship on Jan. 7, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.