The undefeated North Dakota State Bison will enter the FCS playoffs as the No. 1 seed, as the school attempts to win their seventh national championship in eight years.

North Dakota State playoffs
North Dakota State earned the top seed in the FCS playoff bracket after an undefeated regular season. (Image: David Samson/Forum News Service)David Samson / The Forum

North Dakota State (11-0) and the other seven seeded teams earned first-round byes in the FCS playoff bracket, while the other 16 teams will start play on Saturday.

FCS Bracket Creates December Madness

Unlike in FBS play, in which only four teams make the playoffs and even getting to that point took decades of complaints about how a national champion was determined the FCS level of college football invites 24 teams to their year-end tournament.

The field includes the automatic bids that go to the winners of 10 FCS conferences, along with 14 at-large teams which are chosen by the FCS Playoff Selection Committee.

As in college basketball, that means some power conferences can get many teams into the field, while other teams know that their only realistic path to the tournament is by winning a conference championship. This season, the Colonial Athletic Association managed to get a record six teams in the field: Delaware, Elon, James Madison, Maine, Stony Brook, and Towson.

Maine (8-3) earned the automatic bid, and earned a bye as the No. 7 seed in the postseason. James Madison (8-3) thought they might also earn a seed, but instead will start the tournament this weekend by hosting a game against Delaware (7-4).

I would say its fairly disrespectful from our standpoint, James Madison coach Mike Houston told ESPN. I think that were definitely one of the eight best teams in the countrybut all that being said, the selection committee, theyve got tough choices to make.

Weber State, Eastern Washington Join NDSU as Top Seeds

While it was clear that North Dakota State would earn the No. 1 seed, several teams could have potentially grabbed the other top spots in the bracket. That made Weber State (9-2) coach Jay Hill ecstatic when he saw his teams name come up in the No. 2 spot.

We really thought we were going to get a top four, but we didnt know exactly where it would fall, Hill told the Deseret News. Man, thats an awesome deal, gives us home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Now weve just got to take care of business.

Another potential contender is Eastern Washington (9-2), which earned the No. 3 seed from the selection committee. The Eagles will host the winner of the first-round game between Nicholls State (8-3) and San Diego (9-2) on Dec. 1. That positioning is a major turnaround from last season, when Eastern Washington was devastated to be left off the bubble when the bracket was revealed.

The feelings were much different this year after seeing our name, Eastern Washington head coach Aaron Best told the Spokesman-Review. We knew we were in, but it was a matter of where. Last year we were hoping to see our name anywhere, and we didnt.

Every team in the bracket knows that North Dakota State is the team to beat. But while the Bison may be a prohibitive favorite, head coach Chris Klieman knows his squad cant get ahead of itself.

No matter what, youre going to face really good teams once you get into the tournament, Klieman said during the selection show on ESPNU. As weve told our guys, its just one week at a time and one day at a time.