KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the teams and pairings for the 2012 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS). Sixteen teams will play at eight FCS First Round sites on Nov. 17. Defending national champion Saint Xavier (Ill.) returns to the field and will host William Penn (Iowa) in Chicago, Ill. The quarterfinal pairings, to be played on Nov. 24, will be announced on the morning of Nov. 18.
Georgetown (Ky.) is the most decorated amongst the qualifiers with 24 victories in 18 appearances, including three national championships. The Tigers, who rank No. 1 in the final regular-season NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll, earned their most recent national title in 2001 with a 49-27 victory against former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.). Georgetown kicks off FCS action against a familiar foe in Bethel (Tenn.). The Tigers are 6-0 all-time in regular season meetings against the Wildcats, including a 63-21 win on Sept. 29.
In addition to Georgetown, Baker (Kan.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Missouri Valley, Northwestern (Iowa), Saint Francis (Ind.) and St. Ambrose (Iowa) have made at least 10 appearances in the FCS.
William Penn, who received the final at-large position, is making its first appearance since 1975, snapping a streak of 37-straight seasons without participating in the postseason. The Statesmen are also searching for their first-ever FCS victory.
All eight FCS First Round games will mark the first postseason meeting between the two teams.
For the fifth-consecutive season, the Rome-Floyd County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host the 57th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship on Dec. 13 at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. The event will be televised live on CBS Sports Television with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST.
2012 Football Championship Series Quick Facts
• Georgetown (Ky.) has the most experience in the Football Championship Series (FCS) with 18 appearances (three-straight), including a field-best three national championships. The Tigers last title came in 2001 when they defeated former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.), 49-27. Georgetown also boasts the most FCS wins amongst the qualifiers with 24.
• Seven teams have made at least 10 FCS appearances (including this year): Georgetown (18), Missouri Valley (10), Saint Francis (Ind.) (13), St. Ambrose (Iowa) (12), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (10), Baker (Kan.) (12) and Northwestern (Iowa) (16).
• There are nine repeat programs from the 2011 FCS First Round.
• Saint Francis boasts a 2012 FCS qualifier-best 10-game First Round win streak. The Cougars last first round loss came in 2001 against Campbellsville (Ky.), 42-21.
• Defending national champion Saint Xavier (Ill.) and Northwestern (Iowa) are the only other teams with a title game victory. The Cougars look to become the first back-to-back champion since Sioux Falls accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009. Northwestern claimed a pair of NAIA Division II crowns in 1973 and 1983.
• Six-time NAIA national champion and FCS regular Carroll (Mont.) fails to make the field of 16 for the first time since the 1999 season. The Fighting Saints had appeared in eight of the last 10 title games. Dickinson State (N.D.), who has 15 playoff appearances, is the squad with the second-most appearances to miss the cut this season.
• St. Ambrose's 12 appearances are the most amongst the field for a team that has never appeared in the title game. The Fighting Bees have never advanced past the quarterfinals.
• There are no playoff newcomers in the field this year. William Penn (Iowa) has the fewest appearances amongst the group with one prior to this season. The Statesmen are also the only squad searching for their first victory in the FCS.
• William Penn (Iowa) is making its first trip to the FCS First Round for the first time since 1975 - the longest drought amongst the qualifiers.
• Georgetown, Saint Xavier, Saint Francis, Baker and Northwestern are this year's qualifiers with at least 10 wins all-time in the FCS.
• The Mid-States Football Association Mideast Division (MSFAE) and the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) land the most squads in the 16-team field. The MSFAE is represented by Saint Xavier, Marian and Saint Francis. Competing out of the HAAC is Missouri Valley, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and Baker (Kan.).
• Three unbeaten teams enter the FCS - Georgetown (10-0), Missouri Valley (10-0) and Morningside (Iowa) (10-0).
|Game 1:||Bethel (Tenn.) (8-3)* at Georgetown (Ky.) (10-0)^, 3:30 p.m.|
|Game 2:||Ottawa (Kan.) (8-2)* at Missouri Valley (10-0)^, 2 p.m.|
|Game 3:||Montana Tech (8-2) at Morningside (Iowa) (10-0)^, 1 p.m.|
|Game 4:||William Penn (Iowa) (9-2) at Saint Xavier (Ill.) (9-1)^, 12 p.m.|
|Game 5:||Northwestern (Iowa) (9-2) at Marian (Ind.) (8-1)^, 1 p.m.|
|Game 6:||Baker (Kan.) (8-2) at Saint Francis (Ind.) (8-2), 12 p.m.|
|Game 7:||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (8-2)^ at Cumberlands (Ky.) (9-1), 12 p.m.|
|Game 8:||Southern Oregon (8-2) at St. Ambrose (Iowa) (9-1), 1 p.m.|
^ hosted a 2011 FCS First Round
* played on the road in 2011 FCS First Round