Early Sunday morning the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision announced their 24-team field for the 2017 NCAA FCS Playoffs. Amongst the list is defending champions James Madison, 5-time National Champions North Dakota State and the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Champions Jacksonville State.
Not among the field of 24 is 8-4 APSU.
The Govs entered this season on a 27-game losing streak that grew to 29 games. The Govs then put that streak to bed with a dominating 69-13 win over Morehead State. APSU then found themselves on a three game win streak in route to a 8-1 FCS record.
However, that was not enough to get the Govs selected over other at large bids such as: Samford (8-3), Nicholls State (8-3), Elon (8-3), Western Illinois (8-3), Furman (7-4), Northern Arizona (7-4), New Hampshire (7-4) and Northern Iowa (7-4). A 5-6 Lehigh also made their way into the postseason due to a Patriot League Conference Championship as an automatic qualifying bid.
“I feel like it was an exercise in favoritism,” said senior graphic design major Lewis West.
Needless to say, the APSU community was disappointed with the snub.
“With me formerly being on the team, I know how far we came to get to the point we are at today,” senior criminal justice major LaRon Golden said. “In the past four years before the winning streak we only won one game .”
The Govs only FCS loss is to three seeded Jacksonville State.
APSU also sacrificed their bye week to play an extra game against FBS team #13 Central Florida (10-0). The Govs scored 33 points on UCF in Orlando, Florida, the most amount of points scored on Central Florida this season.
“The football team got ripped off. There has been comments about them playing weaker teams to be able to make the playoffs, but in reality they played tougher teams,” sophomore education major Brooke Ward. “So that be enough to make it right?”.
“As a former APSU athlete, I closely follow all APSU sports programs, and to see the way that the football team has transformed over the past two years alone is nothing short of amazing.” senior sociology major Christiana Howard said. “The football team has a number of accolades and accomplishments this year to add to their records, and the decision to not include them as an at large bud in the playoffs is like slamming the brakes on a train going 200 mph.”
“I am mad and heart broken. When my best friend on the team texted me at 10:30 this morning to tell me the news I cried. Thats how I think it was for the fans,” said Howard. “We had so many losses in the past and stayed supportive even when it seemed like a joke. When they succeeded we all succeeded.”
Even through the disappointment, students are finding the positives.
“For them to go 8-1 in the FCS with their only loss being the number two team in the nation and not be included it was a smack in the face, but we all know there is more to come from Coach Healy and the newly improved Govs,” said Golden.
The APSU community will now process the disappointment and focus in on the basketball season. The football team now begins preparations for the 2018 season.
The Govs will open the next season against Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018.