Archive For The “UNH” Category
We break down the FCS Playoffs Game of the Week below the flip.
You heard right.
One of my FCS Playoff pet peeves (especially in the first round) is that, for some reason, ESPN (who owns the TV contract for all rounds of the FCS playoffs) and the NCAA do not space out all the games in fixed time slots.
If ESPN and the NCAA wanted to generate excitement about the playoffs, it would be fairly easy to space out every game with a kickoff every hour (Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, etc.) all the way up to 8:00 PM. That way, hardcore FCS football fans can watch part of every single game, with at least one game getting to crunch time every hour from about 2:30 PM on. It would be compelling theater.
But ESPN and the NCAA, for some reason, choose not to do this, and indeed this year, ESPN has five FCS playoff games kicking off at 2:00 PM, one kicking off at 3:00 PM, and a couple of stragglers kicking off at 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM, respectively.
Why? There is literally no good reason for this. ESPN is causing hardcore FCS football fans to watch less FCS football. I’d love to be able to catch Weber State/Chattanooga, but it’s on at the exact same time as Lehigh/UNH, so my chance of catching that game live is below zero.
Had Lehigh/UNH kicked off at Noon, and had Weber State/Chattanooga kicked off at 3:00 PM, suddenly I would have watched more ESPN3. Foolishly, I thought that was also in ESPN’s (and the NCAA’s) best interest that I am writing about and talking about more FCS playoff games all day.
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By now you probably know that Lehigh is headed to New Hampshire on Saturday to face off against the Wildcats in the first round of the FCS Playoffs.
About this, some of you are scratching your heads. Lehigh is 9-2, you say. Every single computer rating system has them ranked ahead of New Hampshire, every single human voter poll has them ranked against New Hampshire. Lehigh won the Patriot League outright; New Hampshire weren’t even co-champions of the CAA. Why is New Hampshire hosting us?
The answer resides in the bidding process and some NCAA rules, both of which explain why it happened.
I’ll talk about this, and my other thoughts on the bracket, below.
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When you think of FCS playoff success in the 2010s, you have to think of the most successful current program playing FCS football over the last four years: North Dakota State.
The Bison’s three national championships speak for themselves, and if you count their impressive playoff run in 2010 as well, their four-year record in the playoffs is as impressive as Youngstown State’s and Appalachian State’s runs in the last thirty years.
In 2011, the Lehigh football team saw the Thunder Dome (or, if you prefer, the FargoDome) up close, and saw what home advantage can do in the playoffs. The 24-0 win wasn’t the most impressive performance by the Bison ever in the postseason. However, the hallmarks of the North Dakota State home-field advantage, in the form of false starts and timeouts for the visiting team, were very evident in Lehigh’s gameplay that afternoon.
Today I’m taking a look at the process of determining seeds and bids to the FCS playoffs, and I found a system where a different schools have different expectations of the what the playoffs can offer.
It was not a good half of football.
“I’m disappointed with today’s outcome,” head coach Andy Coen said after the game. “We never gave ourselves a chance. UNH really jumped us from the get-go and were very physical. We did not tackle very well. They really controlled every aspect of the game through the half.”
For Lehigh fans, it made for some tough viewing at the place they call the “Dungeon” on a rainy, grey afternoon in Durham, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire scored touchdown drives of 71, 74, 84, and 90 yards in the first half, converting some 2-point conversions for good measure, to coast to a 29-0 lead. They never looked back.
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