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FCS bracket: The 24 teams in the playoffs and who gets a bye

The FCS playoff bracket is set. Here’s what’s coming up in November, December, and January.

Head Coach Matt Entz of the North Dakota State Bison celebrates their victory over the James Madison Dukes during the Division I FCS Football Championship held at Toyota Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The College Football Playoff will get started on New Years Eve, but before then, the Football Championship Subdivision gets its playoff started. Big time college football has taken forever to get a quality playoff together while FCS has long had a solid playoff structure in place.

The FCS playoffs get underway on November 27 with 24 teams competing for a shot at the title. 16 teams will play in the first round while the top eight teams get a bye. The second round will take place the weekend of December 3-4 and the semifinals will follow. The championship game is scheduled for January 8 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Sam Houston finished the season as the No. 1 team in the country, securing 27 of 28 No. 1 votes. James Madison finished second and Montana State finished third with the other top vote.

The eight teams with a first round bye are ranked as follows:

  1. Sam Houston
  2. North Dakota State
  3. James Madison
  4. Sacramento State
  5. Villanova
  6. Montana
  7. East Tennessee State
  8. Montana State

First round schedule — November 27 (all times ET)

Stephen F. Austin vs. Incarnate Word, 3 p.m. — winner faces Sam Houston
Tennessee-Martin vs. Missouri State, 4 p.m. — winner faces Montana State

Southern Illinois vs. South Dakota, 6 p.m. — winner faces North Dakota State
Davidson vs. Kennesaw State, 2 p.m. — winner faces East Tennessee State

Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Washington, 4 p.m. — winner faces Montana
Florida A&M vs. Southeastern Louisiana, 7 p.m. — winner faces James Madison

Sacred Heart vs. Holy Cross, 12 p.m. — winner faces Villanova
Cal-Davis vs. South Dakota State, 3 p.m. — winner faces Sacramento State