FCS Schedule For The Quarterfinals Is Out
by, 12-05-2010 at 12:57 PM (3088 Views)
BOONE, N.C. — The NCAA Division I Football Committee is always full of surprises and they gave us another on Sunday with the announcement of the schedule for next weekend's Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals.
Many fans expected that the epic round-of-eight battle between top-seeded Appalachian State and defending national champion Villanova would draw the Friday night slot at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN 2.
There was even speculation of that occurring as early as last Friday afternoon in the athletic offices at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
But instead, the Colonial Athletic Association matchup between New Hampshire and No. 3 seed Delaware will be played Friday at Tubby Raymond Field.
Appalachian State and Villanova were not shut out of television, however.
These two teams that have won four of the past five Division I national championships (ASU in 2005-07 and VU in 2009, with only a title for Richmond in 2008 breaking the string) will play Saturday at noon on ESPN from Kidd Brewer Stadium.
It is too early to tell if the weatherman has ordered up another snowstorm for Boone, N.C., like the Mountaineers played in last Saturday as they dominated Western Illinois 42-14.
Both the game at Delaware and the one at Appalachian State will be shown in high definition.
Early speculation is that Villanova's travel schedule out of Nacogdoches, Tx. might have been the determining factor.
Villanova played a later game and had a longer flight back to Philadelphia International Airport after the Wildcats' 54-24 victory over Stephen F. Austin.
Travel to Boone is also not all that easy, particularly with a half-a-foot of snow on the ground on Sunday.
It is nine hours by car from Philadelphia to Boone (I should know, considering I have homes in both areas.
Driving along Interstate 81, you know you are halfway to either venue when you pass Bridgeforth Stadium at James Madison University.
There are plenty of flight options to Charlotte (two hours away), Greensboro (two hours), Winston-Salem (90 minutes), the Tri-Cities of Johnson City, Bristol and Kingsport, Tn. (two hours) or Raleigh-Durham (three hours).
You can also charter a flight and land in Hickory, N.C., which is an hour away, but is a smaller airport. But no matter what, you are looking at a bus ride up the mountain to Boone.
New Hampshire stayed in the same time zone as it played in Daytona Beach, Fl. and beat Bethune-Cookman 45-20 in the second round before a relatively short hop to Logan International Airport in Boston.
Another factor could be weather forecasts for the weekend.
The forecast for Boone this week is for temperatures dipping into the teens and single digits before warming up to a low of 28 degrees on Friday night.
While snow isn't currently in the forecast there is the possibility of the white stuff moving into the predictions later in the week.
Newark, De. is expecting a low of 31 degrees on Friday with partially cloudy skies.
Whatever the weather, FCS fans should be treated to two great television games.
The game between North Dakota State and Eastern Washington on the bright red turf at Woodward Stadium in Cheney, Wa. will be at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
North Dakota State might have been better served to just stay out west after beating No. 4 seed Montana State 42-17 on Saturday in Bozeman, Mt.
The Bison, who have two second-half comeback wins in their first Division I playoff appearance, will be trying to beat a seeded team for the second week in a row as they take on No. 5 EWU.
NDSU will also be shooting for an interesting double. After beating one of the teams that shared the Big Sky Conference title in Montana State, the Bison will draw the other co-champion this Saturday.
Montana State beat Eastern Washington 30-7 during the regular season, so a big win by NDSU over the Bobcats doesn't bode well for the Eagles this weekend.
We are still awaiting news on when the other quarterfinal game between Southern Conference Georgia Southern and Wofford at in Spartanburg, S.C.
I am rooting for a night game at what should be a more balmy Gibbs Stadium, so that I might be able to catch two quarterfinals in the same day, something I accomplished in 2007 when covering Eastern Washington's loss against Appalachian State in Boone and Richmond's win over Wofford in Spartanburg.
Those two SoCon outposts are separated by less than three hours.
It might only be Sunday, but I for one can't wait for Friday to come around for the next round of great matchups.
Check back on this blog for more scheduling developments later in the day.