North Dakota State gets the top seed as the two-time reigning champions enter the playoffs undefeated and as the consensus top team in the land. Other top competitors for the title include Eastern Illinois, whose only loss came to Northern Illinois, Eastern Washington (who beat Oregon State) and Sam Houston State, who has made the title game each of the past two years.
Eight teams get a bye week, led by the Bison at No. 1. Eastern Illinois gained the second overall seed, while Eastern Washington slots in at No. 3. Southeastern Louisiana gets the fourth seed for its first-ever playoff appearance, while Maine comes in at No. 5 after its first outright CAA championship. McNeese State gets the sixth overall seed, with Towson in at No. 7. Montana fills out the bye group, slotting in at No. 8.
South Carolina State will face off against Furman in the first round, with the winner taking on North Dakota State in round two. Coastal Carolina and Bethune-Cookman are the other first round matchup in the region, with the winner facing Montana in round two.
New Hampshire will play Lafayette in the first round, with the winner taking Maine. Lafayette went 5-6 in the regular season -- the first-ever playoff team with a losing record. Sam Houston State, who played in the last two title games, makes the field against Southern Utah, with the winner taking on Southeastern Louisiana.
Northern Arizona will square off against South Dakota State in the first round with the winner taking on Eastern Washington. In the lower part of that region, Jacksonville State will play Samford, with the winner playing against McNeese State.
Fordham and Sacred Heart will play in the first round for the right to play Towson, while Butler and Tennessee State will square off, with the winner playing Eastern Illinois.
The bracket expanded to 24 teams this season (up from 20 last year), with 11 teams earning automatic bids.
The playoffs start on Nov. 30 with the first round, and the winners of the first round games will play the teams with byes Dec. 7. The final will take place Jan. 4 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas.