In the end it wasn’t enough.
For the sixth straight year, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga failed to secure a place in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
The 24-team field for the five-round event was announced Sunday afternoon, and the Mocs received none of the 13 free bids. That wasn’t a total surprise after UTC ended the regular season with a 32-29 loss in Western Carolina the day before, but a crowded playoff bubble left the possibility of the Mocs making the bracket.
UTC went 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Southern Conference, a league that had four teams listed in both NCAA FCS polls in the final week of the regular season, but only two of those teams ended up in the playoffs : Samford (10-1, 8-0), who completed the SoCon’s automatic postseason bid ahead of his 50-44 home win in double overtime against Mercer on Saturday, and Furman (9-2, 7-1), who cruised to a 63-28 win over Wofford.
What the Mocs had in their favor was the fact that they had been ranked all season and had owned a win over a ranked opponent when they beat Mercer 41-21 on Oct. 22 at Finley Stadium. However, this turned out to be the highlight of the season.
UTC lost 24-20 at Furman the following week and after bouncing back with a 31-21 win at The Citadel, the Mocs failed to celebrate Senior Day with a win when Samford joined Finley on November 12 and 35-24 won to earn a share of the SoCon title it eventually owned outright.
The Mocs lost back-to-back games for the second straight season, which ultimately helped prolong the program’s playoff drought. UTC performed back-to-back from 2014 to 2016, and although the program has only had one losing season since then, 3-8 in 2017, the playoffs remained out of reach.
Samford was sixth among eight seeded playoffs receiving byes before hosting second-round play. The Bulldogs play the winner of this week’s Idaho in the Southeastern Louisiana matchup on December 3.
Furman hosts Elon next Saturday.
Jackrabbits are #1
South Dakota State and Sacramento State placed the top two in the FCS playoffs
South Dakota State (10-1) will make an 11th straight appearance in the postseason. The Jackrabbits — they lost to Sam Houston in May 2021 in the national championship game for the 2020 season that was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic — received an automatic bid to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Sacramento State (11-0) won the Big Sky Conference automatic bid. Neither the Jackrabbits nor the Hornets have ever won the FCS title.
The top 8 seeds also include #3 North Dakota State, #4 Montana State, #5 William & Mary, #7 Incarnate Word, and #8 Holy Cross.
North Dakota State, the 2021 national champion and winner of nine of its last 11 titles, made the field for its 13th straight season. The Bison have won 41 playoff games, the most ever. They defeated Montana State 38-10 for last season’s title.
Montana State won part of the Big Sky Conference title and will make the playoffs for its 12th and fourth time in five seasons. In 1984 the Bobcats won the title.
William & Mary will make their 11th playoff appearance since 2015. The Tribe won the Colonial Athletic Association title on Saturday, defeating Richmond at large 37-26.
SoCon winner Samford is competing for the sixth time, but for the first time since 2017.
Incarnate Word was widely promoted along with Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference as a co-champion. Southeastern Louisiana hosts Idaho on Saturday.
Holy Cross received the Patriot League’s automatic offer for a fourth consecutive postseason appearance.
This year’s field includes seven programs that have won national championships and one team, Gardner-Webb, who will be making the playoffs for the first time.
The first four rounds are played in consecutive weeks before a holiday break. The title game will take place on January 8th in Frisco, Texas.
2022 FCS PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
All times EST
The top eight seeds will receive byes and host the first round winners
Saturday 26 Nov
Elon (8-3) at Furman (9-2), noon
Davidson (8-3) at Richmond (8-3), 2 p.m
Fordham (9-2) at New Hampshire (8-3), 2 p.m
Saint Francis (9-2) in Delaware (7-4), 2 p.m
North Dakota (7-4) at Weber State (9-2), 4 p.m
Gardner-Webb (6-5) at Eastern Kentucky (7-4), 5 p.m
Idaho (7-4) at SE Louisiana (8-3), 7 p.m
SE Missouri State (9-2) at Montana (7-4), 10 p.m
Saturday December 3rd
Fordham/New Hampshire, no. 8 Holy Cross (11-0), noon
Elon/Furman at #7 Incarnate Word (10-1) 2 p.m
Gardner-Webb/Eastern Kentucky at No. 5 William & Mary (10-1), 2 p.m
North Dakota/Weber State at No. 4 Montana State (10-1), 3 p.m
Idaho/SE Louisiana at #6 Samford (10-1), 3 p.m
Saint Francis/Delaware in State #1 South Dakota (10-1), 3 p.m
SE Missouri State/Montana in No. 3 North Dakota State (9-2), 3 p.m
Davidson/Richmond in State No. 2 Sacramento (11-0), 5 p.m