In is Tuskegee and Winston-Salem State. Out is Bowie State and Virginia State.
The NCAA Division II Football Playoff pairings were announced Sunday afternoon and of the four HBCU football teams with a shot of making the playoff field, the CIAA champs in Winston-Salem State received a No. 7 seed as did the SIAC's best team, though not champion team, Tuskegee.
Tuskegee (8-2) will be on the road to take on second-seeded Newberry Saturday at 1 p.m. Newberry (10-1) won their last ten games after a season-opening loss to Florida Tech. They came from behind to defeat Wingate 27-22 Saturday to win their their third-ever, and first time outright, South Atlantic Conference title.
Tuskegee's wild week had the school wondering if the Golden Tigers would be able to play in the playoffs or even be eligible. After losing to Kentucky State and missing out on playing in the SIAC Championship game, Tuskegee was left with only nine games when ten is required for NCAA playoff participation. The loser of last week's Albany State-Fort Valley State game agreed to play Tuskegee to give them that needed 10th game. But with Fort Valley State going on to win that game (and advance and win the SIAC championship Saturday), Albany State decided two days later that they would not play Tuskegee and allowed their season to win.
But Tuskegee officials called around and found a willing opponent in Virginia State of the CIAA. The Trojans traveled to Tuskegee and defeated the Golden Tigers Saturday 45-33, leaving Tuskegee with the required 10 games, but now with another loss.
However, they got in.
Saturday's victor, Virginia State, didn't. The Trojans, who finished 9-2, had hoped to boost their playoff resume. But with losses to Bowie State and Winston-Salem State on their schedule, the Trojans couldn't climb up the rankings into the playoff field.
Winston-Salem State (9-2) won their final eight games, including Saturday's 43-33 defeat of Bowie State in the CIAA Championship game. The Rams will be on the road to take on second-ranked LIU Post, a team that is undefeated at 11-0. Saturday, they easily won the Northeast 10 championship over Assumption for the second consecutive year.
Bowie State (7-4) was hoping for an outside chance at getting into the playoff field, but after being ranked ninth in Super Region I last week, their loss in the CIAA title game likely doomed their chances. However, North Greenville also finished 7-4 and made the field.