FCS playoffs turning 40

Frisco, TEXAS, JANUARY 7,2012: Pizza Hut Park Sam Houston State University v North Dakota State University for the Division 1 fotball Championship. ND won17-6. on January 7, 2012. 2011 Rick Yeatts

(STATS) - To say the FCS playoffs have come a long way over four decades is an understatement.

In the first season following the split of schools in NCAA Division I, the FCS level (then known as I-AA) held a playoff that involved only four teams. Only one of them was a conference champion, UMass, which lost to Florida A&M in the final 35-28 in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Fast forward to 2017 and the FCS playoffs still wrap up in Texas, north of Dallas, but, oh, are they different - and better. Consisting of 10 conference champions and 14 at-large selections, the 24-team extravaganza will again be hotly contested in its 40th anniversary season.

The playoffs will begin with first-round matchups at campus sites Nov. 25 and conclude at Toyota Stadium in Frisco Jan. 6.

CAA Football member James Madison is the defending national champion.

Updated June 1, 2017

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