Early this week the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers’ football team was told that they made the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Pioneers had a record of 8-2 with their only losses coming from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The 8-2 record was enough for the NCAA board to give them the nod for the playoffs this season.
The Pioneers won’t have much time to prepare for their game on Nov. 19 at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. The Johnnies are ranked 9th in the nation and have a record of 9-1.
This marks the second time in school history the Pioneers have made the playoffs and hopefully they can bring home a championship banner. The Pioneers are not the only UW school looking for a victory. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks made the playoffs, once again hoping to win another championship. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh-Titans will also make an appearance for the third time in school history.
With the sudden announcement of the Pioneers making the playoffs, many are likely wondering how the NCAA picks the teams. Teams who win their conference, if their conference is one that receives one of the twenty-five automatic bids, earn a bid into the playoffs. The playoffs have a pool of 32 teams, so the selection committee picks an extra seven teams called wildcard teams to join the playoffs as well.
The NCAA has three pools when developing the tournament-style bracket. Pool A are teams who won conferences that qualify for the automatic bid. Pool B is for one school that is either independent, in no conference or has won a conference that is not qualified for the automatic bid. Lastly, Pool C is for six other teams that were successful but did not win their conference, independent teams or teams who won conferences that do not qualify for an automatic bid. The playoffs consist of 32 teams, four rounds and the championship game. The set-up is much like the NCAA basketball Division I tournament. You can get more details about the selection process and the playoffs bracket from the NCAA website.