1. How are the Division III football playoffs set up?
For 2012: Automatic bids to go the champions of 24 conferences.
There is one bid set aside solely for Pool B teams, that is, teams who are independents or in conferences without automatic bids.
The leftover Pool B teams get dumped into Pool C, and those teams get considered for the remaining seven bids.
What does this mean? Probably seven bids going to Pool C teams, although it's possible in some years the second-best Pool B team could get that final at-large bid.
American Southwest Conference; Centennial Conference; College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin; Eastern Collegiate Football Conference; Empire 8; Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference; Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; Liberty League; Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association; Middle Atlantic Conference; Midwest Conference; Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; New England Football Conference; New Jersey Athletic Conference; North Coast Athletic Conference; Northern Athletics Conference; Northwest Conference; Ohio Athletic Conference; Old Dominion Athletic Conference; Presidents' Athletic Conference; Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; Upper Midwest Athletic Conference; USA South Athletic Conference; and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
These are the selection (and seeding) criteria:
The following primary criteria (not in priority order) will be
• Win-loss percentage against regional opponents.
• Strength-of-schedule (only contests versus regional competition).
- Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage (OWP).
- Opponents’ Opponents’ Average Winning Percentage (OOWP).
• In-region head-to-head competition.
• In-region results versus common regional opponents.
• In-region results versus regionally ranked teams.
If the evaluation of the primary criteria does not result in a
decision by the committee, the following secondary criteria (for
ranking and selections) will be evaluated:
• Out-of region head-to-head competition.
• Overall Division III won-loss percentage.
• Results versus common non-Division III opponents.
• Results versus all Division III ranked teams.
• Overall win-loss percentage.
• Results versus all common opponents.
• Overall Division III strength of schedule
• Should a committee find that evaluation of a team’s win-loss percentage during the last 25 percent of the season is applicable (i.e., end of season performance), it may adopt such criteria with approval from the championships committee.
New for 2011: When all criteria are equal among teams with undefeated records in the primary criteria, the NCAA Division III Football Committee can use a team’s performance in the previous championship season as criterion.
Additionally, input is provided by regional advisory committees for consideration by the Division III football committee. In order to be considered for selection for Pools B or C, an institution must play at least 50 percent of its competition against Division III in-region opponents. Coaches’ polls and/or any other outside polls or rankings are not used as a selection criterion by the football committee for selection purposes.
You'd have to ask the conference in question. Each conference sets its own tiebreakers.
Since 2005: There are four brackets of eight teams apiece. The brackets are set by the NCAA committee, grouping eight teams together in a roughly geographic manner.
The NCAA reserves the right to seed the bracket in the interest of avoiding having to pay for extra airplane flights in the first round. If two schools are within 500 miles' driving distance, then the road team travels by bus. If the distance is longer than 500 miles then the NCAA must fly one team to play the other.
Generally speaking, the No. 1 seed plays the No. 8 seed, the No. 2 seed plays the No. 7 seed, No. 3 plays No. 6 and No. 4 plays No. 5. But the committee also reserves the right to juggle first-round pairings to satisfy their travel requirements as well as keep conference foes from facing each other in the first round.
In general, the higher seed hosts through to the national semifinals. If two equal seeds from different brackets meet in the national semifinals, the NCAA will determine who hosts. That is announced when the brackets are released.
In 2009, the NCAA announced that there were no seeds and never
had been. However, this contradicted the facts from previous years,
in which the NCAA liaison communicated seedings to D3football.com
This is not predetermined. We'll find out on Selection Sunday when the bracket is unveiled.
The Division III football playoffs are held on five consecutive Saturdays in November and December, starting with the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Games kick off at noon local time.
Specifically, by year:
2012: Nov. 17, Nov. 24, Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 14
The Stagg Bowl is held in Salem, Va., and its kickoff time is set by television. Semifinal game times were set by television in 2011 and are expected to be in 2012 as well.
A game can be classified as regional in any of three ways.
1) Both teams are full Division III members (or third- or fourth-year provisional members) and are in the same Division III member conference or same region as definied by the Division III football committee. That list of regions is linked in the left-hand rail on this page.
2) The teams are within 200 miles of each other via the NCAA's approved mapping software.
3) The teams are within the same NCAA administrative region. Those regions are defined below.
Region 1: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Region 2: New York, Pennsylvania.
Region 3: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.
Region 4: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
If the teams are in the same region by any one of these three definitions, it is a regional game.
Some examples: 1. Trinity (Texas) is scheduled to play the
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a regular season game in
Ireland. Is this a regional game?
Answer: Yes. It doesn't matter where the game is played, only where the schools are from. Texas and Wisconsin are both in Region 4.
2. Merchant Marine plays Grove City. They are in different NCAA
regions and are more than 200 miles apart.
Answer: This is a regional game. Merchant Marine is in New York, Grove City is in Pennsylvania. Both are in Region 2.
3. Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) plays Washington U. (Mo.). Answer: This is a regional game. Although they are in different regions by every definition, both are members of the same Division III member conference, the UAA.
4. Albion (Mich.) plays Grand Valley State (Mich.).
Answer: This is not a regional game. Grand Valley State is not a Division III member. No game against a non-Division III member can ever be a regional game.
5. Centenary (La.) plays Berry
Answer: This is not a regional game. Although both teams are in the same administrative region and same Division III football region, Centenary is a second-year provisional member of Division III, not a full member or third- or fourth-year provisional member.
6. Johns Hopkins (Md.) plays Bridgewater (Va.) Answer: This is a regional game. Although Maryland and Virginia are in different administrative regions, both schools are in the South for football.
A look at each conference from playoff expansion in 1999 through
the second round of the 2012 playoffs:
Starting in 2012, the limit was increased from 52 to 58 players. That list is final 10 minutes before kickoff but can be changed until then. A team can field a different roster in each round, if it desires. Both the home and road team are limited to suiting up 58 players. The team's remaining players cannot be in the team box on the sidelines during the game.