/playoffs/2016/playoff-bracket-announced

Playoff bracket announced, with pleasant surprises

Dan Arnold and the prolific UW-Platteville air attack get new life.
UW-Platteville athletics photo 
What's the better surprise in this bracket?
Hardin-Simmons getting a first-round home game
Three WIAC teams getting in
Mount Union having to go on the road
Monmouth not facing a MIAC or WIAC team
The East Region getting a No. 1 seed

Play of the day?

Wykeyhe Walker laid out to make a one-handed grab in the end zone, catching a touchdown pass for the new No. 1 team in the country, Mary Hardin-Baylor, and setting the UMHB career receptions record in the process.

It's hard to know who is more surprised by this bracket -- Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons fans who won't see each other in the first round, WIAC fans who were unsure they would get three teams in the bracket, Hobart fans who have Mount Union coming to their place or Mount Union haters -- let's be honest and call them what they are -- who didn't think Mount Union would or should get into the bracket in the first place.

Surprise! All those things happened!

We said all along there was no way Mount Union would be left out of this bracket, and the only real drama was in the final at-large selection, a true toss-up pick. And it comes down to the same eternal question: Is it better to lose to a really good team or beat a pretty good team? This year, the answer was that it was better to play UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh competitively and lose. Last year, UW-Platteville was left out and this year the Pioneers are in the field.

It took a little extra money from the NCAA for this bracket to become reality -- the committee, the NCAA, someone splurged for three flights in the first round instead of two, so both Hardin-Simmons and Mary Hardin-Baylor get the home game they deserve. (One of them likely coming at the expense of Linfield, which had a claim at a first-round home game as well.)

"The NCAA, as much as people like throwing knives their way, they really try to do best by the student-athletes," NCAA football committee chair Jack McKiernan told In the HuddLLe on Sunday night. "The championships committee, working all the way through its structure, really tries to do what's best. They see logic sometimes. This year, the way everything fell, it seemed like the right thing to do to not have those two teams playing in the first round."

Mount Union has to take a trip through the East Region if it wants to advance, being placed as what would seem like a No. 5 seed at No. 3 seeded Hobart in the first round. (Bridgewater State would be the 8 in that bracket, with Husson the 7 and Western New England the 6.) Meanwhile, someone will welcome Mount Union to their home stadium for a playoff game for the first time in two decades.

Alfred gets what would seem to be a top seed as an East Region team gets a No. 1 position for the first time in years as well. And they have the 6, 7 and 8 seed in their part of the bracket, so they'll get to ease themselves into the playoffs before the competition gets harder. Johns Hopkins is actually in the position in the bracket traditionally given to a top seed, but they don't have the matchups a top seed would have, so it seems Alfred is the No. 1 in the bottom left. UW-Whitewater, St. Thomas and Mary Hardin-Baylor are the other clear No. 1 seeds.

But while the East got that No. 1 seed, it did not get an at-large team. Was St. John Fisher the East Region team on the board, as our sources suggested on Saturday? Or was it Frostburg State? Frostburg had a very average playoff resume, with a strength of schedule above .500, but its only loss on the season was a blowout. 

Keep an eye out for the bracket challenge from our partners at d3photography.com, as well as In the HuddLLe's conversation with NCAA committee chair Jack McKiernan and the Around the Nation podcast coming out tonight for more coverage.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Westfield State at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Moravian at Juniata
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12:00 PM
Endicott at Salve Regina
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12:00 PM
St. Vincent at Thomas More
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12:00 PM
Hobart at Union
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1:00 PM
Colby at Hamilton
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1:00 PM
William Paterson at Christopher Newport
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1:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Ithaca
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1:00 PM
Kenyon at Allegheny
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1:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Mount Ida
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1:00 PM
Middlebury at Bates
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1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
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1:00 PM
Wesleyan at Amherst
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1:00 PM
Bowdoin at Trinity (Conn.)
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1:00 PM
Husson at Gallaudet
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1:00 PM
Wabash at Oberlin
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1:00 PM
Buffalo State at Utica
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1:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Muskingum
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
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1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
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1:00 PM
Albright at Stevenson
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1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Alma at Albion
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1:00 PM
Shenandoah at Guilford
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1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Massachusetts Maritime
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1:00 PM
Wooster at Hiram
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1:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Hampden-Sydney
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1:00 PM
Alfred State at Anna Maria
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Bridgewater at Emory and Henry
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1:00 PM
Wilkes at FDU-Florham
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1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Misericordia
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1:00 PM
Rochester at St. Lawrence
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1:00 PM
RPI at Alfred
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1:00 PM
Nichols at Curry
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1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Salisbury
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1:00 PM
Ferrum at Brevard
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1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Apprentice
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1:00 PM
Ursinus at Susquehanna
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1:00 PM
Cortland at Morrisville State
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1:00 PM
Hope at Trine
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1:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-River Falls
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1:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Sewanee
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1:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
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1:30 PM
Dickinson at Franklin and Marshall
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1:30 PM
Tufts at Williams
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
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1:30 PM
MIT at Coast Guard
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1:30 PM
Maine Maritime at Norwich
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1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
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1:30 PM
Franklin at Rose-Hulman
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1:30 PM
John Carroll at Capital
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1:30 PM
Bluffton at Manchester
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1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Anderson
2:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
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2:00 PM
Greensboro at LaGrange
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2:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Worcester State
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2:00 PM
Muhlenberg at McDaniel
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2:00 PM
Western New England at Becker
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2:00 PM
Methodist at Maryville (Tenn.)
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2:00 PM
Adrian at Kalamazoo
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2:00 PM
Denison at Ohio Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
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2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
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2:00 PM
Olivet at Benedictine
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2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Austin
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2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Stout
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2:00 PM
Eureka at MacMurray
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2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Buena Vista
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2:00 PM
Lakeland at Wisconsin Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Rockford at Aurora
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2:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Concordia-Chicago
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2:00 PM
Carleton at St. Olaf
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2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
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2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Greenville
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2:00 PM
Coe at Loras
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2:00 PM
Monmouth at Cornell
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2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at North Park
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2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Martin Luther
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Grinnell at Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Carroll at Millikin
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2:00 PM
Ripon at Macalester
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2:00 PM
Lawrence at St. Norbert
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2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Crown
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2:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at Iowa Wesleyan
2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
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2:30 PM
Merchant Marine at WPI
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2:30 PM
Rhodes at Centre
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2:30 PM
Hanover at Earlham
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2:30 PM
Beloit at Chicago
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Simpson at Dubuque
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3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:00 PM
Western Connecticut at Bridgewater State
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4:00 PM
Chapman at La Verne
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4:00 PM
Pacific at Lewis and Clark
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4:00 PM
Pacific Lutheran at Willamette
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4:00 PM
Puget Sound at Whitworth
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4:00 PM
Redlands at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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5:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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6:00 PM
Dean at Castleton
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6:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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7:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Otterbein
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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7:00 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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7:00 PM
Knox at Illinois College
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10:00 PM
Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
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1:00 PM
Montclair State at Frostburg State
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1:00 PM
Wittenberg at DePauw
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1:00 PM
Catholic at Springfield
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1:00 PM
Wartburg at Luther
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1:30 PM
Mount Union at Wilmington
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1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Marietta
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2:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at Washington and Jefferson
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2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Texas Lutheran
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2:00 PM
Belhaven at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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2:00 PM
St. Thomas at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Carthage at Illinois Wesleyan
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2:00 PM
Augsburg at Concordia-Moorhead
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2:00 PM
Berry at Millsaps
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2:10 PM
UW-Platteville at UW-Eau Claire
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3:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-La Crosse
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3:00 PM
Augustana at North Central (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
Hartwick at Brockport
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4:30 PM
George Fox at Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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