Central Washington Earns Home Playoff GamePosted: Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Central Washington University football team, which finished the 2007 regular season with an 8-2 overall record, is headed to the NCAA Division II Football Championship playoffs as the number four seed from the Northwest Region, the NCAA announced Sunday. The Wildcats will host fifth-seed Ashland University (Ohio) in a first round game tentatively scheduled for noon (PST) on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The Wildcats maintained their number four position in the region despite a 59-21 loss to the region's top-ranked team, Nebraska-Omaha, on Saturday. That loss snapped a seven-game win streak by Central, which had been in the position for a share of the North Central Conference title had they defeated UNO.
"Overall, we are very excited to host a playoff game," CWU head coach Beau Baldwin said. "Many times, teams come off a tough loss and don't get another chance to come back from it. We are excited to have another chance, and we are pleased to be in the position we are in."
The trip to the postseason is the first for Central Washington since its 2002 NCAA Division II playoff appearance, in which the Wildcats were the top seed in the West Region. Central hosted UC Davis and lost to the Aggies, 24-6, in its only previous postseason trip as a NCAA member.
Central Washington's first round opponent, Ashland, is making its first playoff appearance since 1997, as the Eagles finished 8-1 in the regular season. Ashland competes in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), where they finished second to Grand Valley State. Grand Valley (11-0, 10-0 GLIAC) is the number two seed in the Northwest Region and will receive a first-round bye.
Also receiving a first-round bye is Nebraska-Omaha, which completed its first unbeaten regular season since 1954 with the 38-point win over CWU on Saturday. The Mavericks will host the Central Washington-Ashland winner in the second round on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Twenty-four teams -- six from each of four regions -- qualified for the NCAA Division II championship field. First round games, involving seeds three through six from the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest regions, will be played this next Saturday, Nov. 17. The other first round game in the Northwest Region involves sixth-seed Winona State (10-1) and third-seed North Dakota (9-1).
Central Washington has an all-time postseason record of 10-9-1, including the 1995 NAIA Division II National co-Championship. The Wildcats tied the University of Findlay for their only national crown, which also marks the only previous time in school history that CWU has faced a team from the state of Ohio.