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Bison sitting at No. 2 in initial FCS Football Committee playoff rankings

North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca watches a play develop at Youngstown State Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Youngstown, Ohio.David Samson / Forum News Service

FARGO—In a late-night snapshot to the Division I FCS playoff race, the NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee gave a stretch-run look at the 24-team playoff field on Thursday night, with North Dakota State sitting in the lead pack.

The Bison were ranked second behind James Madison with three weeks to go in the regular season in the first of three playoff rankings that the committee will release.

"This is where it starts to get serious, for sure," said Richard Johnson, the chair of the committee in a radio interview on WDAY-AM last weekend. "We've got a lot of information and will continue to get more as we get closer to election day."

The two unbeaten teams were followed by Jacksonville State, Central Arkansas, South Dakota, Sam Houston State, Elon, Wofford, Northern Arizona and South Dakota State.

The rankings were announced on ESPNU at halftime of the Idaho at Troy State football game. There will be one more reveal next Thursday night before the final field of 24 is selected on Sunday, Nov. 19.

NDSU is 8-0 and most likely needs victories in two of its last three games to get a first-round bye and possible home field advantage throughout the playoffs. James Madison and the Bison have been ranked 1-2 all season in the FCS coaches and media polls, but neither have much bearing on the playoff selection.

The Bison have been in the playoffs every since 2010 and won five straight titles from 2011-15. JMU knocked out NDSU last year in the semifinals at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

Jeff Kolpack

Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.

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