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Defending national champion James Madison takes No. 1 seed in FCS playoffs

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Last week the playoff field for Division 2 and Division 3 was set, and we are still two weeks away from learning what four teams will compete in the fourth College Football Playoff. Today it was the FCS playoff field that was unveiled for the first time. Not surprisingly, defending national champion James Madison, the top-ranked team in FCS, took the top spot in the 24-team field.

At 11-0, it was expected the Dukes would be the number one overall seed. The Colonial Athletic Association champions are in the FCS playoffs for a fourth-straight season. The number two seed is a familiar name to those following FCS football. North Dakota State (10-1) took the second overall seed in the playoff field. The five-time national champs remains a force to reckon with once again and will hope to get a shot at playoff revenge against James Madison in this year’s championship game. It was James Madison that eliminated the Bison from the postseason last year with a 27-17 upset in the semifinals.

JMU went on to top Bo Pelini and Youngstown State in the championship game after the unseeded Penguins went on a miraculous run to the championship game. Youngstown State had taken out the No. 3 seed Jacksonville State (40-24) and No. 2 seed Eastern Washington (40-38) before falling against the No. 4 seeded Dukes. Youngstown State did not reach the postseason this year.

Jacksonville State takes the three-seed, followed by Central Arkansas, South Dakota State, Sam Houston State, Wofford and Southern Utah. Other automatic entrants through conference championship automatic qualifiers include Kennesaw State, Central Connecticut State, Lehigh, and San Diego. At-large teams making the field include Northern Arizona, Weber State, Monmouth, Elon, New Hampshire, Stony Brook, South Dakota, Northern Iowa, Western Illinois, Furman, Samford, and Nicholls State.

You can view the full bracket HERE.

WATCH: Ain’t no mountain high enough for Kennesaw State Owls

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I do not know about you, but “Remember The Titans” is one of those movies I could watch any time it happens to be on TV. Who would not want to play for Coach Boone after he led the team for a 3 AM jog through Gettysburg to recite that inspirational speech that ultimately leads to the team coming together as one? The speech has probably been used so many times in high school football game halftimes across the country at this point, but there are other memorable scenes from the movie as well. Odds are the football players training and working to make some history for the newborn football program at Kennesaw State have seen the movie.

In a video shared by Kennesaw State on YouTube, players from the Owls ended a session in the weight room by coming together to sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which was featured in the movie as well. The hit single first made popular by Marvin Gaye and later rekindled in popularity by Diana Ross continues to resonate with its inspirational lyrics, and clearly it gets the Kennesaw Owls motivated.

Kennesaw State is going to play its first football game in school history this fall. The Owls will play at the FCS level in the Big South Conference. The first game in school history is scheduled for Thursday, September 3 at East Tennessee State.