With Bison AD Larsen in Indy, playoff scenarios at stake with NDSU and AND – InForum

FARGO — Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome is expected to be packed to capacity Saturday afternoon. The University of North Dakota and North Dakota State will start at 2:30 p.m. with the stakes high for both teams.

Decibel levels could be at peak volume. Meanwhile, Matt Larsen will be in a quiet room in Indianapolis.

NDSU’s athletic director serves on the Division I FCS playoff selection committee, which will spend the day overseeing teams battling for one of 24 spots in the field.

The committee will be conducting conference calls three times a week starting mid-October. Larsen will fly to Indianapolis on Friday, with the first meeting at NCAA headquarters later Friday afternoon. Saturday is spent observing and evaluating.

PHOTO: Matt Larsen NDSU
North Dakota State AD Matt Larsen is shown in a forum file photo.

Forum file photo

“There’s still a lot of impact on some games this weekend,” said Larsen. “We’re going to look at who we think should be in the bracket and we need Saturday to play a bit.”
Larsen represents the central region, which consists of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Pioneer League, and the Ohio Valley Conference.
“It takes a lot of time and energy to look at a lot of information and results and to watch a lot of games over the last three months,” he said.

It is Larsen’s second year on the committee, which consists of 11 sporting directors. For example, the Big Sky Conference is represented by University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam and the Colonial Athletic Association is represented by Stony Brook AD Shawn Heilbron.

A committee member must leave the room when their school is being discussed.

“You see how many games you watch, how much debate there is, how much information you have,” Larsen said.

Four schools have already automatically secured a spot in the field: South Dakota State in the Missouri Valley, Samford in the Southern Conference, Holy Cross in the Patriot, and Saint Francis in the Northeastern Conference.

The following teams have secured at least one spot at large based on season record and resume in general: NDSU (8-2), Sacramento State (10-0), Montana State (9-1), Weber State (8-2 ), Incarnate Word (9-1), William & Mary (9-1), Richmond (8-2), Elon (8-3) and Southeast Missouri State (8-2).

A host of teams with seven wins in Division I could solidify with a win on Saturday.

If NDSU beat UND, the Fighting Hawks would want a Missouri State win over Youngstown State 6-4 since AND defeated Youngstown during the season, and they would finish with the same record. It is likely that the committee would include at least three Missouri Valley teams.

The top eight teams will be seeded and given a bye into the first round.

“We spend a lot of time in the top eight for obvious reasons,” said Larsen. “And then the last 10, the last five to get in and the last five to get out. These are also very important decisions because one team is allowed to play and the other team stays at home. After the top eight, it’s all about regionalization. So that top eight and that last couple is really, really important.”