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11.11.12 | M Football

BU to Face St. Francis in NAIA Playoffs

The No. 11 ranked Baker Wildcats are Playoff bound The No. 11 ranked Baker Wildcats are Playoff bound

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time since the 2008 season, the Baker University football team has earned a spot in the 2012 NAIA Football Championship Series Playoffs and the No. 11 seeded Wildcats will travel to Fort Wayne, Ind., to take on No. 6 ranked University of St. Francis.

The 8-2 Wildcats will face off against the 8-2 Cougars at 12 p.m. next Saturday, Nov. 17 inside Bishop John D'Arcy Stadium.

With a four-game winning streak to finish regular-season competition, the University of Saint Francis is No. 6 in the final regular-season NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 giving USF 166 consecutive Top 25 poll selections, the longest current streak in the NAIA.

This will be USF's 12th NAIA FCS qualification in the 15-year history of the program. USF has qualified for the NAIA FCS in 12 of the last 13 seasons and this is the Cougars' third consecutive invitation.

USF was tri-champion of the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League, which has three teams in the NAIA Top 6. St. Xavier, tri-champion along with Marian and USF, will get the league's automatic berth in the NAIA FCS since SXU is the highest ranked team of the three at No. 4. Marian is No. 5.

USF won its final regular-season game on Saturday 44-7 at Lindenwood University-Belleville (IL). The Cougars are 2-2 against NAIA Top 25 teams this season.

Baker has also won four straight and defeated Graceland, 40-7 last time out on Saturday afternoon on senior day.

This will be the 12th appearance for Baker in the NAIA Football Playoffs and the last time Baker appeared was back on Nov. 22, 2008 in a 65-27 loss at Morningside.

• Georgetown (Ky.) has the most experience in the Football Championship Series (FCS) with 18 appearances (three-straight), including a field-best three national championships. The Tigers last title came in 2001 when they defeated former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.), 49-27. Georgetown also boasts the most FCS wins amongst the qualifiers with 24. 
• Seven teams have made at least 10 FCS appearances (including this year): Georgetown (18), Missouri Valley (10), Saint Francis (Ind.) (13), St. Ambrose (Iowa) (12), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (10), Baker (Kan.) (12) and Northwestern (Iowa) (16). 
• There are nine repeat programs from the 2011 FCS First Round. 
• Saint Francis boasts a 2012 FCS qualifier-best 10-game First Round win streak. The Cougars last first round loss came in 2001 against Campbellsville (Ky.), 42-21. 
• Defending national champion Saint Xavier (Ill.) and Northwestern (Iowa) are the only other teams with a title game victory. The Cougars look to become the first back-to-back champion since Sioux Falls accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009. Northwestern claimed a pair of NAIA Division II crowns in 1973 and 1983. 
• Six-time NAIA national champion and FCS regular Carroll (Mont.) fails to make the field of 16 for the first time since the 1999 season. The Fighting Saints had appeared in eight of the last 10 title games. Dickinson State (N.D.), who has 15 playoff appearances, is the squad with the second-most appearances to miss the cut this season. 
• St. Ambrose's 12 appearances are the most amongst the field for a team that has never appeared in the title game. The Fighting Bees have never advanced past the quarterfinals. 
• There are no playoff newcomers in the field this year. William Penn (Iowa) has the fewest appearances amongst the group with one prior to this season. The Statesmen are also the only squad searching for their first victory in the FCS. 
• William Penn (Iowa) is making its first trip to the FCS First Round for the first time since 1975 - the longest drought amongst the qualifiers. 
• Georgetown, Saint Xavier, Saint Francis, Baker and Northwestern are this year's qualifiers with at least 10 wins all-time in the FCS. 
• The Mid-States Football Association Mideast Division (MSFAE) and the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) land the most squads in the 16-team field. The MSFAE is represented by Saint Xavier, Marian and Saint Francis. Competing out of the HAAC is Missouri Valley, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) and Baker (Kan.).
• Three unbeaten teams enter the FCS - Georgetown (10-0), Missouri Valley (10-0) and Morningside (Iowa) (10-0).

2012 Football Championship Series Pairings (All times local)
Game 1: Bethel (Tenn.) (8-3)* at Georgetown (Ky.) (10-0)^, 3:30 p.m.
Game 2: Ottawa (Kan.) (8-2)* at Missouri Valley (10-0)^, TBD
Game 3: Montana Tech (8-2) at Morningside (Iowa) (10-0)^, 1 p.m.
Game 4: William Penn (Iowa) (9-2) at Saint Xavier (Ill.) (9-1)^, 1 p.m.
Game 5: Northwestern (Iowa) (9-2) at Marian (Ind.) (8-1)^, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Baker (Kan.) (8-2) at Saint Francis (Ind.) (8-2), 12 p.m.
Game 7: MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (8-2)^ at Cumberlands (Ky.) (9-1), 12 p.m.
Game 8: Southern Oregon (8-2) at Saint Ambrose (Iowa) (9-1), 1 p.m.

^ hosted a 2011 FCS First Round 
* played on the road in 2011 FCS First Round

For the fifth-consecutive season, the Rome-Floyd County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host the 57th annual Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship on Dec. 13 at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. The event will be televised live on CBS Sports Television with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST.

For more information leading up to the playoff game make sure to check in at www.bakerwildcats.com.

-BAKER-

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