– Five-time defending national champion North Dakota State is the No. 1 seed in the FCS playoffs.

The NCAA announced the 24-team playoff field on Sunday. The top eight seeds receive first-round byes and host second-round games. Joining the Bison in the top four are Eastern Washington at No. 2, Jacksonville State, last season’s runner-up, at No. 3 and James Madison at No. 4.

No. 5 Sam Houston State, No. 6 The Citadel, No. 7 North Dakota and No. 8 South Dakota State also have first-round byes.

The single-elimination playoffs begin at campus sites next Saturday and culminate with the FCS championship game Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.

As long as North Dakota State (10-1) and Eastern Washington (10-1), the Big Sky co-champ, remain alive, they are guaranteed home games through the semifinals.

That’s particularly noteworthy to North Dakota State — and the Bison competition, for that matter — as their dynasty has only had home games at the Fargodome before the past five championship games.

“Our fan base really amps it up when we get to the playoffs,” coach Chris Klieman said. “I know they’re excited [that] as long as we’re playing, it’s going to be at Gate City Bank Field. We look forward to a great playoff.”

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