OGDEN — Weber State football players and coaches gathered in the team room at Stewart Stadium’s Youngberg Football Center to watch the FCS Playoffs Selection Show on Sunday morning. The buzz in the room was not in anticipation of if the Wildcats would make the playoffs, but just how high a seed they would get.
The room erupted when WSU (9-3) was revealed as the No. 3 national seed, which means a first-round bye and the chance for at least two home games.
The show on ESPNU first revealed the top four seeds, allowing WSU some jubilation after falling in behind No. 1 North Dakota State and No. 2 James Madison, and seeded just ahead of No. 4 Sacramento State.
After that, seeds five through eight were revealed: No. 5 Montana State, No. 6 Montana, No. 7 South Dakota State and No. 8 Central Arkansas.
Those in the room quickly realized what that meant: should each team win in the second round, Weber State would host a rematch with Montana.
“Now you can get them on your field, but you’ve got to win,” Hill said. “And those are two really good teams.”
Those two really good teams he referenced are No. 11 Wofford (8-3) and No. 15 Kennesaw State (10-2), who face off in the first round Nov. 30.
Weber State hosts winner at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Stewart Stadium. That game will stream online on ESPN.com and the ESPN app.
Hill said it’s rare to get the opportunity for home games that are part of a championship run and “I’m just hoping and praying (fans) come out and support us like I think these players deserve to be supported.”
“People in the community get super stoked about these playoff games,” senior defensive end Jonah Williams said. “I’m sure this place will be packed and it’s going to be a cool environment.”
Both Wofford (Spartanburg, South Carolina) and Kennesaw State (Kennesaw, Georgia) are warm-weather teams who run a version of the triple-option.
“I’m stoked. The bracket is just how we want it,” Williams said, referring to potential rematches with Montana and James Madison. “We’ve been here two years in a row now and we’re ready to make it past the quarterfinals, that’s our goal. We’re trying to win this thing.”
The four seeded Big Sky teams represented all of the conference’s playoff selections, though one could consider a fifth in North Dakota, who played a Big Sky schedule. UND was one of the last teams in the field.
Northern Iowa was not seeded but will host San Diego in the first round. That means Weber State went 3-1 in four games against playoff teams this season.
The full bracket can be viewed at ncaa.com/brackets/football/fcs/2019.
Weber State’s qualification represents the eighth time WSU has made the FCS playoffs — four times from 1962-2013 and four times since Hill was hired in 2014.
WSU has made the playoffs in four straight seasons. The 2019 selection represents the second time the Wildcats have earned a national seed.
Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Weber State is 29-5 against FCS opponents, including playoff games.