The Eastern Washington University Eagles football team are number three in the top 25 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision poll.
This is the highest the Eagles have ever been ranked.
Previously the 1997 team reached number six in the polls and finished number four at years end.
The 1997 team went on to win two playoff games before falling to eventual champion Youngstown State 25-14 in the semifinals. That EWU squad, coached by Mike Kramer and led by Big Sky Conference Players of the Year Harry Leons (offense) and Chris Scott (defense), finished the season 12-2 and ranked fourth in the final poll following the playoffs.
The Eagles finish the regular season this Saturday, November 20, at home vs. Idaho State. Idaho State is currently in the cellar of the Big Sky at 0-7 in conference play and 1-9 overall.
But the Eagles can not afford to overlook the Bengals.
The reason is that in Missoula the Bobcats and Griz will be battling the 110th Brawl of the Wild. And Eastern fans will have to hope that the Griz pull of the win.
The reason is simple. With an Eastern victory and a Montana State loss, the Eagles are the outright champs of the Big Sky.
And the FCS playoffs will be a bit different than previous years. Here's how they'll work:
This year's field for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs will include 20 teams for the first time. The Northeast and Big South Conferences will both send their regular-season champions to the postseason for the first time.
Those two leagues join the Big Sky, Colonial, Southern, Southland, Patriot, Ohio Valley, MEAC, and Missouri Valley as leagues with automatic bids to the playoffs. Two conferences choose not to participate in the football championship, the Ivy League and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The other 10 bids will go to at-large teams. Eight teams will play first-round games on Saturday, Nov. 27. Twelve teams will receive first-round byes, and play in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 4. The quarterfinals are Saturday, Dec. 11, with the semifinals the following week. Five teams are seeded, meaning they will play home games unless playing a higher-seeded team or if they did not meet the NCAA's minimum guarantee to host.