The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the teams and pairings for the 2012 NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS). Sixteen teams will play at eight FCS First Round sites on Nov. 17. Defending national champion Saint Xavier (Ill.) returns to the field and will host William Penn (Iowa) in Chicago, Ill. The quarterfinal pairings, to be played on Nov. 24, will be announced on the morning of Nov. 18.
Georgetown (Ky.) is the most decorated amongst the qualifiers with 24 victories in 18 appearances, including three national championships. The Tigers, who rank No. 1 in the final regular-season NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll, earned their most recent national title in 2001 with a 49-27 victory against former NAIA member Sioux Falls (S.D.). Georgetown kicks off FCS action against a familiar foe in Bethel (Tenn.). The Tigers are 6-0 all-time in regular season meetings against the Wildcats, including a 63-21 win on Sept. 29.
In addition to Georgetown, Baker (Kan.), MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), Missouri Valley, Northwestern (Iowa), Saint Francis (Ind.) and St. Ambrose (Iowa) have made at least 10 appearances in the FCS.
William Penn, who received the final at-large position, is making its first appearance since 1975, snapping a streak of 37-straight seasons without participating in the postseason. The Statesmen are also searching for their first-ever FCS victory.
All eight FCS First Round games will mark the first postseason meeting between the two teams.
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.