(STATS) - To say the FCS playoffs have come a long way over four decades is an understatement.
In the first season following the split of schools in NCAA Division I, the FCS level (then known as I-AA) held a playoff that involved only four teams. Only one of them was a conference champion, UMass, which lost to Florida A&M in the final 35-28 in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Fast forward to 2017 and the FCS playoffs still wrap up in Texas, north of Dallas, but, oh, are they different - and better. Consisting of 10 conference champions and 14 at-large selections, the 24-team extravaganza will again be hotly contested in its 40th anniversary season.
The playoffs will begin with first-round matchups at campus sites Nov. 25 and conclude at Toyota Stadium in Frisco Jan. 6.
CAA Football member James Madison is the defending national champion.