WT Buffs are headed to the playoffs

Lone Star Conference football champion and 17th-ranked West Texas A&M qualified for its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance Sunday afternoon when the NCAA Division II Football Committee released the playoff field.

The Buffaloes are the sixth-seed in the NCAA Super Region Four and will travel to third-seeded Chadron State (Neb.) next Saturday. The kickoff time has not been set and ticket information will be released early this week.

The football team gathered for a â??watch partyâ?? in the Buffalo Club room in the First United Bank Center on campus to await the news of the field.

â??We made it,â?? head coach Don Carthel said following the announcement. â??Weâ??ve been breaking down Chadron State film anticipating that we would get in, but we werenâ??t 100 percent sure as we didnâ??t get a complete feel for it and we have been on pins and needles to say the least. When that six spot popped up there and said Buffs there was quite a roar and quite a relief. It took a big load off of all of our shoulders.â??

The Buffaloes finished the regular season with a 9-2 record after a 45-14 win at Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday and a share of the Lone Star Conference title with Midwestern State as both teams were 7-1 in league play. Midwestern State is the fifth-seed in the tournament and will travel to fourth-seeded University of Indianapolis (Ind.).

The game with Chadron State is a rematch of sorts as the Buffsâ?? only previous meeting with the Eagles came in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, with Chadron State winning that meeting. The Buffs are 3-5 all-time in five previous trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 â?? all under Carthel.

Chadron State, ranked 21st in the latest AFCA Coachesâ?? Poll, is 9-2 on the year following a 20-14 win over Colorado Mines to finish the regular season with an 8-1 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Saturday in a blustery snowstorm.

The Eagles lone Division II loss was a 45-38 overtime loss to No. 1 Colorado State-Pueblo Oct. 6 in Pueblo, Colo. CSU-Pueblo dealt WT a 44-34 setback in the season-opener Aug. 30. The Eagles also lost at FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) Montana State in the first game of the season. The Eagles have rattled off five-straight wins since the setback at CSUP.

â??We feel like they (Chadron State) are going to be really similar to Colorado State-Pueblo,â?? Carthel added. â??I havenâ??t seen film to know that, but I think personality-wise, lineman-wise , technique and they are hard-nosed players. They are very healthy and have stayed healthy all year long. It is going to be a very tough ball game and it will be very similar to us going to Pueblo the first game of the year for sure.â??


Top-seeded CSU-Pueblo and second-seeded Ashland University (Ohio) receive byes in the first round as CSUP will host the Midwestern State/Indianapolis winner, while Ashland will host the winner of the Buff vs. Chadron State game Nov. 24.

The National Quarterfinals are scheduled for Dec. 1 with the winners of the games on Nov. 24. The National Semifinals pit the Super Region Four winner against the Super Region One winner Dec. 8, followed by the Division II National Championship from Braley Stadium in Florence, Ala., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012.