Cape Girardeau, MO (SEMO) - The Southeast Missouri football team won its first Ohio Valley Conference Championship in school history. The Redhawks won the title outright and secured their first-ever automatic postseason berth when Jacksonville State lost at Tennessee Tech Saturday.
Southeast entered the day with at least a share of the conference title, but clinched the regular-season crown outright when the Golden Eagles overcame a 24-7 deficit by scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter to pull off the stunning 35-24 upset.
The Redhawks, who were idle during the final week of the regular-season, finished at 9-2 overall (the nine wins tying a school record) and 7-1 in OVC play. The OVC Championship is Southeast's first since it joined the OVC and Division I ranks in 1991. The playoff berth marks the first-ever for the program at any level in its 104-year football history.
Southeast will gather at Outback Steakhouse to watch the NCAA Division I Football Championship Selection Show Sunday. Doors open at 8:40 a.m., with the selection show airing live on ESPNU at 9 a.m., CT. The event is open to the public.
The expanded 20-team format will include 10 automatic qualifiers and 10 at-large teams.
The playoffs start with first-round action (eight teams) on Saturday, Nov. 27; 12 teams will receive first-round byes and not play until Saturday, Dec. 4. Quarterfinal games will be played on Dec. 10 and 11, the semifinals will be held on Dec. 17 and 18 and the National Championship will be held for the first time in Frisco, Texas (Pizza Hut Park) this year on Jan. 7, 2011.
Both Southeast and Jacksonville State are expected to receive a first-round bye in the playoffs, but whether they host a game or go on the road is unsure. The last time the OVC had two teams in the playoffs was 2007.