The high of winning the season finale on Saturday was short lived for the Youngstown State football team as it found out on Sunday that they did not advance to the FCS playoffs, and the 2012 season was indeed over.
The Penguins, the winners of three straight to finish the season at 7-4, were left out of the 20-team field on Sunday by an 11-person selection committee.
YSU was hoping that its strength of schedule and the early season win over Pitt would be enough to propel the Penguins into the playoffs for the first time since 2007. But ultimately, the four losses during the month of October proved to be costly.
As expected, the Missouri Valley Conference got three schools into the FCS playoffs. Earning the automatic bid was the top-seed in the tournament, defending national champion, North Dakota State. Also from the MVFC, South Dakota State (8-3) and Illinois State (8-3) earned two of the 10 at-large playoff spots.
The Missouri Valley was one of three conferences that took home three spots in the playoffs. The Colonial Athletic Conference and the Southern Athletic Conference also got in three teams.
The only way YSU was getting in was with an at-large bid. Outside of the MVFC, those picks went to: Cal Poly (9-2), Montana State (10-1), Stony Brook (9-2), New Hampshire (8-3), Old Dominion (10-1), Appalachian State (8-3), Wofford (8-3), Sam Houston State (8-3).
The lowest records of any of the teams in the playoffs are teams at 7-4, but both of those schools (Coastal Carolina and Eastern Illinois) won their respective conferences.
As with any selection process, more than one team probably felt snubbed after being left out. Along with YSU, Lehigh (10-1) from the Patriot League, Richmond (8-3) and Towson (7-4) from CAA Football, Eastern Kentucky (8-3) from the Ohio Valley Conference and Northern Arizona (8-3) from the Big Sky Conference were left out. Also left on the outside looking in was Albany (9-2), James Madison (7-4), UT Martin (8-3) and Tennessee State (8-3).
Next year, the playoff expands to 24 teams.
The FCS playoffs begin this Saturday.