HAMILTON, N.Y. – Two teams with no history whatsoever on the football field but plenty in common for 2012 get together Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
Colgate drew Wagner, and the Raiders travel to Staten Island for their playoff opener. Kickoff Saturday is noon, with ESPN3 carrying the live online telecast.
Both teams started this season slowly but are riding impressive winning streaks to identical 8-3 records. Wagner's eight-game streak is the longest in the nation, followed by Colgate and Bethune-Cookman at seven apiece.
The team's played four similar opponents in Albany, Sacred Heart, Holy Cross and Georgetown. Both went 3-1 against those common four.
“Sometimes, when you play someone you don't know much about, it's hard to prepare,” Raiders head coach Dick Biddle said. “But we've had common opponents so we should be able to get some idea of their strengths, their weaknesses and how we match up.
“The other positive is it's in New York State. We can take a bus and it's not a big travel thing for us; we've made the trip twice this year. We know the area and our kids should be comfortable with that.”
Colgate lost at Albany 40-23 in the Sept. 1 season opener, beat Sacred Heart 35-14 on Sept. 15, defeated Holy Cross 51-35 on Oct. 13, and beat Georgetown 57-36 on Oct. 20.
Wagner lost at Georgetown 13-10 on Sept. 8, won at Sacred Heart 12-3 on Oct. 6, blanked Albany 30-0 on Nov. 3, and then edged Holy Cross 31-30 on Nov. 10.
Both teams also qualified as conference champions. Colgate won its seventh Patriot League title under head coach Dick Biddle, and Wagner won its first Northeast Conference championship under 31-year head coach Walt Hameline.
Colgate is making its ninth NCAA playoff appearance and first since 2008. The Raiders are 4-8 all-time in the NCAAs, including a second-place finish in 2003.
This week's winner travels to No. 2-seed Eastern Washington for a Dec. 1 second-round matchup. That game kicks off from Cheney, Wash., at 3:05 p.m. Pacific time (6:05 Eastern) and also is being carried online by ESPN3.