BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Despite a 10-1 overall record, a 4-1 mark in the highly competitive Patriot League and a top-15 ranking in both major polls, the Lehigh football team was not award one of ten at-large berths to the NCAA Football Championship. The field of 20, as compiled by the NCAA Division I Football Selection Committee – consisting of ten FCS Athletic Directors – was unveiled Sunday afternoon.
The Mountain Hawks’ 10-1 record marked their third straight ten-win season and the tenth ten-win season in school history. Lehigh won its first nine games in 2012, extending a then FCS-best regular season winning streak to 18 before dropping a 35-24 decision to Colgate on November 10. Five of Lehigh’s 11 opponents finished with records of .500 or better, including Big South conference tri-champion Liberty.
Lehigh becomes just the second 10-win team from a conference that earns an automatic qualifier into the playoffs to be denied an at-large berth under the current playoff format. The other 10-win team from a conference with an automatic qualifier to not receive an at-large berth was also a member of the Patriot League: Bucknell in 1997.
The Mountain Hawks’ seniors wrapped up their careers with a 38-21 win over Lafayette Saturday at Fisher Stadium in Easton, Lehigh’s fifth straight victory over its arch rival. The Class of 2013 amassed a four-year record of 35-13, good for a .729 winning percentage and became the tenth class at Lehigh to go 4-0 against Lafayette. Lehigh won Patriot League championships in 2010 and 2011 and won playoff games in both seasons, as the Mountain Hawks won at Missouri Valley champion Northern Iowa in the 2010 postseason and at Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson last year.