Video exchange shouldn't be a problem.
"I'm not surprised at all that this was the team we were going to play," ODU coach Bobby Wilder said following a selection show and pep rally for approximately 500 people at the Constant Center. "I had a feeling all along, based on the fact that we were a regional match, that it would be a great game of interest -- which I think is part of what this tournament should be about; allowing for teams to play each other that are close enough regionally where fans can travel."
The ODU-Norfolk State matchup features several firsts: first meeting between the two programs; first playoff appearances for both programs; first intra-city playoff game between programs in FCS/Division I-AA history.
Old Dominion (9-2) finished tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association in its first season as a competing member and just its third season since reconstituting the program. Norfolk State (9-2) won its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title.
The ODU-Norfolk State winner travels to Georgia Southern for a second-round matchup Dec. 3 in Statesboro, Ga. The Eagles (9-2) won the Southern Conference title and the league's automatic berth and are the tournament's No. 3 seed.
Old Dominion was one of five CAA schools to make the playoff field, along with champion Towson, Maine, New Hampshire and James Madison. It's only the third time in history that a league has received five berths. The CAA also had five teams chosen in 2007 and '08.
Towson (9-2), picked to finish last in preseason, earned its first postseason bid and hosts Patriot League champ Lehigh on Dec. 3. Maine (8-3) travels to Appalachian State, and New Hampshire (8-3) goes to Montana State in second-round matchups. James Madison (7-4) plays at Eastern Kentucky in a first-round matchup next Saturday.
The Monarchs concluded their regular season Nov. 12 and will have had two weeks between games. Coincidentally, so did Norfolk State.
"The rumors I was hearing throughout the week," ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke said, "I thought we were going to get a bye. I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time, I think it's good for us that we don't take all that time off, maybe get a little rusty. I think it's good that we're playing Norfolk State and can get back into it."
On the surface, ODU-Norfolk State is an attractive matchup between the Monarchs' high-powered spread offense and the Spartans' nationally-ranked defense.
ODU leads the CAA in scoring offense (35.8 ppg) and is in the top 22 nationally in total offense (433.2 ypg) and pass offense (262.4 ypg). Norfolk State is third nationally in total defense (266 ypg), fourth in scoring defense (15.4 ppg) and 11th in pass defense (167.5 ypg).
New Hampshire made the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year, the longest active streak in FCS. CAA teams have won four of the past eight national championships and played for the title seven of the last eight years.
MEAC teams are 0-13 in the playoffs since 2000. The MEAC's last playoff wins came in 1999, when Florida A&M reached the semifinals and North Carolina A&T won a first-round game.
Wilder had lobbied for ODU to receive a first-round bye, based on the Monarchs' body of work and the conference in which it competed. If he was at all disappointed, it didn't show Sunday morning.
"What I'm most excited about," Wilder said, "and I told our team this, this morning before we came over (to the Constant Center). I said, guys, it doesn't matter who we play or where we play. We're one of 20 teams that has an opprortunity to win the national championship and that's what matters most."
* ODU football season ticket holders have Sunday and Monday through 5 p.m. to order tickets for the game, in or near their current seats. Ticket holders can log on to www.coxtix.com and go to the ODU football site to order tickets, using their account information, or call 757-683-4444 Sunday, Nov. 20, through 5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Members of the ODU football waiting list will receive access to purchase tickets for the game, also online, beginning at 6 p.m. tomorrow night (Monday, Nov. 21) through Tuesday at 9:59 a.m.
Tickets will be available for the general public to purchase on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. at www.coxtix.com, or by calling 1-888-3COXTIX.