Drake will be in search of a third straight league title this season and if the Bulldogs get it there will be a brand new reward. For the first time the Pioneer Football League champion will earn an automatic bid to the FCS national playoffs.

“We don’t feel any differently about ourselves, the perception hasn’t changed in that way. I do think for those who are confused about where Drake sits in Division One Athletics, in terms of football, it does shed some light, it firmly plants us in that football championship subdivision,” coach Chris Creighton says.

Creighton says they’ve always been proud to explain that they are part of the subdivision championship just like the Ivy League as they don’t give scholarships. Creighton says it will help add credibility to the PFL. “I think it is something that will take a couple of years, but when the PFL team is representing in the playoffs, more and more people will become familiar with the brand if you will the level of play. I think it is huge for the Pioneer Football League,” Creighton says.

Senior defensive end Brandon Coleman says he would love to end his Drake career in the playoffs as he says it would cap off their careers.

Coleman says the opportunity to qualify for the playoffs has provided added motivation. “it gets guys excited, it get’s recruits coming in excited,” Coleman says. He says they want to be able to play the best of the best at their level and it is exciting for the team to have a chance to do that.

Drake opens August 29th against Grand View.