SPARTANBURG -- Wofford had its regular Monday off from football practice, treating this just like any other week.
But it's not just like any other week. It's playoff week.
The Terriers are in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision postseason and at noon on Saturday, they will kick it off at Jacksonville State in Alabama for a second-round showdown between teams ranked in the top 10. Wofford (9-2) is seventh in The Sports Network poll with a vote for first. Jacksonville State (9-2) is right behind at eighth with four votes for first.
Both teams received opening-round byes last week as the 20-team tournament started with four games. The winner goes to No. 2 overall seed William & Mary or gets a home game against Georgia Southern, if the Eagles pull off the upset.
Wofford players were off Wednesday through Friday last week for the Thanksgiving holiday. It came as a welcome break for a team that had its bye week long ago before the 7-1 run to a Southern Conference championship.
"I think we had a chance to sit back and put in perspective that there are only 16 teams left," Wofford junior quarterback Mitch Allen said. "It's pretty exciting when you think about it. We have quite an opportunity ahead of us. … It's something not many people can say they've been a part of. To be able to compete in the playoffs is something special."
Wofford made the FCS playoffs for the third time in four years. The Terriers lost to James Madison in 2008, beat Montana and lost to Richmond in 2007 and also made it to the national semifinals in 2003, getting past North Carolina A&T and defending champion Western Kentucky before losing to rising champion Delaware.
"We're excited about being able to play," Wofford head coach Mike Ayers said. "Overall, as the week goes on, we'll probably see the intensity ratcheted up a little bit. It's the best of the best. It's going to be challenging. Playing on the road makes it even more difficult. But we're in. Once you get in, anything can happen."
Jacksonville State is making its third playoff appearance since 2003 and the 13th overall. The Gamecocks did lose two of their final three games, including to Southeast Missouri State in the Ohio Valley Conference championship, but won eight straight and pulled a stunner in the season opener by knocking off Mississippi.
Gamecocks head coach Jack Crowe is a former offensive coordinator at Clemson (1986-88) as well as Auburn, Arkansas, Baylor and Wyoming. He was head coach at Arkansas for three seasons before coming to Jacksonville State in 2000. The Gamecocks are 25-7 in the last three years.
Wofford has met Jacksonville twice, but not for almost two decades. The Terriers lost, 21-7, at Snyder Field in 1990 and 51-7 in 1991 when they were in Division II.
Coming off a rare losing season, the first since 2001, Wofford dropped the season opener to Ohio University, needed a fourth-quarter rally to slip past Charleston Southern and then took an expected easy win against NAIA Union (Ky.) College. The Terriers had an open date to regroup, reeled off six straight Southern Conference wins, lost to Appalachian State and then rebounded against Chattanooga, 45-14, in the regular season finale to claim a share of the league title.
"For us to do what we want to do," Ayers said, "we have to play as well or better than we played against Chattanooga. We've got to have it all together."