Football, Men’s Water Polo Advance to NCAAs

Water polo team, group photo
The UC Davis men’s water polo team after winning the Western Water Polo Association tournament at the Schaal Aquatics Center Sunday (Nov. 21). (Leroy Yau//UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Water polo wins conference title, plays in NCAA tourney next week
  • Football team receives an at-large berth in NCAA’s FCS tournament
  • Saturday: Aggies at South Dakota State in 1st round of FCS playoffs
  • Plus basketball: Causeway Classic x 2 and other games this week

Two Aggie teams, football and men’s water polo, are headed to postseason competition for national championships.


  • FOOTBALL: UC Davis vs. South Dakota State in the NCAA’s FCS tournament
  • WHEN: noon PST Saturday, Nov. 27
  • WHERE: Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, South Dakota State, Brookings
  • LISTEN: Sports 1140 KHTK


  • MEN’S WATER POLO: UC Davis vs. Long Beach State in the NCAA tournament
  • WHEN: noon Thursday, Dec. 2 (semifinal games Dec. 4 and championship match Dec. 5)
  • WHERE: Spieker Aquatics Center, UCLA
  • WATCH: Semifinals and championship match will be streamed live on


CAUSEWAY CLASSIC BASKETBALL x 2: Men’s and women’s games tonight (Nov. 23) at the Golden 1 Center. See below.

The water polo team, which competes in the Western Water Polo Association, won the regular-season title with a 7-1 record and, over the weekend, won the WWPA tournament at UC Davis’ Schaal Aquatics Center to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournament.

In the WWPA title game Sunday (Nov. 21), the top-seeded Aggies defeated defending champion and No. 2 seed California Baptist, 14-9.

UC Davis (18-8 overall) will open NCAA tournament play against Long Beach State (22-5), champion of the Golden State Conference, at noon Thursday, Dec. 2, at UCLA. This will be the Aggies’ eighth appearance in the NCAAs.

The seven-team tournament — including Cal, UCLA and USC — will continue at UCLA through Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5. The winner of the UC Davis-Long Beach State game will take on USC in a semifinal game at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and the championship match is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.

The Aggie football team finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big Sky Conference, but UC Davis’ record (5-3 in conference, 8-3 overall) was strong enough for an at-large berth in the NCAA’s 24-team tournament in the Football Championship Subdivision, or FCS. (Other Division I schools compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision.)

The Ags will play South Dakota State in Round 1 this Saturday (Nov. 27), at South Dakota State in Brookings. The Jackrabbits finished their regular season in a tie for third place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, with win-loss numbers identical to what the Aggies achieved: 5-3 in conference, 8-3 overall.

UC Davis is making its second appearance in the FCS playoffs in the university’s Division I era and 21st postseason appearance across all divisions. In the FCS playoffs in 2018, the Aggies opened with a win at home over Northern Iowa, then fell in the quarterfinals to Eastern Washington.

Five Big Sky schools made it into this year’s FCS tournament, including Sacramento State, winner of the conference title with an 8-0 record. The Hornets’ last win came Saturday (Nov. 20) at UC Davis Health Stadium, a 27-7 victory over the Aggies in the 67th Causeway Classic.

Holiday dinner before football

Thanksgiving, of course, comes between now and the Aggies’ game at South Dakota State. “Local” Aggie players are expected to spend the holiday locally, with family and friends; position coaches will host their players who come from farther away. “Everyone will have a spot to go,” said Joshua Nash, director of football operations.

Friday morning, the team will fly to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and then travel on to Brookings for Saturday's game against the Jackrabbits, kickoff at noon PST.

And wouldn’t you know it, guess who the winner will face in Round 2? The No. 4 seed, Sacramento State, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Hornet Stadium.


  • TONIGHT (NOV. 23) — 2 Causeway Classics at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center: UC Davis vs. Sacramento State, women’s game at 5 p.m., men’s game at 7:30. Tickets are available here (one ticket good for both games).
  • FRIDAY (NOV. 26) — Women vs. Weber State, 12:30 p.m., University Credit Union Center. Tickets.
  • SUNDAY (NOV. 28) — Men vs. Academy of Art, 2 p.m., University Credit Union Center. Tickets.


Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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