Well here we are, the entire season has built up to these playoffs. For seniors every game could be their last one. For coaches this is their shot to make a statement about their team and their ability. For lower seeded teams this is a chance to show the selection committee that they made a mistake by pulling off a big upset. This is the time where every game, every snap, and every call could make or break a season.
On Sunday the brackets for both the Division II and Division III subdivisions were announced via an online NCAA stream as opposed to being on one of the ESPN affiliates as they were in previous years. Allow me to first address that as I found the stream to be good for the purposes of getting the teams out and providing some very loose stats. However the presentation was a bit sloppy and unless you’re familiar with the way the brackets look it could be very confusing. Also the lack of analysis and discussion by a panel of people ESPN brings in was sorely missing for this small school football fan.
Now onto the actual brackets themselves and let’s start with Division II. You can find their bracket here and for the most part I think the committee and the math got it right. I do however have a big snub and a few questions for the committee. The big snub comes from Super Region 2 where despite losing to a team barely over .500 on Saturday in their conference title game, Albany State still got into the playoffs. In my opinion the team to bring in from the SIAC after Albany State lost was Morehouse. Morehouse destroyed Miles earlier in the year and only lost one region game to Albany State. Albany State however had three region losses to Valdosta State, Lane, and Miles none of whom made the playoffs. Morehouse effectively got hurt by the SIAC title game and it’s a travesty.
Now some of the other questions I have and I’m sure some teams are wondering the same, like I’m sure New Haven is wondering what they did to lose their No. 1 seed in Super Region 1 to Winston-Salem State. That’s not to say the Rams don’t deserve it because they do, but New Haven went undefeated just as Winston-Salem did. New Haven was No. 1 in every Regional Ranking until the final one yet they got jumped.
Also I’m pretty sure Bloomsburg feels a little left out after they missed the playoffs so that a second CIAA team could get in. Elizabeth City State was the benefactor of that decision and I have to say it couldn’t make me happier. They’ll travel to California (Pa.) next weekend and could be a trendy upset pick.
It’s a bit too early to make a National Championship pick but if I had to guess a Super Region I would say that I think that Super Region 4 has the best chance of producing the National Champion this year.
On to Division III where the only question the main stream media will ask is, ‘can anybody beat Mount Union or UW-Whitewater?’ While that question is valid, it’s also a slap in the face to the other 30 teams in the playoffs. There are a number of other story lines to follow in these playoffs and that’s why you have me to tell you about them.
For instance how about the fact that of the 32 teams in the playoffs, 25 have suffered one loss or fewer this season? There are 10 undefeated teams entering these playoffs and another 15 who have suffered only one loss. With a division as big as Division III there are always going to be some teams who have an easy path to the playoffs, but to have 78 percent of your teams with so few losses gives new meaning to the term “cream of the crop.”
To get back to the question of if somebody can break the streak held Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater, my answer is simple and its yes.
However to find out who I think can break the streak you’ll need to check back later this week as I breakdown every game in the Division II and Division III playoffs.
That's what you work all season for, to get into the playoff games, and you don't want to blow it.