Imagine living in a world where playoffs determined the national champion in college football. Well you are in luck because you do!
Sixteen teams in Division 3 and sixteen more in Division 2 will begin their playoff quests this weekend. Division 2 playoffs actually have 24 teams, with the top eight teams, two in each Super Region, receiving a bye week this weekend. The ultimate destinations for both divisions will be tough to reach but an opportunity to play in Florence, Alabama (Division 2 championship site) or Salem, Virginia (Division 3) will be the reward for two schools in each division.
Here are a couple things for the casual college football fan to watch in each playoff bracket.
Dynasties made for Rivalry
For those who are not familiar with Division 3 football it can be hard to imagine reaching the championship game five straight years. But try to fathom two teams accomplishing the same feat! That is just what University of Wisconsin Whitewater and Mount Union have done.
These teams have battled each other for the past five Division 3 championships in the Stagg Bowl. Can they make it a sixth consecutive championship game match-up? Mount Union is set up nicely to make a run to the semi finals but even the folks at D3football.com are not ready to send them to the championship game.
“We have never said anything less than “all the way” for the Purple Raiders. The bracket gives them a potential semifinal challenge, however, and there’s a chance this won’t be the color of purple in Salem.”
What about UW Whitewater? There seems to be much less concern about how far they can go. A team profile for the Warhawks says they can go “All the way.”
Can PSAC squad get over hump?
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference has some good teams but for as big as the conference is (sixteen schools) it has been a while since one of their programs was recognized as the national champion. The last PSAC school to play for the national championship was Bloomsburg, who lost to Delta State 63-34.
Could this be the year a PSAC school wins the national championship? They have four teams in the playoffs but two of them will face off this weekend. California University of Pennsylvania will host Bloomsburg in what may be the best first-round match-up of the weekend. Two PSAC schools have bye weeks in the first round, Kutztown, the top seed in Super Region 1, and Mercyhurst, the PSAC football champions for 2010.
Don’t sleep on these schools
The Division 2 playoffs have some familiar names playing this weekend as well. Defending Division 2 champion Northwest Missouri State opens their playoff run at home against sixth seed Missouri Western. If the Bearcats advance to the second round then watch-out. They have the talent and experience to make a run in Super Region 4. The Bearcats have played in the past five Division 2 championship games.
In super Region 3 the school that nobody ever wants to play is Grand Valley State. The Lakers, winners of four national championships since 2002 and last year’s runner-up, look to have a pretty easy match-up in the opening round, hosting Colorado Mines. If Grand Valley State meets up with top seed Minnesota Duluth the Lakers may be able to take advantage of the Bulldogs being without one of their top players, Isaac Odim, who is out for the year.
FCS playoffs begin next weekend
On Sunday the schools competing in the FCS playoffs will be announced. Those playoffs are scheduled to begin Saturday, November 27.