D2 Football Home
D2 Football News
D2 Football News
D2 Football Video
D2 Football Columnists
D2 Football Scores
D2 Football Top 25 Poll
D2 Football Player Awards
D2 Football Regional Rankings
D2 Football Statistics
D2 Football All Americans
D2 Football Pro Hopefuls
D2 Football Information
D2 Football Teams
D2 Football Champions
D2 Football Championship Game
D2 Football Harlon Hill
D2 Football Stadiums
D2 Football Alumni
D2 Football Interactive
D2 Football Message Board
D2 Football Chat
D2 Football Coaches
D2 Football Coaching Vacancies
D2 Football Schedule Openings
D2 Football About Us
D2 Football Advertise
D2 Football Staff
D2 Football Contact Us



The first set of regional rankings was announced on Monday. You can access them by clicking the link on the left side of our home page.

I normally tell people each year not to read too much into what you see in the initial rankings because there is still a great deal of football to be played and things are sure to change.

But the rankings in Super Region Three caught my eye this week. There are three 8-0 teams in the region- Northwest Missouri State, Harding and Sioux Falls. Since all three teams play in conferences with insular scheduling, most of the required criteria that can be used are identical. For example, it is impossible to have any common opponents and in-region and overall D2 records are the same. (You can view the criteria for yourself by visiting page 18 at this link.)

The only required criteria that can be used for a comparison is the strength of schedule calculation. I will not bore you with the details of how the NCAA arrives at the calculation, but suffice it to say that USF has a much higher SOS than either NWMSU or Harding. There are also secondary criteria that the Regional Advisory Committees can use. At best they could be considered a wash, but if anything slightly benefit USF. These calculations are public on the NCAA website and can be viewed here by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the region you want to see.

When you consider that the criteria heavily favor USF, it is surprising to me that the SR3 Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) chose to rank Northwest Missouri first in the initial regional rankings. It certainly feels like Northwest is being given the benefit of the doubt because of the fact that they are the defending national champions and the top-ranked team again this year.

However, the other three regions do not appear to be operating this way. If they were, then Shepherd would be getting the nod as the top team in SR1 instead of currently sitting third. I am guessing that what the SR3 Committee is doing is choosing to disregard what the stated criteria are telling them because of insular scheduling.

The other problem I have in this region is with Azusa Pacific being ranked behind Emporia State. Both teams have the same overall and D2 record, but APU a much higher SOS. The RAC seems to be rewarding ESU for the fact that the Hornets have an additional in-region win. APU has played a very good non-conference schedule but they do not have the option of playing many in-region non-conference games because of the insular scheduling that the MIAA, GAC and NSIC employ. Is not this a case of rewarding the insular scheduling that is bad for all of D2 football?!? It does not make sense.

For the record, I believe Northwest Missouri is the best team in the country and they would beat any other D2 team no matter where the game is played. And in all actuality I would prefer to have the regional rankings being done a bit more like they seem to be in SR3 this year, where the eye test and a little common sense are used.

But the problem I have is that this is not the system we have in place. If the NCAA states that they have a certain set of criteria but then those criteria are ignored in some instances, then the whole system fails. I will be very interested to see how the rankings play out in SR3 over the next few weeks.

Devastating Loss for Tuskegee

The Golden Tigers (6-1) had both a PAT and 18-yard field goal attempt blocked in the last 1:25 in a shocking 10-9 homecoming loss to Kentucky State. The Thoroughbreds came into the game with just 3% chance of winning according to Massey Predictions and were able to come out victorious despite recording just six first downs.

Adding an additional layer of pain for Tuskegee is that the loss eliminates the Golden Tigers in the SIAC West Division race and puts Kentucky State (4-4) into the league title game on November 12th.

But wait, it gets even worse for the Golden Tigers. Since they will not be qualifying for the SIAC title game, they will finish the season with just nine regular season games which is below the threshold of ten required to qualify for the NCAA playoffs. Unless Tuskegee can find another opponent to play on November 12th or get a waiver approved by the NCAA, the Golden Tigers will not qualify for the postseason even though they are likely to finish with just one loss. Ouch.

News and Notes

-The NCAA did announce last week that North Alabama has been given a playoff waiver stemming from the canceled game with Florida Tech earlier this month due to Hurricane Matthew. The Lions will finish the regular season with just nine games.

-The incredible turnaround for Edinboro (7-1) continued last week with a heart stopping 37-35 win over two-time defending PSAC champion Slippery Rock. The Scots drove 73 yards in just 52 seconds, with a Jake Sisson to James Clark touchdown pass on an untimed down after the clock had expired providing the winning points. Edinboro was granted the final play after The Rock was called for pass interference in the end zone on the previous play.

-Not many teams can successfully employ a two-quarterback system, but Valdosta State (6-1) has pulled it off this year. Roland Rivers (1243 passing yards, 252 rushing yards, 16 total touchdowns) gives the Blazers a little more athleticism and running ability while Adam Robles (1056 passing yards, 9 TD passes, just one interception in 145 attempts) is the better pure passer. The Blazers have averaged 44.8 points over their last five games.

-When is the last time a Pittsburg State team was outrushed by its opponents over the course of the season? I was able to research and verify back to the year 2000, and with how good the program was in the 80*s and 90*s, probably long before that. Right now PSU averages 163 yards per game and gives up 170. The Gorillas were out-gained 228-51 in a 41-36 loss to Emporia State last week.

-Despite allowing 47 points and 504 yards of offense, Minnesota-Duluth was able to hold off Bemidji State 54-47. The win puts the Bulldogs (7-1) in the driver*s seat in the NSIC North Division. UMD is in this position despite allowing 33 points and 406 yards per game and a shockingly bad 6.9 yards per play to the opposition. The defensive numbers would be even worse if the Bulldogs did not lead the nation in time of possession at over 38 minutes per game.

Top Games this Week

Notre Dame (7-1) at Fairmont State (8-0)
This is a huge game in the MEC as the winner may have an inside track on a playoff berth. As I mentioned last week, FSU is having its best season since the 60*s. This is only the seventh season of the NDC programs so both schools are in some uncharted territory. I like the Falcons in this one because of their defense. They allow just 287 yards per game and have forced a remarkable 25 turnovers. NDC quarterback Malik Grove is a playmaker with both his arm and feet but I think the Falcons contain him enough to with the game. Fairmont State 30 Notre Dame 24

Sioux Falls (8-0) at Minnesota State (6-2)
Since joining the NSIC in 2012, USF has beaten every other team in the conference with the exception of the Mavericks. The Cougars are 0-4 against MSU and have not come closer than 13 points. I think that changes on Saturday, however. The Cougars have the third best offense in the country in terms of total yards and the Mavericks do not have the same dominant defense they have been known for the past few years. MSU quarterback Nick Pieruccini will likely do enough to keep the Mavericks in it, but I think that the powerful USF rushing attack led by quarterback Luke Papilion and running back Max Mickey will prevail. Sioux Falls 37 Minnesota State 31

Fort Hays State (6-2) at Emporia State (7-1)
The secret to the success of both of these teams is turnover margin. ESU at +15 and FHSU at +10 are two of the better teams in the country in this area. Neither team really overwhelms its opponents on either side of the ball so it stands to reason that this will be a close game that does indeed come down to which team can play mistake free football. ESU has the home field advantage so I will go with the Hornets. Emporia State 30 Fort Hays State 28

Wayne State (7-1) at Ferris State (6-2)
The Warriors surprised everyone when they reached the 2011 national championship game, but the program has not done all that much since then. On paper these two teams are fairly evenly matched, but I will give the edge to WSU because of the presence of Romello Brown (1159 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns), who is edging his way into Harlon Hill consideration. Wayne State 30 Ferris State 27

Valdosta State (6-1) at Florida Tech (5-2)
As I mentioned earlier, the Blazers have been red hot offensively over the past few weeks. FIT has the top offense in the GSC, so this has the potential makings of a shootout. However, FIT has had some major problems with turnovers this year, particularly in the big games. They lost four fumbles last week in their loss to West Alabama and have 20 turnovers total for the year. If the Panthers can hold onto the football I think they have an edge in talent, but the Blazers defense is very opportunistic. Valdosta State 45 Florida Tech 39

Central Washington (5-2) at Azusa Pacific (7-1)
APU won at CWU 27-17 when these two teams met in mid-September. It was a very close came throughout with the Cougars scoring 14 points in the final 4:02 of the game to pull away for the win. Both of these teams have tough run defenses, but APU has intercepted 18 passes this season, including three in the first meeting with the Wildcats. I think this once again gives the Cougars a slight advantage. Azusa Pacific 24 Central Washington 20


[Q] Bob, I live in Maryville and I*m always reading stories and blogs saying that Northwest Missouri State needs to be in a different division. I think they*re right where they need to be after all of the hard work and dedication they*ve done. What is your opinion?

[A] Even though Northwest is currently dominating in football, D2 is the right place for the school to be. I think Northwest could be successful in FCS football, but it would be difficult to maintain success throughout the rest of the athletic by moving up a division. When you look at the size, location and role of the school in higher education, D2 is a perfect fit.


Feel free to contact me at with any comments or criticisms or if you have a question you would like answered in the Mailbag.



S1 Copyright © 2000-2012 D2Football.com. All rights reserved.