November 13th, 2019 8:00pm
The second regional rankings were released Monday afternoon. Here is what they looked like:
DII Weighted OWP-OOWP
DII Record on Road
DII Results vs .500 or better
Northwest Mo. St.
Grand Valley St.
Remaining games for each team:
at Northwest Missouri (9-1)
Henderson St. (9-1)
at Ark. Tech (3-7)
Lake Erie (3-7)
Northwest Mo. St.
Central Missouri (10-0)
at Ouachita Baptist (10-0)
Grand Valley St.
Wayne State. (7-3)
at Southwest Baptist (3-7)
at Lincoln (1-9)
The top three teams in the region are locks to make the playoffs. Harding and UIndy should easily win their regular season finales and are nearly virtual locks for the playoffs. I do not expect enough craziness to happen for Lindenwood, Missouri Western or anyone else to sneak into the top seven. This leaves three teams fighting for two spots. Let’s run through a few of the most likely scenarios:
Scenario #1: Northwest Missouri State, Henderson State and Grand Valley State all win.
I am not sure how the committee would rank the three GAC teams in this case because they would all finish 10-1 with wins against each other and have identical resumes. Northwest Missouri State would jump Central Missouri and get a home playoff game. Grand Valley State would miss the playoffs.
Scenario #2: Northwest Missouri State and Grand Valley State win, Henderson State loses.
Northwest Missouri State will again jump Central Missouri and get a home playoff game. Grand Valley State jumps Henderson State for the seven seed.
Scenario #3: Grand Valley State wins, Northwest Missouri State and Henderson State lose.
The Lakers could jump to the six seed. The Bearcats would take the seven seed. I could see the committee have Central Missouri jump Ferris State for the number one seed because of the extra win. I doubt it though because Ferris State’s strength of schedule would be more higher than Central Missouri’s. If Ferris State stays at number one, I could see the committee keeping Northwest Missouri at six to avoid the first round rematch between the Bearcats and Mules. This could obviously change with the new travel rule for the five, six and seven seeds.
Scenario #4: Henderson State and Grand Valley State win, Northwest Missouri loses
This scenario puts the most stress on the committee. The committee would have to choose between two blue bloods, both with losses to undefeated conference champions and a loss to a 6-4 team in conference (Ashland and Nebraska-Kearney). As much as I would want to see Northwest Missouri in the playoffs for the 16th straight year, the committee should punish the MIAA for silo scheduling and reward the GLIAC for utilizing out of conference scheduling. Watching the vaunted Bearcats get left of the playoffs might be enough to force the conference back into non-conference games. That being said, I think Northwest Missouri State is better than Grand Valley State and has a slightly better resume.
Week Nine Games
#10 Central Missouri (10-0) at #12 Northwest Missouri State (9-1)
All-time series record: Northwest Missouri State leads 60-35-2
Last year: Northwest Missouri State won 48-21
Central Missouri is absolutely the favorite coming into the showdown in Maryville. After watching both of these teams play both live and online, Central Missouri is more explosive and consistent on offense. The Bearcats do have the better defense and I believe the Bearcats are better at the line of scrimmage. That being said, I cannot trust a depleted Northwest Missouri secondary against Brook Bolles and company.
Northwest Missouri has more advantages but Central Missouri has the most important advantage with reliable quarterback play. Give me the Mules in a fun, high scoring game.
Massy Prediction: Northwest Missouri 41 Central Missouri 38
My Prediction: Central Missouri 45 Northwest Missouri 38
Washburn (5-5) at Nebraska-Kearney (6-4)
All-time series record: Nebraska-Kearney leads 15-12
Last time: Nebraska-Kearney won 17-16
This game has some playoff ramifications. Washburn winning would give Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri State another win against an above .500 team on their resume. But Northwest Missouri State needs Nebraska-Kearney to win to make their loss at Kearney look a little better, but that is only important if Northwest Missouri State loses to Central Missouri and is comparing resumes with Grand Valley State.
Back to the actual game, Nebraska-Kearney is playing their best football of the year. The Lopers rushing attack is averaging 336.7 yards per game. I do not believe the Ichabods can handle the Lopers physicality at the point of attack. Washburn will be able to move the ball through the air against the Lopers and keep it close, but I will take the Lopers in this game.
Massy Prediction: Nebraska-Kearney 31 Washburn 28
My Prediction: Nebraska-Kearney 41 Washburn 31
Central Oklahoma (5-5) at Emporia State (3-7)
All-time series record: Central Oklahoma leads 11-8-1
Last year: Emporia State won 35-28
Again, a Central Oklahoma win would strengthen Central Missouri and Northwest Missouri State’s playoff resume. However, the one thing that troubles me about the Bronchos is that I cannot point at one thing and confidently say “they do this at a high level.” Now I also do not think the Bronchos are particularly weak in any one area either. Emporia State on the other hand is stout on defense but is atrocious on offense. I am going with the strongest unit in this game, the Hornet defense, to lead Emporia State to victory.
Massy Prediction: Central Oklahoma 28 Emporia State 21
My Prediction: Emporia State 24 Central Oklahoma 23
Missouri Southern (2-8) at Pittsburg State (5-5)
All-time series record: Pittsburg State leads 41-9-1
Last year: Pittsburg State won 41-0
The Gorillas are 21-3-1 against the Lions in Pittsburg. Pittsburg State has dominated this series since 1985, going 32-2 in that stretch. Last time Missouri Southern beat the Gorillas was 2013, the Lions won in Pittsburg 35-21. That loss kept Pittsburg State out of the playoffs and propelled Missouri Southern to a seven win season. That was also Missouri Southern’s last winning season. Pittsburg State last season that finished under .500 was 2009.
If Missouri Southern finds a way to pull off the upset, I shudder at the thought of the uproar in Pittsburg. That being said, I think the Lions make too many mental errors to beat the more talented Gorillas.
Massy Prediction: Pittsburg State 45 Missouri Southern 24
My Prediction: Pittsburg State 42 Missouri Southern 38
Missouri Western (8-2) at Lincoln (1-8)
All-time series record: Missouri Western leads 3-0
Last time: Missouri Western won 81-20 in 2011.
The Griffons had looked like the second or third best team in the MIAA over the last two months, until last week. The Griffons were sliced and diced by Nebraksa-Kearney and ended their playoff dreams. I expect Missouri Western to come out firing and take some anger out on the poor Blue Tigers. If the Griffons can contain Hosea Franklin, this game will get ugly in a hurry.
Massy Prediction: Missouri Western 48 Lincoln 7
My Prediction: Missouri Western 59 Lincoln 13
Fort Hays State (7-3) at Northeastern State (0-9)
All-time series record: Fort Hays State leads 5-2
Last year: Fort Hays State won 58-0
This game will not be close. Fort Hays State will throw the ball all over the yard against the hapless Riverhawks. The Tigers might even break 200 yards rushing for the first time this year.
Massy Prediction: Fort Hays State 59 Northeastern State 7
My Prediction: Fort Hays State 59 Northeastern State 0