PSAC First Round Playoffs Preview
November 21st, 2019 6:00pm
PSAC Playoff Opening Weekend
The NCAA D2 Football playoffs open this weekend and the PSAC West and especially the PSAC overall is very well represented. In Super Region 1, two of the seven teams including top seeded and undeated Slippery Rock reside in the PSAC West and IUP the #4 seed IUP. From the East side of the league Kutztown, West Chester and Shepherd all made the playoff bracket.
2019 Super Regional 1 Playoff field:
- Slippery Rock
- Notre Dame
- West Chester
All of the opening round matchups are set for a noon kickoff on Saturday November 23rd. All games will be played at the higher ranked teams. Notre Dame is the defending regional Champion and are once again a contender to repeat as Region Champions.
Six of the seven teams in the Regional Playoff teams are ranked in this week’s D2football.com poll. Slippery Rock comes in at #8, Notre Dame #15, IUP #16, Kutztown #18 and Shepherd at #25.
Opening Round Matchups
#7 Tiffin (9-1) at #2 Kutztown ( 10-1)
#6 West Chester (9-2) at #3 Notre Dame (10-1)
#5 Shepherd (9-2) at #4 IUP (10-1)
#7 Tiffin (9-1) ( GMAC Champions) at #2 Kutztown (10-1) ( PSAC East Champions)
- The Golden Bears of Kutztown will look to rebound after coming up short in an instant classic to Slippery Rock in the PSAC Championship Game last Saturday 35-37. Tiffin the Champions of the GMAC will be making the trip across Pennsylvania to carry the flag for the entire league. The GMAC is still looking to gain respect as a whole. Tiffin played close games with Findlay and Hillsdale down the stretch and come in battle tested. Kutztown will play to rebound after last week and will lean on strong offense and out score Tiffin. This is a tough matchup to call as these are two Champions who will look to continue on this season. The pick Kutztown 37 Tiffin 34
#6 West Chester (9-2) at #3 Notre Dame (10-1) (MEC Champions)
- West Chester has struggled at times and had to survive a two point conversion attempt after time expired to defeat Cal U last week and secure a playoff position. Notre Dame the Champions of the Mountain East dropped their first league game in two seasons this year when Glenville came into North Euclid, Ohio and knocked off the Falcons in overtime. Coach Jacobs has built a great program at NDC and will be a very tough test for the Golden Rams of West Chester. West Chester has been a solid team in all phases of the game all season. Against inferior completion NDC has rolled up high point totals but in their two closest games with Findlay and Glenville were held 25 points. If West Chester can contain the NDC rushing attack they have a chance to keep this game close. Notre Dame College is a better team, but the battle tested Golden Rams will make this a game for sixty minutes. The pick Notre Dame 31 West Chester 27
#5 Shepherd (9-2) at #4 IUP (9-2)
- The only matchup involving a PSAC West team this weekend kicks off from Indiana Pa this Saturday. The Crimson Hawks will welcome PSAC newcomer Shepherd in the opening round of the playoffs. The winner of this matchup will travel to Slippery Rock to play the PSAC Champions next weekend. This is a matchup of the number two and number three offenses in the PSAC, each team scoring over forty points per game. IUP does have the number one ranked scoring and overall defense in the league and will look to lean on that strong side of the ball. These two teams come into this week as two of four most penalized teams in the PSAC, both with over ninety yards per game. If either team can control themselves and not hurt themselves with penalties they will have a strong upper hand. This will be the fifth times these two programs have met in the playoffs with Shepherd leading the playoff matchup series 3-1. These are two of the top programs in Super Region 1 and both expect to be playing in these games each season. This is Shepherd head coach Ernie McCook’s first postseason as the head coach at Shepherd. If IUP can continue to run the ball as they have second half of the season the Crimson Hawks will have a date with Slippery Rock next week. The pick IUP 40 Shepherd 33
The NCAA tries to start the regional matchups at the same time to try and keep the weather even across the board for each of the games. The noon kickoff this week could lead to a wet game for the two western games at NDC and IUP; early weather forecasts are calling for a cool wet day on Saturday.
I think this is an open region for all seven of the teams, the week off could help Slippery Rock to recover it could also slow the momentum of winning the PSAC title.
After the playoffs we will look back at the 2019 season and take a look at the coaching fallout as two schools in the PSAC have made coaching changes. Gannon has already hired a new head coach and just today Edinboro has parted ways will Wayne Bradford. We will breakdown each team’s season and look at the coaching changes around the league.
Follow along on twitter @zimpson_d2 for updates on game day and throughout the week.