Well, considering the ongoing revelations from the cesspool few knew Joe Paterno and company were allegedly sitting on at Penn State for several years, the reasons I prefer to cover NAIA sports and the lower divisions of the NCAA were on full display for all to see this week. The NAIA’s  regular season ended yesterday and later today the entire 16 team playoff field will be announced, with the teams awarded At- Large berths joining the Automatic Qualifiers. Three hours after the NAIA reveals their playoff teams the NCAA Division 3 field of 32 teams will be announced. I’ll present my look at the playoff picture as well as examine the NJCAA Bowl breakdown and title game matchup in other posts.

THESE THREE TEAMS RULE THE WORLD – As usual, Saturday saw various NAIA teams kick around NCAA Division 2 teams. The 10th ranked ST FRANCIS (IN) COUGARS crushed the visiting CENTRAL STATE MARAUDERS 59-20, the BACONE WARRIORS defeated D2’s PANHANDLE STATE AGGIES in a 30- 20 home stand, and the CONCORDIA (AL) HORNETS notched a road win against the STILLMAN TIGERS by a score of 12- 7. Each week this season saw at least 1 NAIA team defeat an NCAA D2 team, so when you throw in all the D3 teams that fell to NAIA squads this year you could say they owned the NCAA both on the field and ethically.

NUMBER ONE TAKES A FALL – D2’s number 1 team, the DELTA STATE STATESMEN, were shocked on the road, falling to their Gulf South Conference rivals the WEST GEORGIA WOLVES in a 39- 35 game for the ages.

NEXT STOP – THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – The NJCAA’s top ranked ARIZONA WESTERN COLLEGE MATADORS cemented their berth in the national championship game with their 45-13 rout of the MESA THUNDERBIRDS. The number 2 EAST MISSISSIPPI LIONS ensured they would be the Matadors’ opponents in early December by trashing the 5th ranked MGC BULLDOGS 42- 17.

TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS – None of the NAIA’s Top 5 teams lost yesterday, with the top ranked MARIAN KNIGHTS having  a bye to close out the regular season and with the number 2 CC FIGHTING SAINTS, who are also the defending champions of NAIA football, defeating the MSU- NORTHERN LIGHTS 42- 24, the third ranked GEORGETOWN (KY) TIGERS routing the home standing BELHAVEN BLAZERS 33-7, the number 4 MNU PIONEERS recording a road shutout 37-0 over the EVANGEL CRUSADERS and the 5th ranked (and previous number 1 before falling to Marian) ST XAVIER (IL) COUGARS annihilating the visiting JAMESTOWN  COLLEGE JIMMIES 50- 14.  

TOP 25 UPSETS – NAIA – The 8th ranked WILLIAM PENN STATESMEN were shocked on the road by the GRAND VIEW VIKINGS in a 14-13 Instant Classic   …   The CUMBERLANDS PATRIOTS brought down their archrivals, the 20th ranked CUMBERLAND BULLDOGS in what I call the “S or no S” Bowl. The home team fell 31-27   …   The SOUTHWESTERN MOUNDBUILDERS ended their disappointing 4-7 season with a home win by knocking the 25th ranked BETHANY SWEDES out of the rankings in a 38-30 upset.

TOP 25 UPSETS – NCAA DIVISION 3 – The only upset among ranked teams in D3 yesterday saw the number 25 HAMPDEN- SYDNEY TIGERS falling to the home standing RANDOLPH MACON YELLOW JACKETS by a score of 48-34.

TOP 25 UPSETS – NCAA DIVISION 2 – In addition to Top Ranked Delta State losing, the 6th ranked WASHBURN ICHABODS once again picked the wrong time to lay an egg, falling at home to the CENTRAL MISSOURI MULES by a score of 39- 21   …   The number 15 ALBANY (GA) STATE GOLDEN RAMS were shocked at home 20- 17 by the MILES DRAGONS   …   The 17th ranked WAYNE STATE WARRIORS fell at home in overtime to the unranked FINDLAY OILERS in a 43-42 thriller   …   The number 19 SAGINAW VALLEY CARDINALS were routed 49-24 by the GRAND VALLEY STATE LAKERS, who regained a little of their former dynastic pride to end the season with a win .

NUMBER THREE TAKES A FALL – The SCFA’s 3rd ranked EL CAMINO WARRIORS were upset at home by the number 10 VENTURA PIRATES in a 31-27 gridiron Dan- No- Ura. Yes, I love pompous and thoroughly inappropriate sports analogies, especially when I can drag the Heike into it.

DOWN TO THE WIRE – The automatic playoff bid for the champs of the NAIA’s Central States Football League came down to the final game of the season. The 15th ranked SOUTHERN NAZARENE UNIVERSITY CRIMSON STORM (love that name) won their first CSFL title since 2006 by defeating the visiting number 19 LANGSTON LIONS in a 38-34 Instant Classic.    

NJCAA POST- SEASON PLAY TODAY – Obsessive college football fans can enjoy another round of rare Sunday games today. The number 8 HUTCHINSON BLUE DRAGONS and the 3rd ranked BUTLER (KS) GRIZZLIES clash today in a rematch of last year’s Region VI title bout, the TYLER  APACHES and the defending national champions, the NAVARRO COLLEGE BULLDOGS, square off for their conference title and the LACKAWANNA  FALCONS face the GEORGIA MILITARY COLLEGE BULLDOGS in what amounts to a bowl game for both teams.  

NEFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – The New England Football Conference championship game was played yesterday, with the WESTERN NEW ENGLAND GOLDEN BEARS winning in overtime over the FRAMINGHAM RAMS. The final score was 20-13.  

BRIDGE BOWL XVI – The 16th edition of the Bridge Bowl saw the THOMAS MORE SAINTS take down the home standing MOUNT ST JOSEPH LIONS in a 33-28 Instant Classic. The Saints came into the game ranked 21st in the nation and eagerly await the D3 Playoff Selection special later on today.  

THE BUCKSHOT BRYANT BOWL – Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that the GOLDEN WEST COLLEGE RUSTLERS are the Official College Football Team of Jo Bryant, the Queen of the Rustlers and her blog Chronicles of Illusion. The 9th ranked Rustlers took it on the road yesterday and won an Upset Instant Classic by defeating their archrivals the number 7 COLLEGE OF THE DESERT ROADRUNNERS 30-28. Rustler Sam ends the regular season with a smile on his face, taking down the higher- ranked Roadrunners in their own stadium.

2012 HERE WE COME! – The ST MARY SPIRES, Balladeer’s Blog’s pick as THE improving team to watch headed into the 2012 season, ended their noteworthy 2011 campaign with a 21-16 road victory over the KANSAS  WESLEYAN COYOTES. The NAIA’s Spires end the year with a 6-5 record and a lot of optimism for next year.    

SAINTS SWAT THE BEES – The 13th ranked ST FRANCIS (IL) FIGHTING SAINTS took down the visiting  number 17 team, the ST AMBROSE FIGHTING BEES, by a score of 21-10.

REMEMBER THE GLORY YEARS? – The games between the MONTANA TECH OREDIGGERS and the MONTANA WESTERN BULLDOGS used to be marquee events for all Frontier Conference fans. Yesterday’s neglected edition of this rivalry saw the Orediggers notch an authoritative 34-15 win over the visiting Dawgs.

THE ALL-NAME GAME OF THE WEEK – The final regular season edition of this award goes to the matchup between the COLBY WHITE MULES and the BOWDOIN POLAR BEARS. The home standing Polar Bears won by a score of 20-10.

HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON? – This week’s winner of the Marathon Game of the Week Award is the triple overtime affair between the FAULKNER EAGLES and the UNION (KY) BULLDOGS. The home standing Eagles won 95-89, making this game the winner of this week’s “We Went To A Football Game And A Basketball Game Broke Out” designation as well.

54-7 OR FIGHT – 54-7 was the final score in two games yesterday. The LEBANON VALLEY FLYING DUTCHMEN crushed the KING’S MONARCHS by that score and the LYCOMING WARRIORS routed the FDU- FLORHAM DEVILS by that same margin.

ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE- Various teams that did not have the kind of seasons they had hoped for got to end the 2011 campaign on a high note – the SAN DIEGO MESA OLYMPIANS dismembered the COMPTON COLLEGE TARTARS 53-14, the BAKERSFIELD RENEGADES likewise won on the road, beating the COLLEGE OF THE CANYONS COUGARS 45-35 and the ANTELOPE VALLEY COLLEGE MARAUDERS defeated the visiting CHAFFEY PANTHERS in a 44- 39 Instant Classic. Since all roads lead to bad movies with me I’ll mention that Antelope Valley College was the alma mater of the less-than- effective hero of the J.D. schlocker Teenage Crimewave

THE TRICKY DICK BOWL? – As if the WHITTIER COLLEGE POETS didn’t have it bad enough by being known as the team that Richard Nixon played his college ball for, they’ve come out on the losing end of umpteen nailbiters this season. Yesterday they lost their season finale on the road to the LA VERNE LEOPARDS by a score of 24-20.

UNDER THE RADAR CLASSICS – NAIA – The resurgent NEBRASKA  WESLEYAN PRAIRIE WOLVES ended their season with a home loss, falling to the HASTINGS BRONCOS 17-10   …   The OLIVET  NAZARENE TIGERS defeated the visiting MCKENDREE BEARCATS, a former power in NAIA  football, in a tight 17-13 affair   …   The WALSH CAVALIERS logged a 27-20 road win over the QUINCY HAWKS   …   The TRINITY INTERNATIONAL TROJANS came out on top against the home standing WALDORF  WARRIORS 21-17   …   The PIKEVILLE BEARS fell at home to the KENTUCKY CHRISTIAN KNIGHTS in a 31-28 nailbiter   …   The PERU STATE BOBCATS came out on the losing end of an exciting 26-23 home tussle with the AVILA EAGLES   …   The TRINITY BIBLE COLLEGE LIONS defeated the home standing HASKELL INDIAN NATIONS UNIVERSITY INDIANS by a score of 14-7 and the STERLING KNIGHTS fell at the MCPHERSON BULLDOGS in a 24-17 game.    

UNDER THE RADAR CLASSICS – D3 – The WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON  PRESIDENTS defeated the WAYNESBURG YELLOWJACKETS by a score of 24-21   …   The EAU CLAIRE BLUGOLDS won at the RIVER FALLS FALCONS in a memorable 27-21 clash   …   The MIDDLEBURY PANTHERS ended the season with a 19-17 road win over the TUFTS JUMBOS   …   The ROWAN PROFS fell to their in- state rivals the NEW  JERSEY LIONS in a 7-0 defensive struggle   …   The OBERLIN YEOMEN edged the ALLEGHENY  GATORS by a score of 14-13   …   The MARANATHA BAPTIST  CRUSADERS sealed a winless season for the ROCKFORD REGENTS with a 24-20 home victory   …   The PUGET SOUND LOGGERS fell at home to the WHITWORTH PIRATES by a score of 40-34 and the PACIFIC LUTHERAN LUTES came out on top in a 13-6 nailbiter against the WILLAMETTE BEARCATS.

UNDER THE RADAR CLASSICS – D2 – The EDINBORO FIGHTING SCOTS fell at the EAST STROUDSBURG WARRIORS in a 27-26 game for the ages   …   The STONEHILL SKYHAWKS defeated the ASSUMPTION GREYHOUNDS by a score of 28-23   …   The LAKE ERIE STORM held on at home to beat the ASHLAND EAGLES 45 -42   …   The TARLETON STATE TEXANS defeated the ANGELO STATE RAMS by a score of 28-23 and the NORTHERN MICHIGAN  WILDCATS fell to the MICHIGAN TECH HUSKIES 21-18. 

INSTANT CLASSICS – SCFA – Besides the aforementioned epic between the Golden West College Rustlers and the College of the Desert Roadrunners  yesterday saw the 4th ranked PALOMAR COMETS notch a 34- 31 road win over the number 19 GROSSMONT GRIFFINS   …   The number 11 SANTA ANA DONS fell at home to the ORANGE COAST PIRATES by a score of 25-22   …   The 6th ranked SADDLEBACK GAUCHOS defeated the visiting number 12 FULLERTON HORNETS 44-40 and the GLENDALE VAQUEROS lost at home to the LA SOUTHWEST COUGARS in overtime by a score of 56- 50.            


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  3. And of course over here at Buckshot’s lair there will be…

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  5. Lee

    Go Crimson Storm! I love this site and all the divisions you cover!

  6. Loved your pick of the St Mary Spires to do damage next year! Love it!

  7. Marian University Knights, baby! Class of 08!

  8. I never realized so many NAIA teams beat NCAA teams on a regular basis until I started following your blog. Cool.

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