THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE ROME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – That’s Rome, GA, where the NAIA college football championship game is once again being played. I’ve taken to describing NAIA football as “a league full of Tim Tebows” to help appeal to people who are sick and tired of the cheaters, felons and alleged child- abusers of NCAA Division 1 football. Besides, anyone fed up with the NCAA’s endless power plays and the way it goes after the minnows while letting the sharks roam free should embrace this alternative brand of collegiate athletics.
Today’s championship game finds the Saint Xavier University Cougars making their first- ever appearance in the title matchup. Their opponents, the CC Fighting Saints, are the current ruling dynasty in NAIA football, having won 6 of the last 9 championships, and 4 in a row from 2002 to 2005. SXU hasn’t defeated CC since 2006, when they upset them in their (CC’s) home digs in Helena, MT. Can Coach Mike Feminis and his Cougars pull off another upset here in this neutral venue? Tune in at 4:30 pm Eastern Time on the cable channel called CBS College Sports to find out.
From Rome (albeit in Georgia) we travel to Florence (albeit in Alabama) where even Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Raphael will be looking down at the NCAA Division 2 championship game. The Pittsburg (KS) State Gorillas are hoping to win their 1st gridiron title since 1991. The last time the Gorillas made it to the championship game was in 2004, when they lost to the Valdosta State Blazers. The Wayne State Warriors come in as the ultimate road warriors in D2’s posteason this year, having won all four previous rounds at their opponents’ houses. Not bad for a team whose head coach didn’t even think his boys would make the playoff field until he got the phone call about the Selection Committee’s decision. The Warriors have already taken down the defending champion UMD Bulldogs and hope to ride their Cinderella role to one final victory today. Watch this game with a late breakfast at 11 am Eastern Time on ESPN2.
***D3 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME RESULTS – Last night the Whitewater Warhawks defeated their archrivals the Mount Union Purple Raiders 13-10 in a textbook example of hard-hitting smash- mouth football. The rainfall in Salem, VA, where the game was played, helped make this a beautifully muddy and slogging affair.
Since this was the 7th straight time these 2 powerhouses have played each other in the title game both defensive staffs know the opposing team’s offense better than they know their own families, so it’s no surpise that the score was just 3-0 in favor of Whitewater at halftime. In the 3rd quarter the Warhawks capitalized on a Piloto fumble on the Mt Union 1 yard line and added a touchdown on the very next play to go up 10-0. The Purple Raiders eventually fought their way inside the UWW 5 but had to settle for a field goal, making it a 1 score game at 10-3.
For the exciting finish Whitewater tacked on another field goal followed by Mt Union eventually penetrating the end-zone to pull within 3 points. The teams traded a few possessions with no further scoring, and on their last-chance drive the Purple Raiders converted a 4th and 1, but a few plays later faced 4th and 10 only to call a “Marty Schottenheimer” pass play, picking up only about 6 of the needed yards. The Warhawks then ran out the remaining minute or so of clock, taking their 3rd straight D3 title, winning their 45th game in a row and going up 4-3 on Mt Union in their 7 year monopoly of the Stagg Bowl.