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 Continue reading