By James D. Horne, CSN Inside the OVC Columnist
Most of the teams in the OVC have two conference games left and with the playoffs just three weeks away, the league has to start wondering whether it will get two teams in the playoffs after just one was invited last season.
The biggest problem for the OVC is any team that could finish in second place will have at least two losses and possibly three. But league coaches say OVC play is rigorous enough that it deserves two teams.
By Myron Hosea, CSN So South Columnist
As expected, the Southern Conference title will be decided in the late-season clash between Appalachian State and Elon after both teams won Saturday to advance to 6-0 in the league.
The defending SoCon champion Mountaineers will travel to Elon to face the Phoenix in a battle of top 10 teams. Last year in the snow in Boone, Appalachian State won 24-16. This year’s game should be just as exciting. The two teams boast experienced playmakers on both sides of the ball, one of the chief advantages they’ve held over the rest of the league this year.
The Gridiron Power Index (GPI), the index ranking for the NCAA Division I FCS and a top indicator of at-large playoff selection continues with a new leader. Villanova takes the top spot.
The Colonial Athletic Association, the largest league in the FCS has seven teams in the top 25; the Big Sky Conference has five; the Missouri Valley Football Conference has three; the Ohio Valley, Southern, and Southland Conferences plus the Patriot League have two each; and the Big South and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conferences have one each. (Games through 11/9/09)
Lafayette quarterback Rob Curley, Butler quarterback Andrew Huck, Coastal Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, and Illinois State kicker Zach Kutch are the recipients of the Football Championship Subdivision honors from College Sporting News for the week ending November 8, 2009.
Southern Illinois clinched the Missouri Valley autobid as well as Montana notching at least a share of their 12th straight Big Sky Conference title, The #1 team fell, several conference races were clarified, and Elon’s Terrell Hudgins moved past the legendary Jerry Rice as the FCS all-time leader in receiving yards.
by Rich Mies, CSN Mapping the MIAC Columnist
On an Indian summer day with temperature in the 60s, Saint John’s went inside the HHH Metrodome to wrap up the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III playoffs. They scored a 28-7 win over Augsburg, assuring them of at least a tie for the conference crown. St. Thomas kept pace with a 19-10 win over Bethel, keeping UST on the inside track for a Pool C berth in the playoffs. Elsewhere, Concordia toppled Carleton, 31-16, and St. Olaf downed Gustavus, 20-7. Hamline stepped out of league play and retained the Paint Bucket with a 38-6 win over Macalester.
By Chuck Burton, The CSN Way Columnist
Before this weekend, the playoff race was, to say the least, muddied. No fewer than six CAA teams were still legitimately in the hunt for playoff spots. The Big Sky race, Montana’s to lose, still had one daunting opponent left that could knock the Grizzlies from the Big Sky title. And Appalachian State still had to play Furman - a rivalry with a history of craziness - that could have derailed the Mountaineers’ hopes for a SoCon title and return to the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Unlike this impressionist picture, however, the FCS playoffs after a weekend of games has looked much clearer. Two big wins brought two familiar faces - Montana and Appalachian State - a big step closer to playoff season. And a rash of upsets gave a new era of at-large teams new life in their playoff aspirations.
For the first time this year, there is clarity in the playoff picture. This week, we go through the games that brought us here and a conference-by-conference analysis of who’s still alive in the playoff hunt.