With one DI-A game this weekend various sorts of playoffs, I figured I would go ahead and write up a post for this weekend. I’m just going to do a cursory overview of most of these games, because above all I really just want you to watch them. People say this weekend is dead-football wise and I couldn’t agree less. I think one of my favorite games last year was the Appalachian State-Montana playoff game, and that’s what’s great here: a real, honest-to-goodness playoff.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
8:00: New Hampshire @ Delaware (ESPN2): We’ll start with a pair of DI-AA quarterfinals (the other two won’t be televised). This particular match features a pair of CAA rivals that did not play this past season. The quick overview here is that UNH has 3 DI-AA losses on the year, which Delware only has two, and those two were narrow losses to fellow conference foes (and tournament teams) Villanova and conference champ William & Mary.
Noon: Villanova @ Appalachian State (ESPN): Speaking of the Wildcats, here’s probably the DI-AA team most people have heard of: Appy State. I was hoping there’d be some snow for this game, but maybe better luck next round as the high in Boone, NC will projected to be a balmy 43 degrees Saturday. Anyway, while the Mountaineers are the #1 seed in the tournament both teams are coming off blowouts of their competition from the previous round. I would expected a pretty decent game here.
- Alabama State vs. Texas Southern (SWAC Championship @ Birmingham, AL; ESPN Classic): Again, I’m not sure why the SWAC plays a championship game. Okay, I actually do know why (it’s tradition) but in the process they forfeit their bid to the playoffs, making them and the Ivy League the only conferences to do so.
- Delta State @ Shepard (CBSCS): Yes, that’s right, it’d Division II semifinal action, only on CBS College Sports! Catch the fever!
2:30: Navy vs. Army (@Philadelphia, PA; CBS): Army has to come into this year’s edition more optimistic than ever. This is the first year since 1996 they’ve qualified for a bowl, and it’s the first time in forever that Navy isn’t playing to clinch the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy (as Air Force already has). Oh, another fun fact: this is also the first time ever all three academies have qualified for a bowl in the same year. (Note that the Air Force Academy has only existed, in football terms, since 1957.) At any rate, I still have to favor Navy here, statistically and subjectively they still appear to be the better team.
6:00: Minnesota-Duluth @ Northwest Missouri State (CBSCS): More DII action! Hey, it’s still college football, and in the end, that’s all that really matters, right?
Also, recommended viewing Saturday night is ESPN’s last “30 for 30” feature, Pony Excess, detailing the pay-for-play scandal that lasted the better part of the 80’s at SMU. I haven’t seen it, of course, but I suspect that there will be even more people wondering how Craig James is still employed at ESPN afterward.