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DII College Games This Week

    

College Men

DII College Games This Week

The Men's DII college leagues begin the march to a national championship in December with this weekend, and everyone will have a tough time catching up with the defending champion Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks.

That's not to say it isn't possible. Previous champs Minnesota-Duluth have been hard at work trying to rebound from failing to make the national final for the first time since 2012. Head Coach Dean Walsh has taken over the team after Jeramy Katchuba had to step back due to family and work commitments. He's had more time to put his stamp on this group and the Fighting Penguins are a major contender once more.

No Northern Lights league games yet, though.

But 2016 national finalists Furman get back on the field after thumping Western Carolina 50-0 in the first week. Furman plays Elon, and Head Coach John Roberts is under no illusions.

"The Southern, I think, can make a valid claim to being the top DII conference," said Roberts pointing to the fact that two difference teams made the national finals, one in 15s (Furman), and one in 7s (UNC-Charlotte). Furman should be solid this year, but having graduated both props, both centers, their No. 8, a flanker, and a wing, they have some work to do to bring it all back.

"We have a few talented newcomers," said Roberts. "If we can get solid front row play and avoid injuries, we should be good again. It remains to be seen if we can get back to the level of last year. The boys came back early this year, and their work attitude has been tremendous so far."

Charlotte is a big contender, too, and played Furman very close last year. As usual, weather is an issue in this region this time of year. Not to belittle the struggles those in the Caribbean and Florida have undergone or will undergo thanks to Hurricane Irma, for this conference, the aftermath of Irma could well affect games next week.

9/2/2017 UNC-C Ppd Elon Southern
9/2/2017 UNC-G 0-28 Appalachian State Southern
9/2/2017 WCU 0-50 Furman Southern
9/2/2017 UNCW 28-0 UNCP Southern
9/2/2017 Coast Ppd ECU Southern
9/2/2017 Citadel Ppd UNC Southern
9/8/2017 UNCP at ECU Southern
9/9/2017 Elon at Furman Southern
9/9/2017 UNC-G at Wake Forest Southern
9/9/2017 WCU at Appalachian State Southern
9/9/2017 UNCP v UNC Southern
9/9/2017 Coastal Carolina v Citadel Southern
9/9/2017 UNCW v College of Charleston Southern

 

In Upstate New York, with SUNY Cortland out of the picture, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Geneseo should be favored. But we've seen that this fairly rigorous season create some upsets late, and then the playoffs add another later. It's early days, but watch out for RIT.

9/9/2017 Geneseo at Buffalo State Upstate NY
9/9/2017 Oswego at LeMoyne Upstate NY
9/9/2017 Fredonia at RIT Upstate NY

 

A year ago, teams from the Great Lakes backed out because the travel was difficult. Well, those teams are back with their own conference and the addition of some more talented teams. Watch out for IUPUI. Something is brewing there.

9/9/2017 Xavier at Kent State Midwest
9/9/2017 Thomas More at Marshall Midwest
9/9/2017 IUPUI at Eastern Kentucky Midwest
9/9/2017 Southern Indiana at Western Kentucky Midwest

 

The Cardinals Conference comes back with DII and NSCRO teams mixed in to make it more geographically logical. So we'll see some interesting matchups. NC State is the biggest school here and should be favored. But it only takes 23 players to make a game-day squad, and VMI can do that ...

9/9/2017 Virginia Military Institute at Northern Virginia Griffins Cardinals Conference
9/9/2017 Christendom College at George Mason Cardinals Conference
9/9/2017 Virginia Commonwealth at Madison Developmental Cardinals Conference
9/9/2017 North Carolina State at Longwood Cardinals Conference
9/9/2017 William and Mary at Lynchburg College Cardinals Conference
9/9/2017 Duke at Radford Cardinals Conference
9/9/2017 Roanoke College at Washington and Lee Cardinals Conference

 

It's early days yet for a few more. The Great Lakes kicks off with perennial favorites Grand Valley State at Eastern Michigan. Vermont, as we outlined (Team Moves Leave UVM In Cold, Looking For Games), has no conference. They beat Burlington men's club 25-0 last week, which is impressive (especially the shutout) and take on St. Michael's this week.

The MARC (without annual contenders Rowan) kicks off with just the one game. The Gateway teams play each other, but across borders, so they're not league games. UMS&T has already started strong.

Norwich, which finished #4 in the nation last year and retains the top back of the season in scrumhalf Tom St. Pierre, is at Brown in a warmup.

9/9/2017 Grand Valley State at Eastern Michigan Great Lakes
9/4/2017 Vermont 25-0 Burlington Men Independent
9/9/2017 Lock Haven at Lehigh MARC
9/9/2017 Norwich at Brown Non-Conf
9/9/2017 Washington University at St. Louis U. Non-Conf (Gateway teams)
9/9/2017 Missouri S&T v Truman Non-Conf (Gateway teams)
9/9/2017 Louisville at Principia Non-Conf (Gateway teams)

 

We previewed the Tri-State here - Can Sacred Heart Repeat in Tri-State?. That conference has the NSCRO teams in the central. Molloy, US Merchant Marina Academy, and a big New Jersey rivalry highlight the South

 

9/10/2017 SUNY New Paltz at SUNY Oneonta Tri-State Central
9/10/2017 Bard at SUNY Maritime Tri-State Central
9/10/2017 Drew at Monroe Tri-State Central
9/10/2017 Hartwick at Vassar Tri-State Central
9/10/2017 College of NJ at NJIT Tri-State South
9/10/2017 Seton Hall at USMMA Tri-State South
9/10/2017 Montclair State at Molloy Tri-State South

 

In the Rocky Mountain, Western State has already put down a market.

 

9/2/2017 Western State 64-5 Colorado Mesa Rocky Mountain
9/9/2017 UC Colorado Springs at Western State Rocky Mountain
9/10/2017 Colorado College at Montana State Rocky Mountain
9/10/2017 Colorado Mesa at Northern Colorado Rocky Mountain

 

The WIIL also kicks off this weekend, with Wisconsin-Whitewater the defending national champions and favorites to repeat. This despite UWW having graduated several key players. The younger group isn't bad at all, though, and don't forget that Illinois State, Northern Iowa, and UW-Milwaukee weren't that far behind. Illinois State starts off at UIC.

 

9/9/2017 Illinois State at UIC WIIL
9/9/2017 Marquette at Loyola WIIL
9/9/2017 UW-Stout at UW-Lacrosse WIIL