DII College Games This Week
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.
|9/9/2017||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|
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||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||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|
|9/9/2017||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||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.