The DIAA Playoff Headache
The DIAA Playoff Headache
We're going to find out very soon what the DIAA fall bracket looks like, and it won't be a simple task to figure it out as ten teams are in the running for eight spots.
Following this past weekend's action, three of the four conference champions pertinent to this playoff have been decided:
Bowling Green - Last-Second PK Wns MAC For Bowling Green
November 16, Kennesaw State and Tennessee play to see who wins the SCRC.
Lindenwood-Belleville (6-3; wins over three DIA teams, three DIAA teams, and losses to one DIA team and two DIAA teams)
Iowa Central Community College (7-3; over three DIA teams, three DIAA teams, and a DII team, and losses to two DIA teams and one DIAA team)
Iowa Central and Lindenwood-Belleville split the two games they played against each other. L-B also lost to Kentucky 17-14.
Both Kennesaw State and Tennessee have applied as at-large teams, because the bracket will likely be decided before the SCRC final. But there are others:
West Chester (MARC runner-up)
NC State (Chesapeake runner-up) - NCSU Wins Chesapeake 2nd-3rd Playoff
Western Michigan (MAC runner-up)
Who Gets Cut Out?
So of the four runners-up and the two independents, two will not make the playoffs. Here's the case for and (maybe) against each of the teams:
Lindenwood-Belleville. Six wins against very strong collegiate opposition. Loss against Arkansas State basically means nothing because Arkansas State is a likely national DIA playoff team. Loss against Iowa Central, while large, is mitigated by the Lynx beating Iowa Central in October. The one loss that is an issue is 17-14 to Kentucky. Since Kentucky will finish 3rd in the SCRC, that bumps L-Bs stock down a bit.
Iowa Central. Sevens wins, six of which are against strong opposition. One loss against Davenport, a very good DIA team, one loss against DIA championship contender Lindenwood, and one loss to Lindenwood-Belleville, a team they also beat. The Iowa Central season wasn't as strong as that of Lindenwood-Belleville, but they split their games. So the question is, if you penalize L-B for losing to Kentucky, would you have to do the same for Iowa Central?
Western Michigan. WMU finished a very, very close second in the MAC. Since the 2018 MAC champion, Bowling Green, won the entire playoff, and WMU beat Lindenwood-Belleville to make the semis, WMU has a very good shot.
West Chester. WCU did relatively well in the MARC, but did lose to Towson in the final weekend of the season. It didn't matter, as the Rams had already clinched 2nd. WCU just lost a close game to Navy's B side, 31-27. Navy Bs didn't play NC State or Virginia Tech, the top two teams in the Chesapeake, but they did play everyone else, and won every game, and by more than four points.
NC State. The Wolfpack won their playoff over Salisbury, and lost only twice in league play this season—to conference champs Virginia Tech, and in the opening weekend to Mount St. Mary's. As defending DII national champs, NC State has a pretty good case.
SCRC 2nd place. This will either be Tennessee, whose only loss would be to Kennesaw State, or KSU. If this is a close game like in the MAC final, we've got a real headache.