Aug. 26, 2009

A battle of top-ranked teams kicks off Division II's live television football package on CBS College Sports Thursday as No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri State visits No. 5 Abilene Christian in a rematch of a 2008 Division II quarterfinal game.

The contest also will be syndicated on various affiliates, including Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Houston. The game will be available in HD, and also will be shown live via broadband on NCAA.com.

In addition, a film crew from NCAA On Campus will be on hand to do a story for its next broadcast on how an NCAA Division II football game makes it onto the airwaves.

The 2009 season opener for both teams is the first of a six-game package. Other games are:

· Thursday, September 3 - Central Washington at Minnesota Duluth (available in HD)

· Thursday, September 24 - Wingate at Tusculum

· Thursday, October 15 - Virginia Union at Virginia State

· Thursday, October 22 - North Alabama at Valdosta State

· Thursday, November 5 - Shepherd at Glenville State

All games are at 8 p.m. Eastern.

The package - the fourth since Division II and CBS College Sports established their partnership to give Division II schools live TV exposure for their football and basketball programs (in addition to live postseason coverage in those and other sports) - is the first to feature both premium-game matchups and "conference rotation games" that league commissioners help select.

"Our partnership with CBS College Sports is established enough now that we can begin to mix in some of these selected out-of-conference match-ups to go along with compelling conference contests from leagues that have yet to have a live-televised football game," said Division II Vice President Mike Racy.

Abilene Christian AD Jared Mosley said he's excited about the national and regional attention the game against Northwest Missouri State has generated.

"We played two great games against Northwest Missouri State last season, and both programs should again be among the top teams in the nation in 2009, which should make for another exciting game," he said. "But even though the game is going to be televised, we'd still love to see those stands at Shotwell Stadium full of fans wearing purple and white."

Jason Knapp will be doing the play-by-play for the broadcast, while former Michigan tight end Derrick Walker will be the analyst. Walker was a member of 1986 and 1988 Big Ten championship teams before going on to a nine-year NFL career with San Diego and Kansas City. Abilene Christian senior and broadcast journalism major Kimberly Prather will work as the sideline reporter, rounding out the broadcast crew.

Meanwhile, Northwest Missouri State is inviting its fans to gather inside Bearcat Arena for a live showing of the game, free of charge. The school has teamed with United Services Inc., which will set up two projection screens inside the arena to show CBS College Sports Network's live broadcast from Abilene, Texas.