Nov. 2, 2010

By Amy Farnum

TOMMIES STILL TERRIFIC: No. 5 St. Thomas clinched the second automatic berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 43-6 victory at Gustavus as the Tommies claimed their first Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in two decades.

Wide receiver Fritz Waldvogel garnered MIAC Special Teams Player of the Week for running back a 96-yard kickoff for a touchdown to open the second half of play last Saturday. The All-American returner now has over 2,000 career return yards and eight kickoff/punt return TDs. It was the first kickoff return TD allowed by Gustavus in 75 games.

The Tommies will host Carleton on Nov. 6 looking to post their first-ever 10-0 season and secure their first outright MIAC title since 1983. They have won 12 straight home games entering the contest.

BEAR TRACKS: Franklin College improved to 6-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a stunning 69-10 win at Anderson on Oct. 30, helping the Grizzles crack the latest AFCA Division III Top 25 at No. 23 this week.

Freshman cornerback Zack Corpe returned two interceptions for touchdowns, along with six tackles and a forced fumble, and was named HCAC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.

The Grizzles can clinch at least a share of the HCAC title with a victory against Earlham on Nov. 6.

RING THE BELL: The 62nd annual Battle for the Little Brass Bell will have major NCAA playoff implications as two nationally-ranked unbeatens clash for a shot at the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin title on Nov. 6. No. 6 North Central travels to No. 12 Wheaton (Ill.) as both squads put perfect 8-0 records on the line.

The Cardinals are coming off a convincing 47-13 win over Elmhurst and can clinch a share of their fifth straight CCIW title with a victory against Wheaton. The Thunder survived a scare against Augustana (Ill.), winning 20-14 after making a goal line stand in the final minute, sparked by Tyler Langs third interception of the game. Langs, who totals 102 interception return yards on the day, was named CCIW Defensive Player of the Week for his contributions.

TITLE MATCH: The Iowa Conference will also showcase a battle of nationally-ranked foes as No. 16 Central College hosts No. 13 Wartburg with a share of the conference title and a potential NCAA playoff berth on the line on Nov. 6. Central (6-1) trails Wartburg (6-0) by a game in the league standings as the Dutch enters their final game of the season.

The Dutch have won or shared conference titles in four of the past five seasons and have 30 league crowns overall. Central has earned 20 NCAA Division III playoff berths. Wartburgs last conference title was in 2008, when the Knights won it outright.

The match-up will feature Wartburgs league-leading rushing offense (207.4 ypg) with Centrals top rushing defense (74.3 ypg).

CONFERENCE CLASH: No. 7 Hampden-Sydney visits Washington and Lee in a tilt between the two remaining unbeatens in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference on Nov. 6. The two squads will be meeting for the 69th time in a series that began in 1899.

The Tigers are 8-0 on the year after a 49-20 defeat of Guilford in league play last weekend. The Generals are coming off a 49-14 victory over Catholic in which they ran for an ODAC record 496 rushing yards and had three running backs surpass the 100-yard mark. W&L enters its final league contest looking to break a string of three straight losses to H-SC.

ODDS AND ENDS: Albion remained in contention for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title after a 38-21 victory over Adrian College behind the running talents of sophomore Clinton Orr, who rushed for a season-high 233 yards. He has run for 100 yards in eight straight MIAA games dating back to last year, and was named MIAA Offensive Player of Week for his performance … Thomas More College clinched at least a share of the Presidents Athletic Conference title with a win over Westminster College last weekend as the Saints remained perfect on the season. A victory at Waynesburg on Nov. 6 will secure the leagues outright title and automatic berth in the NCAA playoffs for the Saints … North Coast Athletic Conference unbeatens Wabash and Wittenberg will meet on Nov. 6. Both teams received NCAA playoff bids in 2009.

Automatic Bid Conferences (23)
Heres a listing of the 23 conferences that have automatic bids to the NCAA playoffs. Only the MIAC and SCACs champions have secured their bids. The remaining champions will be decided over the last two weekends of play.

American Southwest Conference
Centennial Conference
College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
Empire 8
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference
Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Liberty League
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Middle Atlantic Conference
Midwest Conference
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference - St. Thomas (Minn.)
New England Football Conference
New Jersey Athletic Conference
North Coast Athletic Conference
Northern Athletics Conference
Northwest Conference
Ohio Athletic Conference
Old Dominion Athletic Conference
Presidents' Athletic Conference
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference - DePauw
USA South Athletic Conference
Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference