Last Updated 6:26 PM, December 06, 2021

2021 NCAA DII football championship: Bracket, schedule, teams

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Back-to-back last-second TDs have Shepherd, miraculously, in DII football semis
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8:38 pm, December 4, 2021

The DII football semifinals are set for next Saturday

Shepherd Athletics Tyson Bagent threw a last-second touchdown for Shepherd.

Four No. 1 seeds entered DII football quarterfinals play on Saturday. Three will move on to the national semifinals. It was those pesky No. 2-seeded Shepherd Rams that messed up a No. 1-seed party, winning in the final seconds for the second week in a row. 

Here's what you missed from the DII football championship on Saturday.

The 2021 DII football quarterfinals in review

Tyson Bagent does it again. Kutztown and Shepherd put on a show in the first game of the day. As it has gone all postseason, Shepherd needed some late heroics from its Harlon Hill finalist-quarterback Tyson Bagent.

Shepherd outlasted Findlay in Round 1 with a big fourth quarter. The Rams advanced last week thanks to the big arm of Bagent, throwing a touchdown in the waning seconds to down Notre Dame (OH) 38-34. Once again, Bagent, who had been held in check for much of the day, waited until no ticks on the clock to pull off his latest heroics. This last second heave puts Shepherd in the semifinals for the first time since 2016.

It wasn't the final throw that was thrilling, but a back-and-forth battle all game. Shepherd jumped out to a 21-0 lead, but Kutztown's defense clamped down — the Golden Bears held the Rams scoreless until three minutes remained while the offense tied the score. Shepherd went ahead 24-21 and then the fireworks began. The Rams appeared to ice the game with an interception, but Jordan Davis stripped it, getting the ball back and setting up Kutztown's backup quarterback Donny Blaine for his second touchdown of the day. Kutztown left 30 seconds on the clock for Bagent, and the rest as they say, is history. 

Ferris State back in the semifinals. It was like déjà vu all over again for Ferris State… again. For the third-straight year, the Bulldogs defeated Northwest Missouri State in the playoffs, this time it was by a score of 41-20. And for the third-straight season — and amazing fourth time in five tournaments — the Bulldogs will be playing in the national semifinals.

There was no Jared Bernhardt today, but as they have done all season, backups Mylik Mitchell and Evan Cummins did just fine in his stead. Mitchell threw for a touchdown and ran for two more, while Cummins punched one in on the ground as well. Northwest Missouri State played well and had this as close as a one-score game. But Ferris State blew it open with three-straight scores to make it a 41-13 game and the Bearcats could not claw back.

Ivory Durham leads Blazers back to semifinals. I think 2019 was so long ago, people forget that Valdosta State was six seconds away from being undefeated in the quarterfinals for a second-straight year. Once again, the Blazers are semifinals bound, after a 41-17 victory over Bowie State. And like last time, it was thanks to big-time quarterback play.

Ivory Durham threw for 348 yards — and rushed for 61 more — and four touchdowns hooking up with veteran wide receivers Brian Saunds (146 yards, three touchdowns) and Lio’undre Gallimore (99 yards, one touchdown) at will. That’s an impressive air assault against one of the best defenses in the nation. Kudos to Bowie State’s Ja’Rome Johnson. He was still clearly hobbled from last week’s injury, but he battled, throwing for two touchdowns. It was an impressive performance.

Colorado School of Mines makes program history. For the first time ever, the Orediggers can call themselves national semifinalists. Colorado School of Mines held on against Angelo State for the 34-26 victory.

The Rams scored first, jumping out to a 3-0 lead before the Orediggers put up 20 in the second quarter. Despite being down three scores, the Rams never went away in the second half, playing tough to the final whistle. Michael Zeman, another Harlon Hill finalist, had a huge day, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown while catching a 39-yard pass that turned out to be the much-needed score to seal the deal. Mines quarterback John Matocha tossed four touchdowns as the Orediggers had a complete offensive attack.

Complete results from the DII football quarterfinals:

Semifinals schedule announced

The semifinals continue next Saturday, Dec. 11. The teams have been reseeded Nos. 1-4 and are scheduled on ESPN+ as follows:

  • No. 3 Colorado School of Mines at No. 2 Valdosta State, noon ET
  • No. 4 Shepherd at No. 1 Ferris State, 3:30 p.m. ET

PLEASE NOTE: Since both games will be on ESPN+, we will be bringing live updates throughout both games right here.

Click or tap here to view the full 2021 DII football bracket. And for a printable version of the bracket, go here.

1:41 pm, December 4, 2021

Quarterfinals action begins Saturday: Schedule for the DII football championship

Colorado School of Mines colorado school of the mines 2021 dii football ncaa tournament

We are down to the last eight teams in the 2021 DII football championship. All quarterfinal games are scheduled to be played on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Four No. 1 seeds make up half of the quarterfinal field, and they will all host their games on Saturday afternoon at their home stadiums on campus. Valdosta State looks to continue its return to the mountaintop after winning the national championship in 2018.

Here are the matchups and kickoff times for Saturday (all times Eastern):

Here's one thing to know about each matchup:

  • Shepherd vs. Kutztown: Shepherd — led by quarterback Tyson Bagent who was named a Harlon Hill nominee for the third-straight season — has the top offense in the land. Of course, this very same Kutztown defense held the Rams to their lowest scoring output of the season in an early season victory. 
  • Bowie State vs. Valdosta State: The Blazers have the No. 5 scoring offense in DII football. Bowie State counters with the No. 5 scoring defense in DII football. Have the high-octane Blazers' met their match?
  • Northwest Missouri State vs. Ferris State: This is the third-straight postseason matchup between these two DII football powerhouses. The Bulldogs have won both of the previous two meetings. 
  • Angelo State vs. Colorado School of Mines: Both teams are looking to add to their program's history books. This is the Orediggers first-ever trip to the quarterfinals, so they would love to make their first-ever trip to the semifinals next week. The Rams are rolling on a program-best seven-game win streak and looking to reach No. 8. 

Click or tap here to view the full 2021 DII football bracket. And for a printable version of the bracket, go here.

Winners will advance to the semifinals on Dec. 11. The final is the week after, Dec. 18.

5:56 pm, December 3, 2021

DII football bowls to be played Saturday, Dec. 4

Don't forget DII football fans. Along with four quarterfinals games this Saturday, Dec. 4, six teams teams go bowling. See below for a complete preview, schedule and scores from the DII football bowl season.

7:25 pm, November 29, 2021

Times announced for Quarterfinal games

Kutztown plays at 12:05 p.m. on Dec. 4.

The NCAA has announced game times for the Quarterfinal matchups, which are played on Dec. 4. 

All times are EST. 

  • No. 1 Kutztown vs. No. 2 Shepherd: 12:05 p.m. 
  • No. 1 Valdosta State vs. No. 2 Bowie State: 1 p.m. 
  • No. 1 Ferris State vs. No. 3 Northeast Mo. State: 1 p.m. 
  • No. 1 Colo. Sch. of Mines vs. No. 2 Angelo State: 2:05 p.m. 
9:45 pm, November 27, 2021

Four No. 1 seeds advance to the quarterfinals of the DII football championship

Colorado School of Mines Michael Zeman scored three touchdowns for No. 1 Colorado School of Mines.

Four No. 1 seeds returned to action this week. All four will continue to play on as Kutztown, Valdosta State, Ferris State and Colorado School of Mines all advanced in Saturday’s second-round action from the 2021 DII football championship.

In fact, with all the craziness of the 2021 DII football season, there is nary an unseeded team remaining. Three No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups will be featured in next week’s national quarterfinals. It was one of those No. 2 seeds that stole the show.

Shepherd's last second heroics and the play of the day

Earlier this week, Shepherd’s quarterback Tyson Bagent was once again named to the Harlon Hill Trophy watchlist. The All-American showed why on Saturday, connecting with Josh Gontarek for the game-winning touchdown.

With one second remaining.

Shepherd has certainly been living on the edge. The Rams needed 14 points in the final 10 minutes to advance against Findlay in the first round and needed the fourth quarter once again this week. Notre Dame (OH) was without its two leading rushers — each of which ran for more than 800 yards and five touchdowns this season — but quarterback Chris Brimm kept the Falcons in this the entire game. The final minutes were some of the best football of the tournament thus far. Brimm put the Falcons ahead 34-31 with 28 seconds remaining, setting up Bagent’s dramatic game-winning drive.

There was a lot of good football played Saturday. Let’s get you caught up

1 thing to know about every DII football championship second-round game

1. As expected in our preview, No. 1 Kutztown and No. 4 New Haven was going to be a defensive battle. The Chargers brought the NE10’s top defense into Kutztown, a team that owned the PSAC East’s best defense. There was just 386 total yards of offense combined in this one as the Golden Bears held New Haven’s offense in check with 156 total yards. We will see how this Kutztown defense can hold up against the high-octane offense of Shepherd who is looking to avenge its lone loss of the season.

2. The upstart Newberry Wolves went into Bowie State looking for another upset — and put a real scare in the No. 2 Bulldogs. This was a scoreless heavyweight fight in the first half, but in the end, it was the Bulldogs’ elite defense that saved the day. Newberry struck first, but Bowie State quarterback Ja’Rome Johnson was impressive. He left the game earlier with what appeared to be a bad leg injury but returned a bit hobbled to convert an important third and 22 for the game-tying touchdown. He later hooked up with Keshan Hinckley a second time for the go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes remaining. With Newberry on the move, that tough Bowie State defense forced a fumble with just over a minute remaining, making program history and advancing to its first-ever Super Regional final.

3. Last time West Georgia and Valdosta State met, the Wolves hung tough, losing 36-34. This time around, the Blazers made sure there was no doubt, scoring the most points in the second round in a 31-point victory. Harrison Frost kept the Wolves alive with a huge day, throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns, but Valdosta State pulled away in the final 15 minutes. The Blazers’ quarterback, and Harlon Hill contender, Ivory Durham had a monster day, totaling 445 yards and five touchdowns.

4. Ferris State and Grand Valley State played playoff football in playoff football conditions. The ground was covered in snow and kept falling regularly throughout. The Bulldogs’ star quarterback Jared Bernhardt came out on fire and got the undefeated Bulldogs out to an early lead with four touchdowns (two rushing and two passing) in the first 18 minutes of action. He went down hard with an injury — and was down for quite some time — and didn’t return to action. Mylik Mitchell was able to hold things down, passing and rushing for a touchdown, to keep Ferris State perfect on the season.

5. Northwest Missouri State did what it had to do against Harding’s top rushing offense: Build a lead early and not let the Bisons control the tempo. Braden Wright started this one at quarterback and got the job done with 231 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came in the first half to put Northwest Missouri State ahead for good. The Bearcats are now in familiar territory. Their last two seasons ended at the hands of an undefeated Ferris State team, so you can be sure revenge is on their minds.

6. Angelo State had DII football’s fourth-best rushing defense, something the Rams would need to shut down Nebraska-Kearney’s dynamic, dual-threat quarterback T.J. Davis. That’s exactly what they did, holding Davis to just 12 yards on the ground and 86 yards passing through the air. On the other side, it was Angelo State’s own running back Alfred Greer that led the charge, rushing for a season-high 152 yards and a score. This rushing defense will now have to figure out how to contend with Michael Zeman, one of the best running backs in DII football.

7. Did someone say Michael Zeman? The Orediggers’ running back, and Harlon Hill nominee, had another monster game scoring three touchdowns in the day's most lopsided victory. John Matocha is such an impressive quarterback. He leads the offense with smart passes and timely rushes, passing for 348 yards and totaling four touchdowns on the day. Kudos to the Orediggers offense for dominating the Beavers high flying passing game and forcing four interceptions and no offensive scores on the day. The Mines played a complete third quarter, scoring 35 points and outgaining Bemidji State by 267 yards.

The complete scoreboard from the second round

You can see the entire 2021 DII football championship bracket by clicking here. 

4:03 pm, November 27, 2021

Second-round action continues today in the DII football championship

Ferris State Athletics Ferris State football takes on Grand Valley State in the DII football championship.

Welcome back, DII football fans. The turkey is gone and it is time to turn our attention back to the gridiron. After a week off, the second round of the 2021 DII football national championship resumes, beginning at noon ET. 

The four No. 1 seeds in each region had the luxury of sitting back and watching the action unfold last week. This week, all four are back in action and find themselves in some interesting matchups. Ferris State, the only undefeated team left standing, faces off GLIAC rival Grand Valley State in a rematch of the Oct. 16 thriller that the Bulldogs won by a touchdown. Speaking of rematches, West Georgia travels to Valdosta State, looking to avenge its two-point loss to the Blazers earlier this season. Colorado School of Mines has to solve the passing game of Bemidji State, which is looking for its second upset in as many weeks while New Haven and Kutztown should be an absolute slugfest between two stouts Ds. 

Here is the complete schedule for the second round (all times ET):

You can see the entire 2021 DII football championship bracket by clicking here. We'll keep you updated with scores and postgame thoughts throughout the day. 

2:36 pm, November 23, 2021

Second round set in 2021 DII football championship

Notre Dame (OH) Athletics ND Ohio

Sixteen teams remain in the DII football championship, following last weekend's first round. The second round will be played Saturday, Nov. 27, and we now know the times for each matchup.

Below is the schedule for Saturday's games (all times ET):

Winners will advance to the quarterfinals on Dec. 4. 

Click or tap here to see the interactive bracket.

10:47 pm, November 20, 2021

DII football championship bracket busted: West Florida falls to Newberry in Round 1

Newberry Newberry upsets West Florida in the DII football championship. Newberry upsets West Florida in the DII football championship.

The first round of the 2021 DII football championship is in the books and one thing is for certain.

We will have a new national champion in 2021 as the Newberry Wolves stunned reigning national champion West Florida 33-30 in overtime on the first day of the tournament.

SEE THE UPDATED INTERACTIVE BRACKET BY CLICKING HERE

What an unbelievable back and forth battle it was between Newberry and the defending champs. The Wolves came out and quickly put West Florida on the ropes with two quick scores orchestrated by quarterback Dre Harris, one a 66-yard pass and the other a rush. But as the Argos have done all season, they came storming back, putting up 27-consecutive points to go up 27-14 in the fourth quarter.

Newberry wasn’t done. A blocked punt for a touchdown and rushing score later and we were heading to overtime in what could be the upset of all upsets in this tournament. West Florida, despite having one of the best quarterbacks in DII football in Austin Reed, ran it three-straight times as Newberry held them to a field goal. Harris and the Wolves’ rushing attack was too much as they moved the ball down the field for Mario Anderson to punch in the game winner from one yard out to upset No. 3-seeded West Florida.

West Georgia rolled Albany State (GA), Bemidji State took down Augustana (SD) and Nebraska-Kearney held on against Western Colorado as three other unseeded teams completely busted Super Region Two and Four on the bracket. That left all four top seeds alive and well in both Super Region One and Three.

Let’s get you caught up on the other 11 games from Saturday's first round.

1 thing to know from every first-round game of the DII football championship

1. Serious kudos to Findlay. The Oilers dramatically claimed a bid to the bracket by defeating Tiffin in the season finale for their first G-MAC title. Quarterback Matt Winzeler — who threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns — and crew controlled the tempo for a good portion of this game, leading 28-24 late into the ball game. In the end, Shepherd showed why it is nearly a unanimous pick to battle for the semifinals spot in this part of the bracket. Ty Hebron had a tremendous day, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including the go ahead score late in the fourth. Tyson Bagent sealed the deal with his second touchdown pass to put the Rams up 38-28 later in the quarter.

2. Speaking of kudos, how about Slippery Rock’s gutty performance in the second half? Not only was The Rock down 20 points, but they were also down Henry Litwin and Jermaine Wynn Jr., arguably the best wide receiver duo in DII football this year. Instead of rolling over, they put a scare into the Falcons and came all the way back, but fell just short, 33-25. Quarterback Chris Brimm led the way for Notre Dame (OH) with three touchdown passes and Idris Lawrence rushed for a game-high 164 yards in the victory.

3. Did someone say kudos? New Haven was down 6-3 early but the Chargers completely took over this one for a lopsided 38-13 victory. It is impressive because they just beat this same Bentley team three weeks ago for the NE10 title, and it is no easy task in DII football to beat the same team twice in a season… never mind twice in their last three games. As usual, the New Haven defense was smothering, forcing three turnovers and allowing just 246 yards. Next up is Kutztown in what should be a slugfest in the second round.

4. We said the biggest problem for opponents facing Bowie State would be big time playmakers on both sides of the ball. That showed in the Bulldogs’ dominating 31-10 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne. Quarterback Ja’Rome Johnson exploded for a 65-yard touchdown run to open up the scoring (he added a 48-yard run later) and Tevin Singleton returned an interception 70 yards to put Bowie State up 14-10. It was the Bulldogs’ eighth defensive score of the season, and they head to a second-round matchup with the defending champs.

5. West Georgia went on the road to face the top defense in DII football and came out a winner. The Wolves, whose defense held opponents scoreless twice this season, got the scoring started with a fumble returned for a touchdown and there was no looking back. They jumped out to a 23-0 lead and nearly had another shutout if it weren’t for a late Albany State score. Revenge is on West Georgia’s mind. Next up is Valdosta State, a team the Wolves played tightly in an Oct. 30 36-34 loss.

6. Grand Valley State and Lindenwood was a tough fought battle. It seemed like every play ended in a hard hit. In the end, the Lakers’ defense was too much, allowing a stingy 22 yards rushing and 228 total yards in a commanding 20-3 victory. Per usual it was a balanced offensive attack by the Lakers that got the job done against an equally tough Lindenwood defense. Next up, a rematch of the Anchor Bone Classic against undefeated Ferris State.

7. Harding showed why it is such a tough team to beat and it all starts on the ground — both offensively and defensively. The Bison held Washburn to -2 yards rushing while rushing for 419 total yards. Cole Chancey led the way, rumbling for 176 yards and a score while Omar Sinclair popped off 110 yards on the ground. The victory gives us a huge second-round matchup between Harding’s top rushing offense in DII against Northwest Missouri State’s No. 1 rushing defense.

8. Speaking of those Bearcats, what a victory for Northwest Missouri State. It was not as close as the 50-21 score may indicate as Central Washington scored two touchdowns later in the fourth quarter. To the Wildcats credit, they were the first team to break the 20-point barrier on this stout Bearcats defense this season. Perhaps in the least surprising stat line of the day, Al McKeller had another 100-yard day (130 to be precise) with two touchdowns. That’s 12 in the last four weeks. Braden Wright took the majority of snaps at quarterback and tossed three touchdowns in the blowout.

9. As predicted here on NCAA.com, Bemidji State outlasted Augustana (SD) 28-24. Brandon Alt fired two first-quarter touchdowns to get the Beavers out to a 14-3 lead. It was Sam McGath who rushed in the fourth-quarter touchdown to put the Beavers ahead for good. Alt and his top wide receiver Brendan Beaulieu hooked up for 212 yards and three touchdowns last week and that momentum carried over to this week as the duo hooked up for 142 yards and a score. That should make next week's matchup with No. 1 Colorado School of Mines a fun one to watch.

10. Angelo State is good. The Rams were up 41-0 in the first half thanks to a big day from quarterback Zach Bronkhorst. Bronkhorst threw for 214 yards and ran for 65 yards while totaling four touchdowns on the day in the most lopsided victory of the day. This defense has been so good all season and held Minnesota Duluth to just 233 total yards, most of which came late in the game. That defense is a huge advantage in such and offensive-minded portion of the bracket.

11. And to end things on an upset note, Nebraska-Kearney traveled out of region to Western Colorado and pulled out a thrilling 31-24 victory. We said in our preview that if T.J. Davis gets the ball in the final minutes, he is going to win you a ball game. Sure enough, the Lopers’ quarterback scored what would be the game-winning touchdown with just 1:52 remaining. Davis ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 183 yards on the day. We’ll see how this run-heavy offense handles Angelo State's tough defense next week.

4:03 pm, November 20, 2021

First-round action for the 2021 DII football championship begins today

Notre Dame (OH) Athletics Notre Dame (OH) plays Slippery Rock in DII football playoffs.

It is a day two years in the making. The DII football championship football returns Saturday, Nov. 20 with 24 teams in action. The first kick comes at noon ET. You can follow scores and updates here as well as postgame thoughts after all 12 games are complete.

Schedule and scores: First round of the 2021 DII football championship (all times ET)

The 2021 DII football championship bracket, predicted

Scroll down for Wayne Cavadi's full bracket predictions for the 2021 DII football championship, but you can find out which games to watch in Saturday's first round below. 

NCAA DII football bracket predictions: Picking every playoff game, through the championship
11:38 pm, November 17, 2021

DII football bracket predictions: Picking every playoff game

The 2021 DII football championship kicks off across the nation at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 20. Before first-round action begins, let’s try and predict the perfect bracket. You can see the complete video of my predictions by clicking or tapping here

If you have followed along this season, you know full well that is a laughable notion. After all, we just had a season where all but one top-25 team lost a game — with most of those losses in upset fashion. After seeing 18 teams enter the bracket with perfect records in the past two tournaments, just Ferris State holds the honor this season.

This goes without saying, so let me say it. First, this bracket is done in fun. Yes, I put honest research into my picks, and I do think that this is how things may very well play out. However, in the same sense, it is a nearly impossible task. Why? If you are among the final 28 teams standing in a season that has literally been like no other, you are a contender. End of story. As Chuck Bitner from D2football.com pointed out, this is the first time in championship history all 16 conferences are represented in the field. If I didn’t pick your school to advance, it’s no slight to your program.

That said, let’s see how wrong I am come Dec. 18. You can see my full bracket by tapping or clicking here

NCAA DII football bracket predictions: Picking every playoff game, through the championship

All 27 games of the DII football championship, predicted

Super Region One

Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com DII football championship bracket — Super Region One

Team to beat: Shepherd
Team to watch: Slippery Rock
Bracket breakdown: Now, I am going against recent trends here. The last three No. 1 seeds in this part of the bracket have all advanced to the national semifinals. That’s not to say Kutztown isn’t capable of making it to the semifinals, I just think this is the year that Shepherd makes it through.

FINAL RANKINGS: The last Power 10 of the regular season | Regional rankings 

That means I obviously have Shepherd advancing over Findlay, but the other first-round games are full of intrigue. Notre Dame (OH) and Slippery Rock are the last two Super Region One teams to advance to the semifinals. The last time these two faced was in the 2019 quarterfinals in a thrilling 65-59 shoot-out in Slippery Rock’s favor. Slippery Rock edged out Cal (PA) to make the 2021 tournament, and while we know their offense is among the best in DII, The Rock has some serious injuries to overcome.

The Bentley vs. New Haven game is a rematch of what turned out to be the NE10 championship game. In my years of watching DII football, beating a team twice — especially in a three-week span — has been a difficult task. I already went against one historic trend in this part of the brack. I’m not doing it twice. Bentley’s top conference offense edges out New Haven’s top NE10 defense.

Super Region Two

Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com DII football championship bracket — Super Region Two

Team to beat: West Florida
Team to watch: Albany State (GA)
Bracket breakdown: West Florida made program history… again. With the Argos first-ever regular-season win over Valdosta State, they clinched their first-ever Gulf South Conference title and now host their first-ever home playoff game. West Florida played a tough schedule in its odd title defense and answered the call with a 9-1 season. The Argos are still the top contenders in my book.

WEEK 11 RECAP: West Florida tops Valdosta State in final weekend of DII regular season

You have to keep your eyes on Albany State (GA). The Golden Rams are playing highly motivated football after the tragic passing of Adonis Butler. They haven’t allowed a score since — and already had the best scoring and total defense in DII. Now, the competition in the SIAC is not the same as Gulf South Conference foe, but I think the Golden Rams have a win in them.

Lenoir-Rhyne has caught fire at the right time. The Bears are streaking into the playoffs with a six-game winning streak in which they are averaging 47.5 points per game. Unfortunately, they must contend with Bowie State. I have had Bowie State higher than most in my Power 10 rankings all season. Maybe I am blinded by the serious playmakers on defense, but I can’t see them losing this game.

The hope, of course, is that we are on a crash course for West Florida vs. Valdosta State Part II. It would be one of the best games of the tournament.

Super Region Three

Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com DII football championship bracket — Super Region Three

Team to beat: Ferris State
Team to watch: All of them
Bracket breakdown: This may be the most loaded Super Region in the bracket. Ferris State enters the 2021 DII football tournament as the only undefeated team in the field. I can’t state enough how impressive a feat that is in this zany return to football. This is a complete team, from their depth to top-notch coaching staff and I am not picking against the Bulldogs.

FERRIS QB POWER: How Jared Bernhardt went from best in DI lacrosse to the DII football field

That goes against a trend I mentioned earlier if you notice. I do expect Grand Valley State to sneak past Lindenwood, but this may be the toughest game to pick in the entire first round. If you look at what the selection committee looks at, these teams are separated by fractions in categories like wins against .500 teams, performance indicator and weighted OWP-OOWP. I just think the Lakers are on a mission this season and want to get to that Anchor-Bone rematch.

Harding and Northwest Missouri State have favorable matchups and will be a very good second-round game should both advance. You have Harding’s top rushing offense in DII going against Northwest Missouri State’s stout rushing defense — also best in the country. At the end of the day, I think Al McKeller gives the Bearcats that little extra oomph and this turns out to be a heavyweight slugfest that ends as a low-scoring affair.

TOURNEY FAQ: The essential guide to the DII football championship

Super Region Four

Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com DII football championship bracket — Super Region Four

Team to beat: Bemidji State
Team to watch: Nebraska-Kearney
Bracket breakdown: As I mentioned on the DII football selection show, this is an odd year for Super Region Four. The normal heavyweights — Minnesota State, Texas A&M-Commerce and Colorado State-Pueblo for example — didn’t make the cut. That’s why I think this could be a Wild West shootout with a surprise team like Bemidji State sneaking through.

TOURNEY FAQ: The essential guide to the DII football championship

Yes, you read that correctly. The postseason isn’t always the best team, but the hottest team and Bemidji State is a bit of both. At times the Beavers play like they have the best offense in NSIC, and right now it is certainly hot. Bemidji State has won seven in a row and that includes a win over Minnesota Duluth and a Northern State team that was fighting for a playoff spot itself. The Beavers lost big to Augustana (SD) last time, so revenge is on the mind. Colorado School of Mines is very experienced in the playoffs but hasn’t won a second-round game in recent years. That’s why the Beavers are my upset special.

Of course, Augustana (SD) led by Kyle Saddler at quarterback is a phenomenal team and could bust my bracket on Day 1 of the tournament. If that’s the case, I think the Vikings become contenders for the semifinals.

Angelo State would be a fantastic story. The Rams have one of the best defenses in the nation but are much better against the run than the pass. That’s why I think they may have some trouble should they face Augustana (SD) or Bemidji State, two very pass-friendly offenses. And of course, let’s not forget Western Colorado and Nebraska-Kearney. This is just a fun storyline. The Mountaineers are making their first playoff appearance since before most of their current roster was born, while T.J. Davis — recently named the MIAA offensive player of the year — is one of the best in DII football when the game is on the line. That is why I have the Lopers as a real sleeper in this part of the region.

Semifinals: Shepherd, West Florida, Ferris State, Bemidji State
Championship game: West Florida vs. Ferris State
National champions: West Florida

10:00 pm, November 14, 2021

2021 DII football championship field revealed

Kutztown is a No. 1 seed in this year's DII football championship.

The bracket is set for the 2021 DII Football Championship. Click or tap here to watch this year's selection show.

This year's tournament will run from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. The championship game will take place in McKinney, Texas at 9 p.m. ET. That game will be televised live on ESPNU and ESPN+.

28 teams will participate in this first tournament since 2019. 2020's championship was cancelled due to COVID-19. Here is the entire field for this year's tournament. 

Here are important dates for the 2021 DII football championship:

  • First Round: Saturday, Nov. 20
  • Second Round: Saturday, Nov. 27
  • Quarterfinal: Saturday, Dec. 4
  • Semifinal: Saturday, Dec. 11
  • Final: Saturday, Dec. 18

Click or tap here to view the entire 2021 DII football championship bracket.

3:43 pm, November 14, 2021

Selection Sunday: Watch the 2021 selection show live at 5 p.m. ET

It's finally here. A selection show two years in the making. 

The 2021 DII football selection show is Sunday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. ET. We'll have the official bracket for the 2021 DII football championship shortly after. This will be the first DII national championship game played since December 2019. Here's how to watch the selection show. 

When: 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 14 

Where: Live here on NCAA.com

What to know: West Florida took down Valdosta State in a game that will surely mix it up in Super Region Two. get caught up on what went down Saturday that could impact the bracket. TAP OR CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

3:12 pm, November 6, 2021

How to watch the DII football selection show

The 2021 DII football selection show is Sunday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. ET. We'll have the official bracket for the 2021 DII football championship shortly after. This will be the first DII national championship game played since December 2019. Here's how to watch the selection show. 

When: 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 14 

Where: Live here on NCAA.com

The 2021 championship field will consist of 28 teams with the tournament running from Nov. 20 through Dec. 18. The championship game returns to McKinney ISD Stadium in McKinney, Texas for the third straight season. 

Curious about the selection show and tournament process? Check out our essential guide to the DII football championship

DII football bracket 2021
3:06 pm, November 6, 2021

DII football championship history

The 2021 DII football title game will crown the first national champion since December 2019. West Florida is the reigning champ, defeating Minnesota State 48-40 in a record-setting finale to the 2019 season. The Argos, who have been to two championship games in their last three tries, have a long way to go to catch Northwest Missouri State. The Bearcats six titles are the most in DII history.

TITLE TOWN: These programs have the most championships in DII history

Here is the full history of the DII football championship below. 

YEAR CHAMPION COACH SCORE RUNNER-UP SITE
2020 Canceled due to Covid-19 -- -- -- --
2019 West Florida Pete Shinnick 48-40 Minnesota State McKinney, Tex.
2018 Valdosta State Kerwin Bell 49-47 Ferris State McKinney, Tex.
2017 Texas A&M-Commerce Colby Carthel 37-27 West Florida Kansas City, Kan.
2016 Northwest Missouri State Adam Dorrel 29-3 North Alabama Kansas City, Kan.
2015 Northwest Missouri State Adam Dorrel 34-7 Shepherd Kansas City, Kan.
2014 Colorado State-Pueblo John Wristen 13-0 Minnesota State-Mankato Kansas City, Kan.
2013 Northwest Missouri State Adam Dorrel 43-28 Lenoir-Rhyne Florence, Ala.
2012 Valdosta State David Dean 35-7 Winston-Salem State Florence, Ala.
2011 Pittsburg State Tim Beck 35-21 Wayne State (Mich.) Florence, Ala.
2010 Minnesota-Duluth Bob Nielson 20-17 Delta State Florence, Ala.
2009 Northwest Missouri State Mel Tjeersdma 30-23 Grand Valley State Florence, Ala.
2008 Minnesota-Duluth Bob Nielson 21-14 Northwest Missouri State Florence, Ala.
2007 Valdosta State David Dean 25-20 Northwest Missouri State Florence, Ala.
2006 Grand Valley State Chuck Martin 17-14 Northwest Missouri State Florence, Ala.
2005 Grand Valley State Chuck Martin 21-17 Northwest Missouri State Florence, Ala.
2004 Valdosta State Christ Hatcher 36-31 Pittsburg State Florence, Ala.
2003 Grand Valley State Brian Kelly 10-3 North Dakota Florence, Ala.
2002 Grand Valley State Brian Kelly 31-24 Valdosta State Florence, Ala.
2001 North Dakota Dale Lennon 17-14 Grand Valley State Florence, Ala.
2000 Delta State Steve Campbell 63-34 Bloomsburg Florence, Ala.
1999 Northwest Missouri State Mel Tjeersdma 58-52 (4ot) Carson-Newman Florence, Ala.
1998 Northwest Missouri State Mel Tjeersdma 24-6 Carson-Newman Florence, Ala.
1997 Northern Colorado Joe Glenn 51-0 New Haven Florence, Ala.
1996 Northern Colorado Joe Glenn 23-14 Carson-Newman Florence, Ala.
1995 North Alabama Bobby Wallace 27-7 Pittsburg State Florence, Ala.
1994 North Alabama Bobby Wallace 16-10 Texas A&M-Kingsville Florence, Ala.
1993 North Alabama Bobby Wallace 41-34 Indiana (Pa.) Florence, Ala.
1992 Jacksonville State Bill Burgess 17-13 Pittsburg State Florence, Ala.
1991 Pittsburg State Chuck Broyles 23-6 Jacksonville State Florence, Ala.
1990 North Dakota State Rocky Hager 51-11 Indiana (Pa.) Florence, Ala.
1989 *Mississippi College John Williams 3-0 Jacksonville State Florence, Ala.
1988 North Dakota State Rocky Hager 35-21 Portland State Florence, Ala.
1987 Troy Rick Rhoades 31-17 Portland State Florence, Ala.
1986 North Dakota State Earle Solomonson 27-7 South Dakota Florence, Ala.
1985 North Dakota State Earle Solomonson 35-7 North Alabama McAllen, Texas
1984 Troy Chan Gailey 18-17 North Dakota State McAllen, Texas
1983 North Dakota State Don Morton 41-21 Central State (Ohio) McAllen, Texas
1982 Texas State Jim Wacker 34-9 UC Davis McAllen, Texas
1981 Texas State Jim Wacker 42-13 North Dakota State McAllen, Texas
1980 Cal Poly Joe Harper 21-13 Eastern Illinois Albuquerque, N.M.
1979 Delaware Tubby Raymond 38-21 Youngstown State Albuquerque, N.M.
1978 Eastern Illinois Darrell Mudra 10-9 Delaware Longview, Texas
1977 Lehigh John Whitehead 33-0 Jacksonville State Wichita Falls, Texas
1976 Montana State Sonny Holland 24-13 Akron Wichita Falls, Texas
1975 Northern Michigan Gil Krueger 16-14 Western Kentucky Sacramento, Calif.
1974 Central Michigan Roy Kramer 54-14 Delaware Sacramento, Calif.
1973 Louisiana Tech Maxie Lambright 34-0 Western Kentucky Sacramento, Calif.
*Mississippi College's participation in the 1989 Division II championship vacated by the NCAA Committee on Infractions