Notebook: Opening Round Preview
Nov. 17, 2010
By Amy Farnum
Muhlenberg (7-3) at Wesley (9-0), 12 p.m. ET
The Mules earned an automatic berth by winning the Centennial Conference and will make their sixth appearance in the NCAA playoffs. Wesley is one of the top four seeds of the 32-team bracket, joining St. Thomas (Minn.), Mount Union and North Central. The Wolverines are making their seventh playoff appearance, including three semifinal runs in 2005, 2006 and 2009. Wesley has defeated the Centennial Conference champion in the playoffs every year since 2006, including the Mules in 2007 and 2008. Muhlenberg is 2-5 all-time in the NCAA playoffs, while Wesley boasts a 12-6 mark in the postseason.
Montclair State (9-1) at Hampden-Sydney (9-1), 12 p.m. ET
Montclair State and Hampden-Sydney will stage a rematch of the 1970 Knute Rockne Bowl, which was formerly the small college championship in the NCAA East Region. Forty years ago, Red Hawks won the contest, 7-6, at the indoor stadium in the Atlantic City Convention Hall. MSU earned an at-large bid for the programs 10th NCAA playoff appearance - the Red Hawks second straight. They have posted an 8-9 all-time record in the NCAA playoffs. The Tigers will host a first round game for the second straight year after receiving an at-large berth out of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
Washington & Lee (8-2) at Thomas More (10-0), 12 p.m. ET
The Generals posted their first eight-win season since 1981, finishing the season with a seven-game winning streak. W&L is making its second NCAA appearance, and first since 2006. The Generals have already set a school record for scoring (37.4 ppg). Thomas More finished a perfect regular season with a convincing 33-0 win over Mount St. Joseph as the Saints advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the fifth time in program history after winning their third straight Presidents Athletic Conference title.
Christopher Newport (6-4) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (10-0), 12 p.m. CT
The Captains claimed their seventh trip to the NCAA playoffs after earning an automatic bid out of the USA South. The Crusaders capped off a perfect regular season with an 81-3 win over Texas Lutheran, and enter the postseason ranked third in Division III with a 45.9 scoring average. UMHB is making its seventh straight NCAA playoff appearance, and ninth in the last 10 seasons. The programs have met two previous times in 2006 and 2007, each winning one contest.
St. Norbert (7-3) at North Central (10-0), 12 p.m. CT
The Green Knights return to the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 2007 after they earned their ninth trip, and eighth in the last 12 years, by virtue of winning their 13th Midwest Conference title since joining the league 1984. North Central advanced to the postseason by winning the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. It is the Cardinals first trip since 2008, and fifth overall. St. Norbert is 1-8 in postseason play, while North Central is 3-4 in championship history. It will be the first meeting between the two programs.
Wittenberg (10-0) at Ohio Northern (9-1), 12 p.m. ET
ONU is making its third playoff appearance, and first since 2000, after earning an at-large berth out of the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Polar Bears defeated Millikin in the programs only home NCAA game in 2000. Wittenberg, winner of the North Coast Athletic Conference, travels to ONU after posting a perfect 10-0 record. The Tigers are in the NCAA playoffs for the 14th time, and second straight year. They fell to eventual NCAA champion UW-Whitewater in the 2009 quarterfinals.
Trine (10-0) at DePauw (9-1), 12 p.m. ET
The Thunder captured their third straight Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association title en route to the programs third consecutive NCAA playoff berth. Trine is 1-2 all-time in NCAA play, including a first-round win over Case West Reserve last year. DePauw advanced to the postseason for the second straight year after the Tigers claimed their second consecutive Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title. The Tigers lost their first round game at Thomas More last season.
Franklin (9-1) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-0), 12 p.m. CT
Defending NCAA champion UW-Whitewater advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the sixth straight year with the Warhawks sixth consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship. The Warhawks have competed in the NCAA title game in each of last five years, winning titles in 2007 and 2008. UW-W enters the playoffs on a 25-game winning streak, the longest in all divisions of college football. Franklin earned its third trip to the playoffs by virtue of winning the Heartland Conference title, and enters the weekend on a nine-game winning streak.
St. Lawrence (5-5) at Mount Union (10-0), 12 p.m. ET
Mount Union earned an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs by claiming its 19th straight Ohio Athletic Conference title along with the Purple Raiders fifth consecutive undefeated regular season. The Purple Raiders have won 10 NCAA titles with their last coming in 2008, and have put together an all-time record of 65-11 (.855) in 21 previous playoff appearances. They have reached the championship game in each of the last five seasons. Mount Union will host St. Lawrence, which is making its fourth overall playoff appearance and first since 1982 after winning the Liberty League title for the first time in program history. The Saints have compiled an all-time mark of 2-3 in the playoffs. This is the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Salisbury (7-2) at Delaware Valley (8-2), 12 p.m. ET
The Sea Gulls are headed to the NCAA playoffs for the seventh time in program history, and first time since 2007, after earning an at-large bid out of the Atlantic Central Football Conference. The Aggies claimed their third straight Middle Athletic Conference title to advance to the playoffs for the fourth time in school history, and second consecutive year. The two programs have met five previous times with the Sea Gulls holding a 3-2 advantage in the series. DVC won the last meeting in the 2008 regular season.
Maritime College (10-0) at Alfred (8-2), 12 p.m. ET
The Privateers earned an at-large bid out of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference after cruising through the season with a perfect 10-0 mark. It is the schools first-ever NCAA playoff appearance. Alfred claimed its second straight NCAA bid, and third overall, after winning the Empire 8 Conference title. Despite being the higher seed, Maritime is unable to host, so the game will be played at Alfred. The two teams will meet for the first time in series history.
Endicott (9-2) at Cortland State (9-1), 12 p.m. ET
The Gulls came-from-behind for a last-minute victory over the Maine Maritime Academy last weekend to capture the New England Football Conference title and the programs first-ever berth in the NCAA playoffs in just their eighth year of varsity football. The Red Dragons were tri-champions of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, but won the leagues tie-breaker for the automatic bid. Cortland advanced to the playoffs for the seventh time in school history, and third time in the last six years. It is the first meeting in the series.
Benedictine at St. Thomas (Minn.), 12 p.m. CT
The Eagles captured their first Northern Athletics Conference championship since 1934, advancing to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in school history. Benedictine enters the match-up on a seven-game winning streak. The Tommies are back in the NCAA playoffs for the second straight season, and third overall trip, after winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference following their first-ever 10-0 season. St. Thomas advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals last season, eventually falling at Linfield. It is the Tommies first home playoff game since 1990.
Cal Lutheran (8-1) at Linfield (8-1), 12 p.m. PT
The Wildcats capped off their 34th Northwest Conference championship with a 52-0 win over Lewis & Clark last weekend as they advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the seventh time since 2000. Cal Lutheran posted a 6-0 mark in Southern California Intercollegiate Conference action, winning the programs second straight outright league title. Linfield opened the season with a loss to Cal Lutheran (47-42) before running the table with eight straight wins. The two teams also played each other in the first round of the 2009 playoffs, a game the Wildcats won, 38-17.
Bethel (9-1) at Wartburg (10-0), 1 p.m. CT
The Knights posted their fourth undefeated season in school history, and first since 2003, en route to winning the Iowa Conference title and claiming the programs ninth trip to the NCAA playoffs and first time since 2008. Bethel is making its sixth NCAA appearance after receiving an at-large bid out of the MIAC. Wartburg is 5-8 all-time mark in NCAA play, while Bethel boasts a 3-5 record. Wartburg defeated Bethel, 21-7, in the first round of the 2003 playoffs in the pairs only postseason meeting.
Wheaton (Ill.) (9-1) at Coe (9-1), 12 p.m. CT
The Thunder earned an at-large bid out of the CCIW, advancing to the NCAA playoffs for the seventh time and sixth trip in the last nine seasons. Wheaton is 6-0 all-time in the NCAA first round, and 10-6 overall. Coe also earned an at-large bid after finishing second in the Iowa Conference. Coe is making its seventh NCAA appearance and has compiled a 2-6 all-time record in the playoffs. The Kohawks are making back-to-back NCAA appearances for the first time in school history, and defeated St. Johns (Minn.) in first-round action last year.