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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | November 3, 2017

No. 23 West Alabama and a battle for the GAC highlight this week's DII football showcase

  West Alabama's Harry Satterwhite hopes to keep the Tigers climbing the rankings.

It's that time of year. Every game matters, especially when they feature big-time conference matchups.

RELATED: Fort Hays State, Northwest Missouri State meet in potential playoff preview

This weekend's DII football showcase features a Great American Conference showdown with a share of first place at stake. Elsewhere, West Alabama looks to keep rolling and maintain its hold on the No. 2 ranking in the Super Two Region. 

Southeastern Oklahoma State (6-3) at Arkansas Tech (7-2), 3 p.m. ET

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The GAC is the definition of tighlty-contested race. Seven teams are separated from first place by a mere two games. Arkansas Tech is tied at the top, while Southeastern Oklahoma State is right smack in the middle. Both teams have been in and out of the Top 25 thoughout the season. This game has tremendous GAC and DII football playoff implications.

The Wonder Boys have been able to stay atop the GAC with balance in every facet of the game. Their GAC-best offense (42.4 points per game) and defense (18.5 points per game) are ranked No. 10 and No. 26 in DII football. When you add in Braden Stringer, who has two punt returns for touchdowns on special teams, Arkansas Tech is a finely tuned machine. 

Southeastern Oklahoma State is trending in the wrong direction. The Savage Storm jumped out to a 6-0 start before dropping their last three and slipping into a second place tie in the GAC. This is the exact sort of signature road victory to get the Storm brewing for a postseason run. 

2017 outlook:

Southeastern Oklahoma State Arkansas Tech
2016 record: 7-4 2016 record: 6-5
Head coach: Bo Atterberry (4th season) Head coach: Raymond Monica (5th season)
Preseason ranking: NR | Current ranking: NR Preseason ranking: RV | Current ranking: RV

Key players:

Rashod Polk, RB: 590 yards, 6 TD

Jaylen Sims, WR: 505 yards, 3 TD

Justin Young, LB: 58 tackles, 1 sack, 2 Int.

Key players:

Ty Reasnor, QB: 1,972 pass, 344 rush, 24 total TD

Bryan Allen, RB: 657 yards, 7 TD

KJ Reid, LB: 78 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 Int.

2017 by the numbers:

Southeastern Oklahoma State Arkansas Tech
OFFENSE OFFENSE
Points: 29.33/ game Points: 42.4/ game
Rush yards: 160.4/ game            Rush yards: 222.1/ game                                             
Pass yards: 225.3/ game Pass yards: 221.9/ game
Total offense: 385.8 yards/ game Total offense: 444.0 yards/ game
DEFENSE DEFENSE
Points allowed: 26.2/ game Points allowed: 18.5/ game
Total defense: 408.9 yards/ game                  Total defense: 353.4 yards/ game

West Alabama (7-2) at Valdosta State (4-3), 3 p.m. ET

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Valdosta State is coming of a tremendous 2016 season. SEC legend Kerwin Bell led the Blazers to an 8-3 record and the NCAA postseason in his debut. While their record may look disappointing this year, the Blazers are on a hot streak, winning their last three in a row. They are also winning in convincing fashion, outscoring their opponents 131-30 on this run. West Alabama has to keep close tabs on dual-threat freshman quarterback Rogan Wells who has 12 touchdowns over the Blazers win streak.

RELATED: West Alabama highlights 5 teams who could surprise this postseason

While the Blazers may not have met expectations this season, West Alabama has exceeded them. The Tigers have the Gulf South Conference's best offese, finding themselves No. 12 in DII football. Harry Satterwhite has transformed from backup to starter with ease, blossoming into a Top 20 quarterback in DII. He and Donta Armstrong are the top quarterback-receiver duo in GSC and are a dangerous when they are in sync. Should West Alabama hold off the surging Blazers, the GSC is the Tigers for the taking.

2017 outlook:

West Alabama Valdosta State
2016 record: 7-4 2016 record: 8-3
Head coach: Brett Gilliland (4th season) Head coach: Kerwin Bell (2nd season)
Preseason ranking: NR | Current ranking: 23 Preseason ranking: 11 | Current ranking: NR

Key players:

Harry Satterwhite, QB: 2,320 yards, 18 TD

LaKenderic Thomas, RB: 626 yards, 10 TD

Tevin Madison, DB: 50 tackles, 2 TFL, 5 Int.

Key players:

Rogan Wells, QB: 1,015 pass, 462 rush, 15 total TD

Dallas Baldner, WR: 296 yards, 2 TD

Brandon Roe, DB: 36 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 Int.

2017 by the numbers:

West Alabama Valdosta State
OFFENSE OFFENSE
Points: 40.67/ game Points: 30.0/ game
Rush yards: 164.8/ game            Rush yards:  175.7/ game                                             
Pass yards: 278.4/ game Pass yards: 210.4/ game
Total offense: 443.2 yards/ game Total offense: 386.1 yards/ game
DEFENSE DEFENSE
Points allowed: 22.4/ game Points allowed: 21.43/ game
Total defense: 356.9 yards/ game                  Total defense: 342.0 yards/ game

Battle of the Mascot Week 10:

Last weekend, the Central Oklahoma Bronchos took care of business in upset fashion, defeating the Central Missouri Mules 48-30. 

WEEK 1: Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys 28, Southern Arkansas Muleriders 21

WEEK 2: South Dakota School of Mines Hardrockers 35, Dixie State Trailblazers 14

WEEK 3: Califoria (Pa) Vulcans 29, Millersville Marauders 13

WEEK 4: Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm 41, Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils 21

WEEK 5: Washburn Ichabods 35, Pittsburg State Gorillas 20

WEEK 6: Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils 46, Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys 45

WEEK 7: Delta State Statesmen (Fighting Okra) 28, West Florida Argonauts 25

WEEK 8: Edinboro Fighting Scots 49, Slippery Rock The Rock 39

WEEK 9: Central Oklahoma 48, Central Missouri 30

So who's on deck?

Central State Marauders at Lane Dragons

The Marauders lead this Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference series 7-1 all-time. Both teams didn't have the season's they desired, but have a chance to close out the season in winning fashion.