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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | October 24, 2018

The first DII football regional rankings are out. Here's what we know.

The DII Football Championship is inching closer every week. This past Monday, the first regional rankings were released, shedding a bit more light on which schools will fill out that tournament bracket come November.

Seven teams from each of the four Super Regions will head to the postseason. Over the next three weeks, we’ll keep a close eye on the top 10 in each Super Region, monitoring who will make that final cut and head to the playoffs for a shot at a national championship. 

But first, let's take a look at what we learned from the first regional rankings of 2018.

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Nationally ranked teams in Super Region Two, the least from any region. No. 3 West Georgia, No. 7 Valdosta State and newly-anointed No. 24 Lenoir-Rhyne are the only AFCA top 25 teams in that top 10. That makes this one of the more curious regions in the bracket.

Last season, an unknown West Florida emerged from this corner of the bracket in stunning fashion. Of the six teams the Argonauts had to contend with, West Georgia and Bowie State may be the only two that will return to the postseason mix. There is plenty of intrigue here as DII football's No. 1 scoring offense (Valdosta State) and No. 1 total defense (Tuskegee) both lurk in the region. Three of football's most versatile quarterbacks — Bowie State's Amir Hall, Valdosta State's Rogan Wells and West Georgia's Willie Candler — are also atop these rankings. This should mount up to be another fun region to watch with plenty of surprises.

REGION/RANK SCHOOL IN-REGION RECORD DIVISION II RECORD
SUPER REGION TWO      
1 West Ga. 8-0 8-0
2 Valdosta St. 8-0 8-0
3 Lenoir-Rhyne 7-1 7-1
4 Florida Tech 6-2 6-2
5 Bowie St. 5-1 6-1
6 Carson-Newman 5-2 5-2
7 Morehouse 6-1 6-1
8 Virginia Union 5-2 5-2
9 Tuskegee 5-1 5-2
10 Albany St. (GA) 5-3 5-3

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The number of top 10 teams in DII football that hail from Super Region Four. Wrap your head around that for a second. Should you advance in the top seven and head to the tournament, the path in front of you will be half of the best ten teams in the country. For us, the spectator, that sounds fantastic. For the 10 teams leading the way in Super Region Four, it’s a total nightmare.

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Let’s put it into perspective even further. Minnesota State has been the No. 1 team in the AFCA poll since a Week 4 victory over Winona State. The Mavericks haven’t lost a regular season game since 2016. They aren’t even the No. 1 team in this Super Region. That honor goes to the undefeated Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Colorado School of Mines offense is also in this region, and there hasn’t been a defense in the land that can figure out how to stop them. The reigning national champs, Texas A&M-Commerce, are clinging to the seven spot. Central Washington is the best team in their conference and the No. 20 team in DII and can’t even crack the top seven. These next three weeks will be pivotal in deciding who advances to the playoffs, but we are guaranteed one thing: a super-exciting Super Regional Four.

REGION/RANK SCHOOL IN-REGION RECORD DIVISION II RECORD
SUPER REGION FOUR      
1 Minn. Duluth 8-0 8-0
2 Minnesota St. 8-0 8-0
3 Colo. Sch. Of Mines 8-0 8-0
4 Colorado St.-Pueblo 7-1 7-1
5 Tarleton St. 7-0 7-0
6 MSU Texas 5-1 6-1
7 Tex. A&M-Commerce 4-2 6-2
8 Central Wash. 6-1 6-1
9 St. Cloud St. 6-2 6-2
10 Azusa Pacific 5-2 5-2

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The number of undefeated teams in Super Region One. There are 13 undefeated teams remaining in DII football. Five of them reside right here. When you throw in that New Haven’s lone loss was a season-opening one to FCS Bryant, there are six teams undefeated in DII play. Let's not forget to mention that No. 7 Hillsdale (7-1) is currently undefeated in its conference. Someone is going to have to lose eventually, right?

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Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the undefeated teams in this region is that not many people saw it coming. Notre Dame (OH) is 8-0 and the No. 1 team in the region and they weren’t even nationally ranked in the preseason polls. No. 2-seeded Kutztown, now 7-0, didn’t even receive a vote heading into the season. Ohio Dominican and Findlay both represented the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in the top 25 to open the season, with Hillsdale snagging a few votes, but lo and behold, here’s 8-0 Tiffin, who didn’t garner a single preseason vote, sitting at No. 4. 

Undefeated West Chester? Nope, not in the preseason top 25. New Haven? You guessed it, not in the preseason top 25, nor are they even in the current top 25. LIU Post? The 7-0 Pioneers finally entered the polls three weeks ago and have steadily climbed six spots in the past three weeks. This Super Region is full of the unexpected, which makes every game a playoff game from here on out. Welcome to DII football’s Undefeatedville.

REGION/RANK SCHOOL IN-REGION RECORD DIVISION II RECORD
SUPER REGION ONE      
1 Notre Dame (OH) 8-0 8-0
2 Kutztown 7-0 7-0
3 New Haven 6-0 6-0
4 Tiffin 8-0 8-0
5 LIU Post 7-0 7-0
6 West Chester 7-0 7-0
7 Hillsdale 7-1 7-1
8 Ohio Dominican 6-2 6-2
9 Slippery Rock 6-1 7-1
10 Assumption 5-2 5-2

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The number of teams that have spent a considerable amount of time in the AFCA top 25 this season in Super Region Three. Superpowers are set to collide.

Let’s break this down even further. Two of DII football’s all-time winningest programs — No. 3-seeded Grand Valley State and No. 4 Northwest Missouri State — hail from Super Region Three. If the season ended today, No. 8 Harding and No. 9 Pittsburg State are on the outside looking in. That's simply remarkable. Harding has the No. 2-ranked rushing offense and a top three defense in DII football, all while being the No. 23 team in the AFCA poll, and they can't crack the top seven. Pittsburg State had been in the top 25 for six weeks and are clinging onto a spot in the top 10. Poor Saginaw Valley State is having its best season in five years and will have a tough task climbing this ladder. 

REGION/RANK SCHOOL IN-REGION RECORD DIVISION II RECORD
SUPER REGION THREE      
1 Ferris St. 7-0 8-0
2 Ouachita Baptist 8-0 8-0
3 Grand Valley St. 5-1 7-1
4 Northwest Mo. St. 7-1 7-1
5 UIndy 6-1 6-1
6 Southern Ark. 7-1 7-1
7 Fort Hays St. 6-2 6-2
8 Harding 6-2 6-2
9 Pittsburg St. 6-2 6-2
10  Saginaw Valley 6-2 6-2

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