Welcome to this, the penultimate workout of your Preseason Conditioning schedule. Today, we'll offer up the NAIA and D-III preseason polls with a little commentary. But first, our staff picks for week 13: the most contentious week of the entire schedule for our panel.
(Cue ominous music.)
Texas Tech at Texas (THU, FS1)
Ten of your favorite contributors are all in agreement that Texas is going to win this game. The lone miscreant, and you'll all want to pile on because this isn't a unique incident this week, is PurpleBrunette. PB seems to think that Kliffy will lead BroTech to an upset win over the Longhorns.
Baylor at TCU (FRI, ESPN)
We have another 10-1 split on this game, as Luke is predicting TCU will lose for the second week in a row. I think this is less a reflection of Luke's obvious hatred for the Frogs and more his desire to have Baylor go 11-1 with their only loss being to Kansas State. He's vindictive that way.
Iowa State at West Virginia
PurpleBrunette is at it again, picking Iowa State to knock off the Mountaineers in Morgantown. She's not alone, however: Pervis joins her in this bizarre belief. Frankly, if this game were in Ames, I could see the logic, but it's not. Your other ten panelists all went with the Fighting Holgos.
Kansas State at Kansas
You know exactly what happened here.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
And now, for the second time this season, we find Oklahoma on the right side of a 7-4 split. This is right and proper, really; Bedlam is always an uncertain outcome, so it's not at all surprising to see the staff significantly split. Panjandrum, BracketCat, KSUEMAW!, and Nugget all chose Oklahoma State. Jon, Luke, Derek, JT, wildcat00, PurpleBrunette, and Pervis think Oklahoma will prevail. Hardly anyone seems particularly confident on this one, except perhaps Pan.
The end result of our hard work, with two conference games remaining: Six Big 12 teams are bowl-eligible, with those final two games having no impact on that number as all four teams will have already won six games. TCU completes an unbeaten regular season and is the undisputed Big 12 champion. That means they'll probably be ranked in the top two of the penultimate playoff poll, only to be booted out of the playoff after week 14 because they don't play anyone at all. Go Big 12.
BotC's Projected Big 12 Standings after Week Thirteen
The NAIA, of course, mostly kicked off their full schedule last weekend, a week ahead of the rest of the world. (There's even one team, Dickinson State, who's already sitting at 1-1 thanks to their participation in the NAIA kickoff on August 22.) There is no movement from the preseason poll, however, and there won't be until September 12. The NAIA waits almost three weeks to release their first in-season poll, and while it would be even more special if they didn't bother with the preseason poll, that's a nice thing we should all get behind and support.
There were some big games last week, as you will see below in the Top 25 table. And you'll also notice that there's a tie atop the poll. In 1997, the NAIA collapsed from two divisions into one, as a result of their Division I being utterly depleted by defections to the NCAA. Since that time, a tie atop the preseason poll has never happened.
The NAIA releases a spring top 25, and if you look at the poll as released by the NAIA "previous" refers to the ranking in the spring poll. While it's not substantially different from the final 2014 poll, it is still different; we're choosing to us that final 2014 poll as the "previous" ranking here because the difference between the spring poll and the preseason poll is even less different.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||1ST PLACE VOTES||PREV||LAST WEEK|
|1t||Marian (IN)||1-0||304||5||2||def. #4t Saint Xavier 45-13|
|4t||Saint Xavier||0-1||277||4||lost to #1t Marian (IN) 45-13|
|6||Grand View||0-1||254||6||lost to #15 Baker 20-15|
|8||MidAmerica Nazarene||1-0||227||9||def. Culver-Stockton 80-34|
|9||Missouri Valley||0-1||222||8||lost to #19 William Penn 35-28|
|13||Eastern Oregon||0-1||172||15||lost to College of Idaho 40-28|
|15||Baker||1-0||138||17||def. #6 Grand View 20-15|
|16||Campbellsville||0-1||136||14||lost to Cumberlands (KY) 27-24|
|17||Valley City State||1-0||105||16||def. Jamestown 41-31|
|19||William Penn||1-0||95||19||def. #9 Missouri Valley 35-28|
|20||Robert Morris (IL)||0-0||90||20||idle|
|22t||Tabor||1-0||51||24||def. Lyon 45-21|
|24||Webber International||1-0||42||23||def. Arizona Christian 48-21|
|25||Benedictine (KS)||1-0||36||25||def. Evangel 24-14|
|Also receiving votes:|
|Sterling 9, Saint Francis (IN) 9, Montana Western 9, Reinhardt 3|
Sterling, Saint Francis, and Reinhardt did not receive votes in the final poll last year. Oklahoma Baptist did, but they don't count now since they're in NCAA Division II.
One might think Marian just grabbed a big edge on taking sole possession of the top spot, but before the first regular season poll comes out there's another game between #1t and #4t; Southern Oregon visits Carroll this Saturday while Marian is idle. Next week, Southern Oregon plays #13 Eastern Oregon while Marian hosts D-II Indianapolis in a bit of crosstown rivalry fun. So there's all sorts of craziness that can happen between now and that first poll.
Division III Epilogue
The definitive preseason Division III poll is the one released by d3football.com, which if you're at all interested in D-III football is the absolute best place to go. You'd be stunned at the level of activity on the conference forums, and the journalism at the site is top-notch. These guys really deeply care about the Division III level of the sport and it shows. They also publish an online preview called Kickoff which is vastly more in-depth than the analysis we provided you last month. It's a paid product, but it's well worth it if you really want to learn about Division III. Here's the preseason top 25, and we trust that nothing you see will surprise you in the slightest.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||1ST PLACE VOTES||PREV|
|9||Saint John's (MN)||10-2||356||12|
|11||North Central (IL)||8-2||324||15|
|14||Saint Thomas (MN)||8-3||300||16|
|15||Washington & Jefferson||10-2||270||14|
|19||Saint John Fisher||9-2||170||21|
We've deliberately left off the others receiving votes; check the above link if you're interested in seeing them.
There's obviously no mistaking who the favorites are. It's the same two teams as always. But there's a certain level of belief that this year Linfield is going to crack the glass and make it to Salem. That would be historic indeed, as nobody other than Whitewater or Mount Union has done so in any year when both made the playoff field in the last decade.
THE END. Your preseason conditioning comes to a close tomorrow with a very light workout as we drop our picks for the final two games of the regular season and share the Division II and FCS top-25 polls, and then get you ready for the launch of FBS football... which happens tomorrow night. Are you hype?