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Picking the Big 12: Week Fourteen; D-II and FCS preseason polls; COLLEGE FOOTBALL THURSDAY TV SCHEDULE

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You made it. Well, assuming you survive until tonight. Practice is over early. Go relax.

Tonight: the rematch.
Tonight: the rematch.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Lead

And here we are, at last. It's the final afternoon before real live FBS games this evening, and by a curious twist of fate it's time to reveal our staff picks for the final week of the college football season. That, of course, will be brief; there are only two games, and there were no dissents from the staff. Following that: the preseason D-II and FCS polls, and then your TV SCHEDULE FOR TONIGHT.

Texas at Baylor
West Virginia at Kansas State

The season wraps up with what, for the Big 12, should be a relatively boring Saturday. Nobody has any doubt as to what Baylor will do to Texas, and the staff is united as to the Mountaineer's grim fate in Manhattan. And that brings the regular season to close, like so:

BotC's Projected Big 12 Final Regular Season Standings
TCU 12-0 (9-0)
Baylor 11-1 (8-1)
Oklahoma 10-2 (7-2)
Oklahoma State 9-3 (6-3)
Kansas State 8-4 (5-4)
Texas 6-6 (4-5)
West Virginia 6-6 (3-6)
Texas Tech 4-8 (2-7)
Iowa State 3-9 (1-8)
Kansas 0-12 (0-9)

If this is how it breaks out, one would expect TCU to make the playoff, Baylor to head to the Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma the Alamo, Oklahoma State the Russell Athletic, K-State the Texas, Texas the Liberty, and West Virginia the Cactus, with the Heart of Dallas Bowl again being cut loose. But if Oklahoma also lands in the top 10, everyone else bumps up a slot, assuming automatic bids haven't eaten up at-large positions.

Division II Epilogue

The Division II preseason rankings are often just as prone to name recognition bias as FBS. That's largely because of the absence of a thriving media environment -- something that's not the case in Division III and doesn't matter that much in the NAIA due to the smaller number of teams. Ironic, then, that both the absence of a thriving media and the existence of a massive one desperate to sell narrative both result in the exact same thing, isn't it?

The preseason AFCA poll offers some course corrections from the final poll last year, but is largely still somewhat reflective. One team does seem to get ranked based on reputation more than anything, but Grand Valley State only checks in at #24. That's less fraught with peril than last year, anyway. The coaches did bring Northwest Missouri State and Ferris State back into the top ten after downgrading them both following playoff losses last winter, and both Ohio Dominican and Concord were pushed back down toward the ten-spot after receiving a ton of credit in the final poll of 2014.

And most importantly, a team which got knocked out in the quarterfinals last year is #1, rather than the team which beat them and then went on to win the national championship -- although Colorado State-Pueblo did claim exactly half of the available first place votes.

You'll want to pay some measure of attention tonight: #1 Mankato hosts #3 Duluth.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS 1ST PLACE VOTES PREV
1 Minnesota State-Mankato 14-1 751 9 2
2 Colorado State-Pueblo 14-1 747 16 3
3 Minnesota-Duluth 13-1 648 3 3
4 West Georgia 12-3 632 3 6
5 Northwest Missouri State 10-2 623 1 14
6 Ferris State 11-1 601 11
7 Pittsburg State 11-2 557 7
8 Ohio Dominican 11-2 528 4
9 Concord 13-1 477 5
10 Lenoir-Rhyne 11-1 431 8
11 Bloomsburg 11-2 422 12
12 Ouachita Baptist 10-1 381 9
13 Angelo State 9-3 376 20
14 Delta State 9-3 369 13
15 North Alabama 10-3 358 16
16 Valdosta State 11-1 286 10
17 Sioux Falls 10-2 277 18
18 Colorado Mines 10-2 189 19
19 Azusa Pacific 9-2 175 23
20 Winston-Salem State 9-2 142 24
21 Harding 9-2 129 17
22 Texas A&M-Commerce 9-3 127 rv
23 West Chester 11-2 125 15
24 Grand Valley State 6-5 119 --
25 Slippery Rock 9-3 111 rv
Dropped out:
No. 21 Michigan Tech, No. 22 Virginia State, No. 25 Henderson State
Others receiving votes:
Indianapolis 109, Tuskegee 101, Michigan Tech 64, Carson-Newman 63, Ashland 56, Gannon 46, Shepherd 46, West Texas A&M 44,
Virginia State 41, Midwestern State 39, Albany State 37, Central Missouri 37, Henderson State 28, American International 24,
North Carolina-Pembroke 12, Wayne State (MI) 12, Central Washington 11, Tarleton State 11, California (PA) 7, Charleston (WV) 6,
Truman State 6, Central Oklahoma 5, Saint Cloud State 4, Humboldt State 3, Long Island-Post 3, East Central 2, Newberry 2,
Fayetteville State 1, Southeastern Oklahoma State 1.

The Gulf South led all conferences with four ranked teams -- West Georgia and the 14-16 pack of Delta, North Alabama, and Valdosta. The Great Lakes IAC, Northern Sun, and Pennsylvania conferences all had three teams in the top 25. Only the Great Lakes Valley, Northeast-10, and Southern had no teams ranked; Indianapolis of the GLVC is 26th, Tuskegee of the Southern is 27th, and American International of the NE-10 is 39th. North Carolina-Pembroke, tied for 40th, was the only independent to receive votes.

FCS Epilogue

As everyone expected, North Dakota State was the unanimous #1 in the preseason coaches poll -- then went out and lost on national television last Saturday to make things very interesting. There's no updated poll until after this week's games, however, so the Bison remain #1 as we speak.

There's not much discrepancy between the coaches poll and media poll. The 24th team in the media poll is Stephen F. Austin, who sit at 27 in the coaches' ranking; the media have Eastern Illinois sitting 26th.

The Missouri Valley, by a wide margin, leads all conferences in both polls. Six Valley teams are ranked, and while South Dakota was the only other Valley squad to receive votes in the coaches poll, all ten received at least one vote from a media member. The Big Sky and CAA checked in with four ranked teams, as did the Southland in the media poll. Four conferences have no ranked teams. The SWAC comes closest, with Alcorn State the 26th team in the coaches poll, 29th in the media ballot. The MEAC's highest-ranked team isn't even without dispute. The coaches have Bethune-Cookman 31st, while the media have two MEAC teams ahead of the Wildcats at 34th: South Carolina State in 30th and North Carolina A&T 31st. Sacred Heart is the highest-ranked NEC team at 35 media/36 coaches, while the Pioneer also has a split decision: Jacksonville is 41st in the media standings, while San Diego is 46th with the coaches.

The following is the coaches poll, with the media ranking in the final column. The tail of the table refers only to the coaches poll.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS 1ST PLACE VOTES PREV MEDIA
1 North Dakota State 15-1 600 24 1 1
2 Illinois State 13-2 551 2 2
3 Villanova 11-3 512 7 4
4 Sam Houston State 11-5 511 6 3
5 Coastal Carolina 12-2 502 5 5
6 Eastern Washington 11-3 481 4 6
7 New Hampshire 12-2 445 3 9
8 Tennessee-Chattanooga 10-4 409 8 8
9 Jacksonville State 10-2 396 9 7
10 Northern Iowa 9-5 381 10 10
11 Montana State 8-5 296 20 11
12 Montana 9-5 278 11 13
13 James Madison 9-3 272 19 12
14 Liberty 9-5 256 17 15
15 South Dakota State 9-5 215 13 16
16 Youngstown State 7-5 205 25 14
17 Eastern Kentucky 9-4 171 21 17
18 Richmond 9-5 170 16 18
19 Southeastern Louisiana 9-4 164 12 19
20 Indiana State 8-6 106 18 21
21 Fordham 11-3 103 14 20
22 Harvard 10-0 99 15 23
23 McNeese State 6-5 91 rv 25
24 Idaho State 8-4 82 rv 22
25 Eastern Illinois 5-7 73 -- rv
Dropped out:
No. 22 Bethune-Cookman, No. 23 Sacred Heart, No. 24 William & Mary
Others receiving votes:
Alcorn State 52, Stephen F. Austin 51, William & Mary 43, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo 42, Northern Arizona 34,
Bethune-Cookman 25, North Carolina A&T 24, Jackson State 21, South Carolina State 21, Charleston Southern 14,
Sacred Heart 14, Western Carolina 13, Furman 12, South Dakota 12, Maine 9, Bucknell 9, Lehigh 8, Towson 5, Samford 5,
Bryant 4, San Diego 4, Yale 4, Central Arkansas 2, Duquesne 2, Tennessee-Martin 1.

Your Reward

Finally, for having read (or at least dutifully scrolled) through all that, we present your first television schedule of the season. HOORAY!

Thu, Sept 3, 2015
5:00 PM CT
CBSS
FIU at UCF
5:00 PM CT
ESPN
North Carolina vs.
(Charlotte, NC)
South Carolina
5:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Lenoir-Rhyne at West Chester
6:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Stony Brook at Toledo
6:00 PM CT
ESPN3
VMI at Ball State
6:00 PM CT
ESPNU
Oklahoma State at Central Michigan
6:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Elon at Wake Forest
6:00 PM CT
ESPN3
SE Louisiana at Northwestern State
6:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Central Arkansas at Samford
6:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Eastern Illinois at Western Illinois
6:30 PM CT
ESPN3
Villanova at Connecticut
6:30 PM CT
ESPN3
Alcorn State at (16) Georgia Tech
7:00 PM CT
SECN
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt
7:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Minnesota-Duluth at Minnesota State-Mankato
7:30 PM CT
FS1
Michigan at Utah
8:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Ohio at Idaho
8:00 PM CT
N/A
Southern Utah at Utah State
8:00 PM CT
ESPN
(2) TCU at Minnesota
8:00 PM CT
ESPN3
Fort Lewis at Montana State
8:30 PM CT
CBSS
Duke at Tulane
9:00 PM CT
MWC Video
Abilene Christian at Fresno State
9:00 PM CT
N/A
New Hampshire at San Jose State
9:00 PM CT
MWC Video
California-Davis at Nevada
9:00 PM CT
PAC12
Texas-San Antonio at (22) Arizona
midnight CT
CBSS
Colorado at Hawaii

Tomorrow

Fall camp is over, kids. Take a day off, recharge, and then get ready for some serious commentin' and analyzin' on Saturday, because your Wildcats return to the field.